At a time when Latin America is opening reproductive rights to women, with a “green tide” in Argentina, then in Colombia and perhaps soon in Chile, the United States is preparing to go back. When the “moral majority” movement [une organisation politique évangélique] brought Ronald Reagan to power, Margaret Atwood published in 1985 The Scarlet Maid (Robert Laffont): this anticipation novel, published in 1987 in France, paints the portrait of a retrograde society, controlled by a totalitarian religious regime, which assigns women to reproduction.
In 2017, the book was adapted into a series, and the novelist gave it a sequel in 2019: The Wills (Robert Laffont). It’s because the dystopia is still relevant. Two visions of the world clash in the United States. In 1973, the judgment Roe v. Wade affirmed the right of women to control their bodies. But today the stop Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization [l’affaire en cours de jugement devant la Cour suprême dont la presse a récemment révélé le projet de décision qui supprimerait le droit à l’avortement] risks constituting the body of women as a battlefield, by replacing the recognition of a right with a simple balance of power. How is such a regression possible?
In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States de facto annulled its decision of 1896: if the judgment Plessy v. Ferguson had justified racial segregation (“separate but equal”), the stop Brown v. Board of Education set the country on the path to desegregation. Today, another historic reversal is looming – but against all progressivism.
A questioning since 1973
Since 1973, states have certainly been working to restrict the right to abortion; but the Supreme Court has always preserved its decision the judgment Roe : Planned Parenthood v. Casey revised it, but confirmed it in 1992. However, the awaited decision, Dobbs, would not be satisfied with ratifying the restrictions imposed by a Mississippi law: a majority of the judges would go so far as to vote to reverse Roe (at the same time as Casey).
According to the draft put to the vote by Samuel Alito, appointed to the Court by George W. Bush in 2005, the 1973 decision would constitute a “glaring error”… as well as Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896! Admittedly, abortion would not be banned everywhere: it is up to each State to decide, but half of them banish him immediately. Many women will not be able to afford to go to a more liberal state; besides, missouri seeks to criminalize assisted abortion even outside the state. In short, abortion would no longer be a right.
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