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Abortion: Supreme Court refuses to suspend Texas law, “anti- # MeToo slap” says US expert

For Marie-Cécile Naves, it is “very clearly a law of intimidation”, for the attention of women and caregivers and this risks creating a “breath of fresh air” in which other States could engulf.

In the United States, the Supreme Court on Thursday, September 2 refused to suspend a law in Texas which prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy even in cases of rape or incest. “It is a law very clearly of intimidation at the same time of the women and of the medical personnel and associations”, reacted on franceinfo Marie-Cécile Naves, director of research at the Institute of international and strategic relations. According to her, “it is likely” that this decision creates a “breath of fresh air” and that other states follow in Texas’ footsteps.

franceinfo: Are you surprised by this decision?

Marie-Cécile Naves:  It is important to specify that the Supreme Court does not rule on the constitutionality of the law and does not rule on the merits. No doubt she will have to do it one day, but she decides on the procedure. It raises complex and novel procedural issues which it does not wish to resolve. Nevertheless, of course, in a context of very strong political and political polarization in the United States, and including within the Supreme Court, it is difficult to completely separate questions of substance from questions of form.

“It’s a five-to-four vote, meaning that all the judges considered conservative did not vote together.”

President John Roberts, who is careful not to make the Supreme Court an ideological instrument, voted with the progressive judges. The State of Texas, which is under the influence of extremely powerful, extremely knowledgeable, extremely inventive anti-abortion activists, framed the law so that it is not for the authorities to enforce this text, but exclusively for the authorities. citizens. And this is what the Supreme Court refuses to rule on, not on the substance.

Do you think other states are following Texas?

It’s very likely. It gives a call for air, it gives a dynamic. It is a law very clearly of intimidation, at the same time of the women and of the medical personnel, of the associations. This means that today the rights are not the same for women across the United States. In other words, they are not sufficiently protected. The Supreme Court today has a very strong conservative majority, with three ultra-conservative judges appointed by Donald Trump. But this is part of a longer history since the Reagan years, with a surge in conservative America after the 1970s, of advancements in women’s rights. Then there were the George W. Bush years, which again struck a blow against the freedom of women to dispose of their bodies.

What is the position of public opinion?

It is mostly in favor of free choice. More than 50% of Americans are in favor of free choice, especially among the younger generations, but not only. On the other hand, there are very strong identity tensions and conservative tensions in some of the American states. It is important to note that other states, such as California for example, and others, have strengthened their local laws to further protect women’s access to abortion.

“We are in an America that is very divided on this subject, but more on the side of elected officials than on the side of the population, whose dynamics are more in favor of the freedom of women, to choose.”

Could abortion be banned in the United States?

It’s entirely possible. It is difficult to see in the coming months that the 1973 Supreme Court ruling will be completely overturned. On the other hand, weakening it by giving more leeway to the federated states, on the side of the Supreme Court in particular, to do what they want, is a bit like what is happening in Texas. There is a Supreme Court ruling also expected on a Mississippi law drastically restricting abortion in the coming months. But there is still a case law which, in particular, prohibits the federated states from placing what is called an excessive burden on women in their access to abortion. So there are legal loopholes.

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