WASHINGTON/JACKSON, Miss –
Hundreds of protesters descended on the United States Supreme Court on Saturday to denounce the court’s decision to overturn the half-century precedent of Roe v. Wade who recognized the constitutional right of women to abortion.
The court’s sweeping decision, with a 6-3 conservative majority, was expected to dramatically change American life, with nearly half of states considered certain or likely to ban abortion. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court’s reasoning could also lead it to reconsider past rulings protecting the right to contraception, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide and invalidating state laws banning gay sex.
The crowd included both abortion opponents wearing T-shirts that read “I am the pro-life generation” and abortion rights supporters chanting “my body, my choice”.
“The Supreme Court has made terrible decisions,” Democratic President Joe Biden said on Saturday.
He added that the White House would look into how states enforce bans, with administration officials previously signaling that they plan to fight states’ attempts to ban a pill used for medical abortion. .
“The decision is implemented by the states,” Biden said. “My administration is going to focus on how they administer and whether or not they violate other laws.”
Christian conservatives have long fought to overthrow Roe, with Friday’s decision a welcome victory that was the result of a long campaign to appoint anti-abortion judges to the highest court. The decision received support from all three judges appointed by former President Donald Trump.
It is at odds with general public opinion. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last month found that around 71% of Americans – including majorities of Democrats and Republicans – said decisions about terminating a pregnancy should be left to a woman and her child. doctor, rather than regulated by the government. This support is not absolute: 26% of respondents said abortion should be legal in all cases, while 10% said it should be illegal in all cases, with the majority supporting some limits.
The decision will likely influence voter behavior in the November 8 midterm elections, when Biden’s Democrats are at high risk of losing their wafer-thin majorities in the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate. Some party leaders are hopeful the decision will win over suburban voters, though activists have expressed disappointment and demoralization at having suffered such a defeat when their party held full power in Washington.
“They can ask to vote for more power but don’t they already have Congress and the White House?” said Patricia Smith, a 24-year-old abortion rights advocate, who was heading to the Supreme Court to protest. “They couldn’t get much passed in terms of legislation despite being in power, so what’s the point?”
The decision came just a day after the court issued another landmark decision finding that Americans have a constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon for self-protection, leading them to strike down a New York state law. which set strict limits on concealed carry permits.
Both rulings showed an aggressive conservative court ready to show strength and remake American life at a time when Congress is often deadlocked and struggling to pass major policy changes.
It also signaled that Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative who preferred to move incrementally, no longer has the power to slow down court action. Roberts had voted to support the Mississippi abortion ban that was the subject of Friday’s decision, but did not vote to overturn Roe himself.
In a call with reporters on Saturday, a group of Democratic state attorneys general said they would not use their offices to enforce abortion bans.
“We will not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate or prosecute anyone for alleged violations of the 19th century abortion ban,” said state attorney general Josh Kaul. “I have also encouraged district attorneys, sheriff’s attorneys and police chiefs across our state not to use their resources to investigate or prosecute abortions.”
The White House said on Saturday it would challenge all state efforts to restrict women’s ability to travel outside their home state to have an abortion.
TEARS, ANGER AT THE ‘PINK HOUSE’
The case that led to Friday’s decision involved a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, before the fetus is viable outside the womb. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, dubbed the “Pink House” because of its bubblegum-colored paint, was named in the case.
The clinic was still operating on Saturday mornings, with escorts showing up at the state’s only abortion clinic around 5 a.m. to prepare for the arrival of patients.
Anti-abortion protesters began setting up ladders to look over the property’s fence and large posters with messages such as “abortion is murder” soon after.
Coleman Boyd, 50, a longtime protester outside the clinic who frequently comes with his wife and children to shout the gospel through a megaphone, wrongly told women waiting for appointments you that they were breaking the law.
In truth, Mississippi law won’t close the clinic for nine days. Boyd called the Roe decision “history” but “definitely not a victory,” noting that he wanted to see an end to abortion in all states.
(Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Andrea Shalal and Daphne Psaledakis; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Daniel Wallis)