The U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the outcome of the 1970s case Roe v. Wade, where it was decided that the US Constitution guarantees the right to abortion. Following the US Supreme Court’s decision, abortion rights will in the future be defined by the states. Already almost half of the states have introduced or will enact legislation banning abortion, while others have introduced strict measures regulating the procedure.
“The Washington Post” reports that restrictions or bans on abortion will affect about half the country.
The decision sparked demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington and other cities. This situation has provoked strong reactions not only in the United States, but around the world.
Following the Roe vs Wade ruling, protests exploded in Australia. The largest took place in Melbourne, where 15,000 people gathered to protest the ruling. The Roe v Wade decision in June 2022 in the US shows how easily the right to abortion can be taken away.
Australia has only recently legalized abortion and it is still not easily accessible. Although a significant majority of Australians support abortion rights, in Australia, as in the US, there is a disproportionate presence of anti-abortionists in positions of political authority. They block and delay reform despite overwhelming public opinion.
The situation has inspired more than 500 Australian organisations and individuals to sign a statement expressing support for reproductive rights and access to legal, safe, timely and compassionate abortion.
As stated by The Guardian, the new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, was speaking for an Australian majority when he referred to what happened in the USA as : “a setback for women and their right to control their own bodies and their lives”.
Education minister Jason Clare, AAP reports, said: ”Thank God we are a country here in Australia where abortion is not an issue that divides the Labor party and Liberal party. I’m thinking at the moment for the women who live in some of these states that are basically being told today that if you want to have an abortion then get on a bus and travel a couple of hundred kilometres.”
Adrianne Walters, Associate Legal Director with the Human Rights Law Centre claimed: “My heart goes out to the millions of women across the US who now face the prospect of losing the legal right to control what happens to their bodies. We can expect to see many Republican-controlled states implement inhumane abortion bans that will criminalise abortion. ”
According to Australian Greens : ”Access to safe and legal abortion is still not universal and remains a ‘postcode lottery’ across Australia. Abortion services can be prohibitively expensive (particularly if you don’t have a Medicare card) and many people in regional areas still have to travel hundreds of kilometres to get a termination.”
The Australian Greens have endorsed the Children by Choice statement supporting reproductive rights and access to legal, safe and timely abortion for all Australians.
“Thanks to decades of activism and advocacy, abortion is now legal in all Australian states and territories. But Australians are wondering how secure these rights are when the Assistant Minister for Women spoke at an anti-abortion rally last week, and when the Prime Minister, and now Labor too, remains committed to the divisive Religious Discrimination Bill.”
“Around the world we’ve seen the rise of right-wing governments fueling culture wars and trying to wind back the rights of women, LGBTIQA+ people, and other minority communities. Australia is not immune to these legislative threats from those that seek to do us harm. ”
“The Greens will resist any attempt in Australia to wind back reproductive rights. And we’ll continue to fight for everyone’s right to legal, free and safe pregnancy termination services through the public health system, a full range of contraception options and unbiased counselling – no matter who they are or where they live.”