Home / General / The coming assault on abortion rights is also an assault on equal citizenship

The coming assault on abortion rights is also an assault on equal citizenship


Putting the immediate future Republicans want in comparative context:

If the US Supreme Court goes ahead with the repeal of Roe vs Wade later this year, the fallout will be far-reaching. Abortion would almost certainly become illegal or heavily restricted in 22 states and would be under severe threat in at least four others. As such, 27mn women of childbearing age would have their reproductive rights rolled back by 50 years. By this summer, most of them may find themselves living under broadly the same abortion rules as those in Sierra Leone, Congo-Brazzaville and just 22 other countries worldwide.

The most damning part of such an enormous backward leap is who would bear the brunt of the ban, and what this tells us about the dire state of maternal health in the world’s richest healthcare system. In 2019, there were 23.8 abortions carried out per 1,000 non-Hispanic black women in the US, compared to 11.7 among Hispanic women and 6.6 among white women. In 1994, one in four US abortion patients had an income below the federal poverty line. By 2014, it was one in two. In other words, a ban would disproportionately affect black women and those least able to afford to cross state boundaries for the procedure. The negative socio-economic impacts of unwanted births are well-established. A study led by Diana Greene Foster at the University of California, San Francisco found that US women denied an abortion are more likely than peers who receive one to experience long-term economic hardship.

One of the many lies in the Alito draft opinion is the common Republican canard that proposed Republican bans will make America’s policies look more like Europe. Unless this means “Ireland 25 years ago,” this is a ridiculous claim. The US is about to become an extreme outlier among western liberal democracies.

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