50 years after Roe v. Wade was passed, the US Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1972 case legalizing abortion. The draft of this decision, leaked this week, was developed by a majority of the US Supreme Court justices. Keep in mind this majority consists of unelected judges placed in lifetime positions by two US presidents who took office despite having lost the popular vote. This undemocratic move is a crucial step for antifeminists as they aim for a full, nationwide ban on abortion which wreak havoc within and far beyond US borders.
The stakes cannot be overstated. Performing an abortion in Texas is already a first-degree felony, punishable by a sentence that can include life in prison. The Texas state legislature has defined abortion in such a way that, according to the same anti-abortion groups behind the law, also covers IUDs and many other forms of contraception. Other state legislatures have also passed similarly extremist, discriminatory measures.
As soon as the Roe case is struck down, abortion will become immediately illegal in 13 states due to so-called “trigger laws”. These laws were designed to go into effect as soon as the Supreme Court undoes its own precedent. An additional 9 states have plans to so heavily restrict abortion that they will render it basically inaccessible. And another 4 are seen as likely to swiftly ban the procedure. This means abortion will be largely illegal in more than half of US states–before they even get around to that national ban.
To be clear: all this has nothing to do with being “pro-life” when the same people pushing for a ban actively oppose childcare, paid leave and healthcare. As lawyer Olayemi Olurin tweeted:
From Myanmar to Colombia to South Sudan–and far too many other countries around the world–we have seen time and time again the harsh consequences when abortion is made illegal or hard to access.
And yet, anti-choice conservatives here in the Netherlands are also pushing for rollbacks of this basic right to healthcare. As Hanneke van Halen of Abortion Network Amsterdam, said to Vice this week:
“The example of Roe v. Wade is a display of how fragile any kind of abortion legislation really is and how easily it can be taken away from us. In the Netherlands, for example, abortion is still in the penal code. On a daily basis we deal with the dire consequences of the violence this kind of legislation forces on people: carrying out unwanted pregnancies or travelling across countries to get a simple medical procedure in a safe setting. The normalisation of patriarchal violence in a world-dominating country like the US will have an impact on the reproductive rights of people everywhere.”
The Groene Amsterdammer published an in-depth look at the growing anti-choice movement in the Netherlands, and one of the 5 contributing journalists, Gina Lafour, made an English language explainer video about the findings for NF.
Never forget: outlawing abortion never actually ends abortion–it only makes needed, safe abortion much harder to access.
We believe in everyone’s right to bodily autonomy. Access to abortion is healthcare and a basic human right. That’s why we’ll be with others at Dam Square tomorrow, Saturday May 7th, shouting “baas in eigen buik!” and “my body, my choice!”.
If you’d like to support reproductive justice and abortion funds (think local!) or just know more, check out:
- US-based, intersectional groups such as Public Education Project, or other resources (and ideas of how to help or inform others) listed here
- NL-based, hard-working groups such as Abortion Network Amsterdam
Want more resources? On Twitter, some solid, informed people to follow include:
- https://twitter.com/jillfilipovic, and
- discussion threads such as this one