“Roe vs. Wade”: What other Rights Are at Stake after this Historic Ruling?

The historic ruling of the US Supreme Court on abortion could set a precedent that affects, like a domino effect, other conquered rights .

Protests at the United States Supreme Court on the day Roe v Wade was overturned

Photo: Flickr-Ted Eytan

LatinAmerican Post | Nicolás Donoso Álvarez

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Leer en español: “Roe vs Wade”: ¿Qué otros derechos están en juego tras esta sentencia histórica?

Last week was very contingent, significant, and contentious for the United States. The Supreme Court of that country annulled the historic ruling issued in 1973 known as "Roe vs. Wade", a legal dispute that protected the freedom of pregnant women to be able to abort if they so wished and without too many federal restrictions. Now, 49 years later, the States of the nation will once again be able to legislate on the subject with total independence and that could mark a before and after in a right that seemed guaranteed.

This decision was supported by five judges out of the nine who voted and has generated conflicting opinions. For Nancy Pelosi, president of the United States House of Representatives, this ruling is "deadly serious, but we are not going to let this happen. A woman's right to decide on reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November and we cannot allow they take control and can carry out their goals, which is to criminalize reproductive freedom".

While from the Republican Party, the former vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, one of the maximum pro-life in the sector, celebrated the sentence through his official Twitter account, noting that “By returning the issue of abortion to the states and the people, the Supreme Court has corrected a historical mistake. By returning the issue of abortion to the states and the people, this Supreme Court has reaffirmed the right of the American people to govern themselves at the state level in a manner consistent with their values and aspirations ."


What other Rights Are at Risk?

Among the various reactions as a result of this decision, organizations and groups see with great fear what this sentence could mean in the near future for the maintenance or abolition of other rights. The case "Roe v. Wade" was not only limited to the right to abortion, it was focused on the privacy of people's bodies. This is why contraception, which proposes birth control under any method that prevents unwanted pregnancy, could be in danger under the logic that led the judges to vote in favor of this ruling. Including, and although it may seem incredible, conciliated relationships between people of the same sex.

The protection of same-sex marriage is another concern. The union between people of the same sex is recognized by all the States and by the federal government since 2015 (before that in 37 States and in the federal capital it was recognized). However, if the reversal of the "Roe vs. Wade" sentence is replicated, it could well be expected that the freedom of other actions would begin to be questioned, and same-sex marriage could begin to receive criticism from the most conservative sectors until Marriage equality was called into question.

Moreover, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asked to reconsider the rights mentioned above, arguing that other sentences passed throughout history should be reviewed; that leads one to think that, once this ruling is achieved, the most conservative judges would be projecting to go further and could review other rights that, such as abortion, seemed to have been conquered, but are now in the eye of the hurricane.

A Domino Effect on the Continent?

The fear of progressive groups and of individual rights and freedoms extends to a large part of the continent, especially considering that Latin America has fought for years to obtain rights that previously seemed unthinkable, but that have now been achieved based on years of struggle by different groups and organizations.

In Colombia, the Ministry of Justice showed its support for the petition to annul the abortion sentence until week 24 before the Constitutional Court. Something that a few months ago was thought to be impossible, after a high court decriminalized abortion, at the beginning of the year, until week 24, a decision that feminist entities celebrated not only in the coffee country but in much of the continent because it could begin to make a difference and be replicated in other neighboring nations.

However, this request, added to what happened in the United States, could be a domino effect in the coming years. Equal marriage, legal in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and in certain states of Mexico in Latin America, would be at risk of seeing setbacks. If it is true that there is no legal relationship, it can generate attempts to overthrow laws or court rulings that have guaranteed several of these rights.

And the blow, just like the ruling of the US Supreme Court on abortion in the United States, could be a real blow to thousands of people and also mean a considerable setback. Because, as the Spanish writer Óscar Hernández Campano titled one of his most recent novels, fifty years is nothing. 49 years, it seems, didn't mean much either to people who continue to question the achievements of recent decades and who are always on the lookout.

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