Dozens of people gathered in the middle of the day outside the Supreme Court in Washington and protests are planned across the country, especially in states that took advantage of the high court’s judgment to immediately ban abortions on their ground.
While clinics in Missouri, South Dakota or Georgia closed their doors one after the other, Democratic states, such as California or New York, have pledged to defend access to abortions on their soil.
This revolution was triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke its emblematic decision “Roe v. Wade”, which since 1973 guaranteed the right of American women to have an abortion, the majority of its judges considering it today “totally unfounded”. .
President Joe Biden, who immediately denounced a “tragic error”, said on Saturday before flying to Europe to know “how painful and devastating this decision is for many Americans”.
– “A scary moment” –
On Friday, the president had called on Americans to defend the right to abortion during the midterm elections in November.
In Missouri, where abortion was immediately banned, including in cases of rape or incest, protesters gathered in St. Louis, outside the state’s last abortion clinic.
Before “Roe v. Wade”, “women died during an abortion”, recalled Pamela Lukehart, a 68-year-old protester. “We tried to protect women’s rights, women’s lives and now they are being taken away from us.”
Defenders of the right to abortion also fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority, will reverse other rights such as marriage for all or contraception.
This prospect “worries us” and “we are going to have nightmarish situations”, recognized White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Saturday on board Air Force One. “It’s a scary moment.”
Among the many demonstrations on Friday, two were marked by violence. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a van drove into a group of protesters, injuring a woman, according to local media.
And in Arizona, police admitted to using tear gas to disperse protesters who “repeatedly banged on the windows of the State Senate”.
In Los Angeles, a demonstration was dispersed in a muscular way by police officers equipped with batons.
– Poor and minorities penalized –
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center that campaigns for access to contraception and abortion in the world, half of the States should ban abortions in the more or less short term.
Within hours on Friday, at least eight states immediately made all abortions illegal.
Seven others have planned to do the same in the coming weeks, but in fact, clinics there have already stopped performing abortions, as in Texas, the largest American state, where women wishing to have an abortion will now have to have abortions. hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic in New Mexico.
In one part of the country, women wishing to have an abortion will be forced to continue their pregnancy, to manage clandestinely, in particular by obtaining abortion pills on the internet, or to travel to other states where abortions will remain legal.
Anticipating an influx, these states, most often Democrats, took measures to facilitate access to abortion on their soil and the clinics began to shift their resources in personnel and equipment.
But traveling is expensive and the Supreme Court’s decision will further penalize poor women or women raising children alone, who are over-represented in black and Hispanic minorities, stress the defenders of the right to abortion.
The judgment crowns 50 years of a methodical struggle led by the religious right, for whom it represents a huge victory but not the end of the battle: the movement should continue to mobilize to bring as many states as possible into its camp. or to try to get a federal ban.
It is also part of the record of former President Donald Trump who, during his mandate, profoundly overhauled the Supreme Court by bringing in three conservative magistrates who signed this judgment.