In dire news for women’s rights, the United States Supreme Court today ruled to allow extreme anti-abortion law in the state of Texas for the time being. The move is likely to further embolden several other states across the country, which may ban abortion, and means most pregnant women in Texas lack access to essential health care.
This is the second time in four months that the Supreme Court has refused to block the law, which bans abortion essentially at six weeks pregnant, before many women even know they are pregnant. The law also allows anyone to sue and seek damages from anyone they believe aids, provides or “aids and encourages” an abortion.
The court ruled today that abortion providers have standing to challenge the law in court, one of the pending issues before the judges.
The next big abortion ruling in the United States will come at the end of this term, likely in June 2022, when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of an abortion restriction in Mississippi that could have implications. important implications for national abortion rights. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Global Justice Center submitted a friend of the court brief that the United States’ international human rights obligations require the United States to provide access to abortion.
In oral argument in that case earlier this month and in its ruling today, the Supreme Court appears to signal its desire to overturn the landmark 1973 case. Roe vs. Wade, as well as follow-up cases, which have protected access to abortion in the United States for nearly fifty years.
From a global perspective, increasing abortion restrictions in several US states goes against the grain of other countries expanding access to abortion, including Mexico, Argentina, South Korea. South, Benin and Ireland.
Human Rights Watch has spent nearly two decades documenting how restrictive abortion laws apply elsewhere, in countries where doctors cannot provide the best possible care to pregnant teenage rape victims, where women are prosecuted. for miscarriages because they look like abortions, and where hospitals are suspending care for life-threatening illnesses for fear that it will affect the health of the fetus.
The consequences could be dire for young people, women living in poverty, migrants, blacks, Indigenous people and other people of color who already face many barriers to abortion care. Moreover, the abortion ban is likely to increase the extremely high maternal mortality rates in the United States, making it an outlier among high-income countries.
Today’s decision will go down in history as the first recent moment chosen by the Supreme Court to jeopardize women’s rights in the United States. Unfortunately, we don’t expect this to be the last.