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American women's right to choose is in danger

22 30 23
06.12.2018

Ohio's state legislature recently passed a bill that criminalised the abortion of a fetus at six weeks, with no exception for rape or incest. So, how can this be legal given the fact that the landmark ruling in the court case of Roe v Wade from 1973, which gave American women the legal right to an abortion, has not been overturned?

The world ends not with a bang but with a whimper - to paraphrase American poet TS Eliot. As the nation's highest court shifts right and, arguably, become more politicised than ever, legal activists and concerned citizens should be particularly attentive to what impending test cases are likely to reach the United States Supreme Court.

Given this new judicial landscape, a woman's right to choose and, with that, landmark case Roe v Wade is on many people's minds. However, the reversal of Roe - the bang - may not be the most immediate threat to women's bodily autonomy. Rather, the undermining of the existing regime of abortion access laws by states - the whimper - is much more imminent, harmful, and in need of action, as in the case of Ohio.

The ability for a woman to have unrestricted access to safe, legal abortion care in the US is integral to the right to choose outlined in Roe v Wade. "Before Roe, women faced unwanted pregnancies and sought ways to end them. Women who had means could sometimes access a legal, or at least safe, abortion, but poor women - especially poor, young, women of colour - had few options beyond carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term or undergoing a dangerous procedure," said Dr Abigail Cutler, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Yale School of Medicine, in a conversation with the authors. "Abortion has always,........

© Al Jazeera