Fatal setback for women’s rights in the United States: China Daily editorial
Fatal setback for women’s rights in the United States: China Daily editorial

Fatal setback for women’s rights in the United States: China Daily editorial

Protesters protest the Supreme Court overturning the Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion rights in San Francisco, California, USA, on June 24, 2022. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade on Friday, a landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the nation almost half a century ago. [Photo/Xinhua]

The U.S. Supreme Court seismic ruling on Friday to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which has guaranteed women the constitutional right to abortion since 1973, has sent shockwaves across the United States and around the world.

The Conservative majority court’s vote of 5-4 has given states the freedom to ban abortions, thereby denying women the right to make their own personal decisions about their bodies and choices of reproduction. Already, the so-called release bans in 13 states, primarily in the South and Midwest, have either entered into force automatically with the court’s decision or will take effect in 30 days. Many other states are willing to move in that direction.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a curtailment of women’s rights in the United States that goes against the will of the majority of the population in the country. The latest Pew survey shows that 61 percent of American adults say abortion should be legal all the time or most of the time, while only 37 percent say it should be illegal.

The ruling will hurt minority women the most, as 38 percent of all women who had an abortion in the U.S. in 2019 were non-Hispanic blacks, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of them live in the southern states, which have the most draconian abortion laws. Being unable to travel to places to access abortion services or simply resort to unsafe abortion measures will put their lives in serious danger. In the words of Linda Goler Blount, president of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the verdict will be “a death sentence for many black women”.

Massive protests against the verdict have erupted in many US cities. President Joe Biden lamented the court’s decision as a “sad day” for the nation.

Global leaders have rejected the historic setback. French President Emmanuel Macron promised “solidarity with the women whose freedoms are being undermined”. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned it as “a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality”.

What is more disturbing is that the decision may well be the beginning of the revocation of more fundamental rights in the United States by the Supreme Court. Judge Clarence Thomas has suggested that the court should reconsider contraception and decisions on gay marriage.

What happened last Friday was unthinkable not so long ago. Many countries in the world have relocated to remove or ease restrictive abortion laws in recent decades. But the United States is going back on such a progressive trend in an alarming way.

American politicians are accustomed to pointing fingers and lecturing to the world about human rights and women’s rights, including by deliberately fabricating and exaggerating facts. Now is the time for them to stand up for these rights by stopping the worst setback against women’s rights in the United States for almost 50 years.

Otherwise, they will again reveal their double standards and hypocrisy.

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