United States: One Year After the Right to Life Victory

Source: FSSPX News

United States Supreme Court Building

A year after the historic overturning of the case that allowed American women to have recourse to abortion, the question of the right to life is still topical in American political life. Future candidates for the 2024 presidential election did not fail to commemorate the event, each in their own way.

It was just a year ago, on June 24, 2022, as the Universal Church celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when the Supreme Court of the United States of America reversed Roe v. Wade, the decision which, since 1973, had granted American women the right to an abortion.

It is a decision which gave the individual states the ability to prohibit or authorize abortion. A year later, a dozen states have banned abortion, forcing clinics to close or relocate. Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, in particular do not provide for any exception in the event of rape or incest.

Four other states are likely to follow this path: Indiana, Wyoming, Ohio, and Montana, while seven others have preferred to restrict access to abortion. On the other hand, in ten states, including California, New York, and Washington, the possibility of abortion has been extended.

The first anniversary of this major legal shift was celebrated in very diverse ways throughout the country, but with a common concern: the presidential election of November 2024.

Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, summed up the expectations of the pro-life camp well: “At a very minimum, if you’re running for federal office, you should be able to acknowledge that abortion is a federal issue.” It was a message received loud and clear by the Republican camp.

Mike Pence, a declared candidate of the Republican presidential primary, made a trip to the Lincoln Memorial on June 24 to deliver a speech in favor of the right to life: “We stand for the babies and their unalienable right to life,” the former vice president said, pledging that he and his family “will never rest and never relent until we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law in every state in the land.”

Former President Donald Trump, a candidate facing federal charges for mishandling classified documents, obstructing justice, and making false statements, was not left out, preferring to intervene within the framework of the annual meeting of Faith & Freedom Coalition. The meeting brings together evangelical Protestants, the religious group most vocally opposed to abortion in America: “We ended Roe v. Wade,” said the man who lost his reelection bid to Joe Biden in November 2020, recalling that this result was achieved thanks to the justices he appointed to the Supreme Court during his tenure.

On the Democratic side, the demeanor was more serious, but the political stakes remained the same. On June 24, three Democrats, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Kamala Harris - the current vice-president who could replace Joe Biden in the event of a major impediment to the latter – intervened on social networks to deplore a “heartbreaking step back.” “We will continue to do everything to protect the right to do what you want with your own body,” insisted the vice-president .

But what do Americans think? A recent Gallup poll indicates that 61% of respondents consider last year's Supreme Court decision to be a “bad thing,” with 38% holding the opposite opinion. But while nearly 70% believe that abortion should be legal during the first trimester of pregnancy, a majority of those polled incline towards a ban from the fourth month onward.

These figures are the sign of a society which is gradually becoming secularized, but in which the question of the right to life still remains at the heart of political issues.