The right to abortion in the United States, soon an old story? The scoop drawn Monday evening by Politico had the effect of a bomb in Washington. This online media has published, thanks to a leak, the draft of an opinion of the Supreme Court relating to the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The state of Mississippi was asking the highest court to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and reaffirmed by Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.
“We support the overthrow of Roe and Casey,” Judge Alito writes in black on white, speaking for the majority conservative opinion. Opponents of abortion have made the repeal of these two judgments their number one objective. If this draft, authenticated by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, was indeed in line with the final decision expected in June, they would finally win their case. And it would be a political and societal earthquake. Each state could then decide on a case-by-case basis on its legislation on abortion, and 13 could immediately ban it.
Trump paved the way
In recent years, several Republican states have enacted laws restricting or prohibiting abortion, knowing that they would be declared unconstitutional by the courts. Their objective was precisely to start battles in the courts and go all the way to the Supreme Court in the hope that the majority would side with them. However, during his mandate, Donald Trump appointed three conservative magistrates, tilting the majority on the side of the allies of anti-abortion. The overthrow of Roe and Casey would thus be one of the most significant long-term effects of the Trump presidency.
In front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, dozens of demonstrators came to say their support or their opposition to Roe and Casey. Laurin Handy, director of an anti-abortion organization, interviewed by Le Parisien, welcomes “good news”. “Abortion does not solve society’s problems, it makes human beings disappear,” she says. She hopes that the judges will not change their minds after this draft, and fears the mobilization of the pro-choice camp. Two-thirds of Americans are in favor of the right to abortion, according to various opinion polls.
VIDEO. United States: the right to abortion threatened in a preliminary draft of the Supreme Court
This is the case of Sarah Wilson, a Washingtonian wearing a sign “My body, my choice”, who is preparing for the battle: “This morning when I woke up, I made donations to pro-abortion associations, and I decided to miss a morning of work in order to make my voice heard. Roe and Casey’s annulment, she says, would “open the door to reversing other landmark decisions, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
In the draft judgment made public by Politico, Judge Alito believes that “it is time to follow the Constitution and bring the issue of abortion back to the elected representatives of the people”. He therefore calls on Congress to legislate one way or the other at the national level. For the moment, the Democrats have too narrow a majority to do so. And the mid-term elections next November could change the balance of power.
“A Congress with a Republican majority prohibiting abortion is entirely possible,” said historian Mary Ziegler, a specialist in the matter, on Twitter. President Joe Biden has already called on Americans to “choose candidates in favor” of the right to abortion during these elections in order to vote for legislation that he says he is ready to enact.