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In a decision that has sent shockwaves across the globe, the US supreme court has ruled there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States, overturning their previous ruling from nearly 50 years before.
The situation feels bleak. Women across the US are shocked, angry and scared. Many argue that banning abortion won’t stop the procedure from taking place, it will only stop it happening safely. Worldwide, an estimated one in four pregnancies end in abortion, and currently around 25 million unsafe abortions take place each year.
Here, we take a look at what this decision means for women in the US, how the court could reverse its decision and how people can get involved in the fight.
What is the ruling?
The Roe v Wade case in 1973 protected a woman’s right to choose whether or not she could have an abortion. Half a century on, this landmark ruling was reconsidered in light of a new case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenged Mississippi’s ban on abortion.
It was the first abortion rights challenge to be put in front of the conservative ‘supermajority’ Supreme Court, with its three Trump-appointed justices.
This case also marks the first time that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right.
The new ruling announced at the end of June stated that 'the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision'.
The decision, which has been described as a ‘tragic error’ by US President Joe Biden, gives individual states the power to control abortion laws and is paving the way for heavy restrictions and even bans on the procedure.
What does this mean for women?
Thirteen states have already passed a ‘trigger law’ to automatically ban abortion and a further thirteen are expected to follow suit, leaving around half the women in the US without access to safe and legal abortions.
The impact of this decision has been felt across the world. In the UK, Labour MP Stella Creasy is expected to table a cross-party amendment to give women a fundamental right to abortion, something that is not currently enshrined in UK law.
The amendment has support from MPs across the House of Commons as well as the Women’s Equality Party. Justice secretary Dominic Raab, however, has questioned the need for such an amendment, saying that the matter is already ‘settled’ in the UK.
Women in Northern Ireland are the only ones in the UK who actually have a ‘guaranteed’ right to abortion following the recent legalisation of the procedure.
However, abortions remain difficult to access and many women are still travelling to other parts of the UK in order to obtain one.
What can we do to help?
Whether in the US or across the world, many people are looking for ways they can support those affected by the decision and learn more about abortion rights.
The Center for Reproductive Rights in the US has published a step-by-step guide for people to follow if they want to support abortion rights. So, if you’re one of those people who’s been left feeling hopeless after hearing the decision, here are five things you can do to get involved.
What we are doing at LADbible Group
Following a survey on our community platform LADnation, which was our most engaged and unified response to date, the vast majority of our audience (87 percent) said that they oppose the supreme court’s decision, while 94 percent of young Brits believe people should have access to abortion if they choose to have one.
The reactions to our polls were emotional, 66 percent said they were disgusted, 60 percent shocked and 59 percent were angry. That’s why we’re taking action.
We think everyone has a right to choose. So, here at LADbible Group we are introducing a time-off for abortion policy which gives our employees in all of our offices up to 10 days paid time off for an abortion procedure. Our policy also commits to giving employees a travel allowance for medical treatments, including abortion, which are banned where they live.
Plus, on Wednesday 6 July, we are going live across LADbible.com to tie in with Prime Minister’s Question Time when the subject will be debated in the House of Commons. We’ll be making a lot of noise to take a stand against the anti-abortion movement.
If you want to show your support, we encourage you to learn more, take action and engage on social media in order to promote this message to as many people as possible.