The US war on abortion rights will harm women everywhere

Patrick Gathara

Patrick Gathara

The US Supreme Court could be on the verge of one of the greatest rollbacks of abortion rights in the country in a generation. The court is considering whether to overturn its 50-year-old ruling which recognised a woman’s constitutional right to procure an abortion before the fetus gained “viability” at 24 weeks. Many US states are standing by with so-called “trigger laws” to ban abortion already on the books. However, the effect of the court’s ruling, when it comes next year, will probably be felt hardest outside the country.

Within the US itself, overturning the iconic 1973 Roe v Wade case would not end legal abortions – it would just leave it up to states to decide when abortions can occur. At least 17 states have already passed laws guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion meaning access to such would be largely determined by where one lives. While such unequal access would undoubtedly harm women’s health, even there the effect might not be as severe. Even prior to Roe v Wade, official deaths from illegal abortions in the US had been falling, from 2,700 in 1930 to just under 200 by 1965, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion think-tank. While these are just the official figures and the real numbers may be much higher, the trend is still undeniable.

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