Editorial of the “World”. A decisive battle for women’s rights began on Wednesday 1is December at the United States Supreme Court. By choosing to take up a law passed by the conservative state of Mississippi restricting the use of abortion, instead of relying on the decisions of intermediary bodies which had found its unconstitutional character, the highest judicial body of the country had already shown its desire to do battle. It also maintained in force, before ruling on the merits, another even more restrictive law adopted in Texas.
This offensive is not improvised. On the contrary, it crowns years of mobilization against the famous Roe v. Wade, returned in 1973. This sanctuarized the voluntary termination of pregnancy, authorized until the twenty-second week instead of fifteen, as the Mississippi wants today, in order to open a first breach in this law.
This judgment is one of the most symbolic targets of the cultural war engaged by the American religious right for almost four decades. The imperative to return to Roe v. Wade is hammered, election after election. It is justified in the name of a sanctity of life which otherwise spectacularly disappears from conservative discourse when it comes to the death penalty.
This obsessive mobilization has borne fruit by taking advantage of the inequity of the American electoral system. Donald Trump, elected president without winning the popular vote, has appointed three judges chosen by the Federalist Society, a conservative lobby. The latter, appointed for life, were confirmed by Senate Republicans, mostly from rural and sparsely populated states, after the abolition of the previously necessary qualified majority.
Wednesday’s hearing showed that the conservative camp, now six judges to just three progressives, may be nearing the mark. Although cautious as always in the matter, the interventions of the judges appointed by Republican presidents suggested that they could validate, at the end of their debates, in a few months, the law of Mississippi, opening the way to other challenges. and, finally, to a questioning of the national scope of the right to abortion.
The price to pay for Republican fury for American democracy would not be negligible. Such a reversal from the 1973 judgment, the latter having been supported by a second judgment in 1992, would sanction the politicization of one of the few institutions still relatively spared from the extreme polarization which currently makes the United States a counterpart. model.
By legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015, another scarecrow of the conservative camp, the Supreme Court had intelligently accompanied a major development in American society. The latter has since been the subject of a solid consensus, including a significant part of the Republican camp.
It would be quite different if this same Court were to rule in favor of a return to the right to abortion. The latter indeed enjoys in the opinion of a support as solid as stable, as was again confirmed, on November 16, the results of a poll published by the Washington Post, with 60% favorable opinions (against 27% opposing opinions). The conservative crusade against women’s rights thus appears for what it is: the expression of the tyranny of a minority.