US backsliding on women’s rights highlights systemic flaws

People attend a rally calling for abortion rights in Washington, DC on July 9, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON — The United States continued to feel the heat from the Supreme Court’s explosive decision to overturn Roe v. Wade two weeks ago, which ended constitutional protection of the right to abortion for women in the country.

Thousands of protesters came to Washington, DC, on Saturday to demand more action from the White House to protect abortion access, with the fight for abortion rights further dividing America along ideological lines and partisans.

A self-proclaimed “champion of human rights,” the United States’ human rights record remains abysmal. As women’s rights take a heavy hit this time around, America’s human rights hypocrisy and systemic flaws have once again been laid bare.

SUMMER OF RAGE

Participants in the Women’s March under the theme “Summer of Rage” marched to Franklin Square northeast of the White House in the morning despite light rain. Most showed up with posters or banners advocating abortion rights and wore green bandanas with the slogan “ban our bodies”.

“Today we say to @POTUS and ALL of our elected leaders that we will not let politicians play games with our lives and our future,” the Women’s March tweeted, tagging US President Joe Biden. “We DEMAND our fundamental rights.”

“I’m taking part in this rally because I think it’s important that we women have a voice and a choice with our bodies,” Esther Torres, a protester from Austin, Texas, told Xinhua. “It’s a basic human right. Women decide what we do with our bodies.”

Protesters marched toward the White House at noon, chanting pro-choice slogans such as “my body my choice” in the streets before joining a sit-in outside the presidential residence and tying the bandanas on the north fence.

“We’re marching. We’re going to make some noise and make it clear that we’re human and we have a human right,” Torres said.

On June 24, the United States Supreme Court released the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, nearly five decades after setting a precedent in 1973 that women have a constitutional right to abortion – arguably one of the most contentious issues across the country due to a clash between religious beliefs and individual freedom.

“Roe was horribly wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, wrote in the majority opinion. “His reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had adverse consequences.” The court’s three liberal justices dissented, lamenting that “several million American women” had lost fundamental constitutional protection.

The decision further divided America. Both Democrats and Liberals rushed to denounce the High Court ruling as they generally support abortion rights and argue that abortion is a woman’s choice. Republicans and conservatives who have long accused the procedure of taking the life of an unborn child have taken a victory lap.

A small group of anti-abortion activists gathered on a street corner in Franklin Square, holding banners expressing their position, one man using a megaphone to speak. The two camps of demonstrators challenged each other in tense exchanges in the presence of police and vehicles.