Destabilizing speculation

America’s chaotic new abortion reality is taking shape

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Friday to strike down a woman’s nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy is setting off aftershocks that have already begun to change the character of American life.

The realization is dawning that a bold conservative Supreme Court majority has, with its willingness to trample on long-standing precedent, introduced a destabilizing dynamic that can go far beyond abortion in an already alienated nation. internally by ideology.

More concretely, and suddenly, abortion services have already ended in some conservative states. In some places on Friday, women at the clinics were told as soon as the Supreme Court ruling was released that their chance for an abortion in the state was gone.

• Other red states should act within days.

Fear is growing among progressives about what the court will do next. At the national Pride parades over the weekend, the painful question was whether the hard-won right to same-sex marriage, enshrined in court just seven years ago, is now under threat from activist judges. Uncertainty is growing about how the decision will affect fertility treatments and even contraception. And companies are hastily hatching plans to compensate employees or expand health insurance to cover out-of-state abortion services, but also worry about alienating red state leaders spoiling a fight.

Abortion is a deeply personal issue for people of all political persuasions. Many conservatives view the proceedings as the murder of an unborn child. Many other Americans view the Supreme Court’s decision as a callous violation of human rights, namely a woman’s ability to make choices about her own body. Public opinion is often more nuanced than the black and white certainties of political debate, including when in a pregnancy abortion should be permitted and what exceptions should be made for rape, incest or the health of the child. the mother, but the reality remains that a clear majority of the country did not want to see the court overturn Roe.

The fundamental rationale of the court’s conservative majority on Friday was that returning the matter to the states would allow for a democratic resolution of a contentious national issue. The past three days suggest the position was either naïve or deliberately misleading.

Republican leaders are already scrambling, and in many cases failing, to find answers about how and if they will help new mothers, whom they will force to have children they may not even want. in some cases after rape and incest.

In at least half of the United States, the Supreme Court ruling promised new hardship for poor and minority Americans, who in many cases cannot afford to travel for abortions or are already affected by insufficient social services.

Leading Democrats have responded with strong words and retaliatory vows, but have yet to mount an effective response, either politically before 2022 or practically on the ground, where millions of women suddenly find themselves without their rights.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the court had “set the torch” of its legitimacy. And New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who accused conservative justices of lying during their Senate confirmation hearings about how they would rule on abortion, said impeachment should be on the table .

But as President Joe Biden departed for the G7 summit of industrialized nations in Germany on Saturday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said he stood by his opposition to expanding the court and the removal of the Senate filibuster. While this latest ruling is necessary to codify abortion rights, it is unlikely that all Senate Democrats will agree to abolishing the 60-vote threshold. This new evidence of Biden’s rift with progressives could fuel further speculation about his standing in his party as he prepares to run for re-election.

Republicans celebrate – but face new scrutiny

But after a stunning conservative victory that electrified the GOP base, Republicans hoping to broaden their national appeal must also consider how to position themselves so as not to alienate moderates and some female voters amid complex and nuanced attitudes. towards abortion.

Former President Donald Trump got his due credit for installing a hardline conservative majority on the Supreme Court. As a crowd of protesters in Illinois chanted “Thank you Trump” on Saturday night, the ex-commander in chief proclaimed a “victory for life.” Privately, however, Trump worried about the impact of the upheaval on his and Republicans’ White House hopes in 2024, The New York Times reported.

Whatever the merits of the court’s recent controversial decisions on firearms and the place of religion in society, its reversal of Roe v. 1973’s Wade exposed a harsh reality about the newly authoritarian GOP. The party’s most prominent figure – Trump – sought to deprive voters of their most basic right to choose their leader with his lies and coup attempt after the 2020 election. Then the majority of the Supreme Court he built – alongside Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s dubious confirmation maneuvers – stripped Americans of a constitutional right for the first time in history, blatantly ignoring majority opinion. This convergence of radicalism will have enormous implications for American democracy in the years to come.

For decades, the battle to end abortion has been a central rallying issue of GOP politics. But now it has suddenly become a government challenge.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, for example, dodged questions on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday about whether she would offer paid leave to pregnant women deprived of abortions, expand health care and how the state would enforce its opposition to the use of abortion pills shipped from other states.

“We will ensure mothers have the resources, protection and medical care they need. And we are aggressive about that,” she said before moving into an unrelated attack on Biden in an interview long on the platitudes but short on the details.

Democrats seek an answer

The Democratic response to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling has so far been a mix of disbelief, anger and promises not to give up the fight, but so far no clear strategy.

A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted Friday and Saturday found that 59% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision. That should give Democrats a solid foundation to turn the 2024 midterm elections and presidential race into a Supreme Court referendum. But high inflation and record gasoline prices threaten to doom the party’s majorities in Congress regardless.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams pointed to a Georgia law that is expected to go into effect within days and bans abortion at six weeks, while She was looking to weaponize the issue against her Republican opponent and the current governor in one of the showpiece midterm races.

“I would say to anyone, whether you are a business or a citizen who is considering being in Georgia, consider the danger that Brian Kemp poses to the lives and well-being of women in this state,” Abrams said. to Jake Tapper.

Speaking on ABC News’ This Week, Warren said the court had undermined its own legitimacy.

“They just took the last one and put the torch on it with the Roe v. Wade opinion,” the Massachusetts Democrat said, calling for more justices to be added to the court.

A tribunal does not lose its legitimacy simply because it expresses opinions with which some politicians may not agree. And conservative scholars would argue that recent majority decisions are justified on constitutional grounds. But the controversial building of the right-wing majority – after McConnell paved the way for Friday’s decision by blocking former President Barack Obama’s nominee in an election year and rushing Trump’s latest nominee to court in the same circumstances – undoubtedly tarnished his image. So does the fact that several senators now say they were misled by Trump’s nominees about how they would adjudicate abortion cases.

Ocasio-Cortez has suggested that Trump’s Supreme Court picks should be impeached for “lying under oath” about their positions on abortion. But even if the Democratic-led House pursued such a long-running strategy, it is inconceivable that there would be a two-thirds majority to convict in the tightly divided Senate.

But a new week could bring new rulings that underscore the radicalism of the Supreme Court majority. Already, he has used his opinion in the abortion case to almost mock critics who warn him to consider the impact of his literal reading of the Constitution, written in the 18th century, on 21st century society.

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