RE | PSHE | Relationships and health | History | Citizenship

Shock threat to abortion rights stuns USA

Is the US Supreme Court right? A draft opinion leaked this week shows that it may vote to overturn abortion rights in an unflinching repudiation of the original 1973 decision. In late 1971, a Texan named Norma McCorvey brought a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. Her lawyers argued against district attorney Henry Wade that Texan laws banning abortions were unconstitutional. Throughout the case, McCorvey had a false name to protect her identity: Jane Roe.  Over a year later, the Supreme Court published its decision in “Roe v Wade”. It decided that abortion restrictions violated the right to privacy. There was not much opposition to the change. In 1970s US, abortion was not very controversial.  Much has changed since then. Evangelical Christians have become one of the most important political forces in America. Banning abortion is at the heart of their platform. Now, according to a draft opinion leaked to Politico, they may finally get their wish. The Court has provisionally voted, by a small majority, to overturn Roe v Wade. The official ruling will be released in July. Individual US states were already moving to restrict abortion. Now many are expected to ban it outright. Supporters of the move argue it was always wrong for this decision to be left to the Court. They argue that abortion is a political issue that needs to be resolved by the people’s democratic representatives, not by unelected judges. But others counter that abortion is an individual right. That means it is not up for debate, any more than free speech or the right to vote. But some think this could be an opportunity. Feminists have long argued for abortion to be enshrined in law as a human right, which would force the government not only to keep abortion legal, but to protect and expand abortion access. They hope this could be the first step towards a stronger right to abortion. Is the US Supreme Court right? Rights and wrongs Yes: The purpose of the Court is to uphold the Constitution, which says nothing about abortion. It was never in their power to decide whether or not abortion should be legal. No: There are many individual rights that the Constitution does not explicitly address. The Court should exist to uphold individual rights regardless of their constitutional status. This includes abortion. Or... This controversy proves that the Court is now a political institution, not just a judicial one. This will have grave implications for the legitimacy of its future rulings.     KeywordsSupreme Court of the United States - The judicial body charged with determining whether laws and actions of the government are in line with the Constitution.

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