“A clearly unconstitutional law… I disagree. “
United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
The Roe v. Wade of 1973 guaranteed American women the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. For more than two generations, the pro-choice party that has supported a woman’s right to authority over her own body and her own health care has seen this as their right. During the same period of time, the followers of life considered that they had the right to tell others what to do with their own bodies.
Roe v. Wade has been an established right for almost 50 years. But the double shock wave that swept through the United States on Tuesday cast a veil over a right most women took for granted and the implications extend far beyond women of reproductive age in Texas.
The law project
The Texas state legislature on Tuesday passed the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill, denying abortion to Texas women (at around six weeks when a heartbeat can be detected). In an astonishing invasion of a woman’s right to her own body, the legislature turned Texas residents into vigilant bounty hunters, accusing them of reporting anyone they suspect of helping a woman to have an abortion ( even for pregnancies due to incest or rape) and authorizing the prosecution of that person for a minimum of $ 10,000 for a period of up to four years after the alleged abortion.
While abortion is still legal in this country, in Texas, the situation is reminiscent of the Stalinist Soviet Union or Hitler’s fascist Germany, places where in the past spies have denounced their neighbors because that they did not respect the party line. Now a friend, a former lover, a boss, a curious neighbor, a complete stranger or even the rapist – literally anyone – can now report someone and sue them for promoting an abortion, even if it is. is to drive the woman out of the state. to one of the 49 other states where abortion is perfectly legal.
On Tuesday night, the United States Supreme Court, in a Conservative 5 to 4 decision (with the three Conservative justices appointed by former President Trump), declined to hear the emergency “Whole Woman’s Health v, Jackson ”. He is said to have suspended the application of the law while the objections are heard. The majority refused, citing procedural complexities. On Wednesday morning, the women of Texas woke up to learn that they have far less rights over their own bodies than they did the day before and that American women around the world seem to have a right to be concerned.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts joined the minority in dissent, and in a scathing rebuke from her fellow judges, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:
“The court order is astounding. Presented with an appcation to prohibit a flagrantly unconstitutional law enginecessary to prohibit women from exercising their constitutionnational laws and escape judicial scrutiny, the majority of The judges chose to put their heads in the sand… Yesterday evening, the Court silently acquiesced to the promulgation by a State of a law which flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents… Ttogether the law is a breathtaking act of defianceance — of the Constitution, of the precedents of this Court, and of the rights of women seeking abortions all over Texas… I disagree.
The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the bill to come into force has already had a chilling effect across the country. No less than 11 Red states with Republican-controlled legislatures are expected to copy the model of the bill in their own states. The governors of Florida and South Dakota have indicated they will begin immediately.
The whistleblower site
Immediately after the bill was passed, the anti-abortion group called Texas Right to Life set up a whistleblower website for people to report people they suspect are helping those who have an abortion.
The astonishing speed of this decision did not leave much time for the marches and traditional protest panels, but a participatory solution began to fight against the whistleblower site set up by Texas Right to Life.
A groundswell transmitted on social media by people of all ages supports women’s rights, jamming the site with hundreds of thousands of spam messages, causing the site to crash. An activist on TikTok even created a script that can automatically feed fake reports into the website’s tip box.
The whistleblower site was set up on GoDaddy, and almost immediately the host responded, giving the Texas anti-abortion group 24 hours to find a new home. They said: “We have informed prolifewhistleblower.com that they have 24 hours to switch to another provider for violating our terms of service.” These terms include the non-collection of names and information of or about persons without the consent of the person.
Ironically, the position of pro-life groups is not a view shared by the majority of Americans. Six in ten Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to an April 2021 Pew Research Center poll. Not surprisingly, support is stronger among Democrats and it has been steadily increasing.
In 2007, about two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic supporters (63%) said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Support among Democrats has increased by nearly 20 points since then, and now 80% are pro-choice. During this same period, support for abortion rights among Republicans plummeted. In 2007, about four in ten Republicans (39%) said abortion should be legal in all or most cases; today, 35% agree with this statement.
Featured image: a demonstration at the Supreme Court. Image courtesy of The nation.