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The world reeled last June when millions of women across America lost their legal right to abortion.
And since that fateful day the US Supreme Court fell Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 — the landscape of reproductive rights has changed beyond recognition.
About 21 states have enacted either abortion bans or restrictions earlier than the benchmark roe established – many of them also provide for exceptions in the case of rape or incest.
As a result, it is estimated that tens of thousands of women were forced to endure the drama of traveling to another state to have an abortion.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, activists have expressed fears that the war over reproductive rights waged in America has also emboldened anti-abortion activists in Britain. Immediately after the US Supreme Court decision, activists and scientists reported The Independent that US funding received by British anti-abortion groups would likely “increase” in light of this Roes Dismantling.
But in the United States, pro-abortion lawyers, activists and politicians have fought passionately and bitterly against abortion bans.
And on Tuesday night, they secured a major victory for everyone who believes that women and people with uteruses should have the right to vote.
Off-year elections took place across America, with abortion rights on the ballot in several key battleground states.
In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly chose to enshrine the right to reproductive choice, including abortion protections, in the state constitution.
More than 400 miles away in Virginia, Democrats retained control of the state Senate and then reclaimed power in the House of Representatives. The party’s victory in the House is now likely to scupper Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plans for a 15-week abortion ban, which had sparked outrage among pro-choice advocates. Virginia is now the only state in the south of the country that does not severely restrict abortions.
Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a leading UK abortion provider, said The Independent that the “decisive victories for abortion rights” in Ohio and Virginia “send a clear signal that the fight for reproductive choice will dominate political discourse.”
“It is a battle that will continue on both sides of the Atlantic as women in the UK continue to be prosecuted for terminating a pregnancy,” she added. “With police investigations and prosecutions increasing at an alarming rate, no woman in the UK should face a prison sentence for terminating a pregnancy.”
Ms Murphy called on politicians in both the US and UK to “act now to ensure that every woman who needs it receives safe and rapid abortion care” “without fear of the consequences”.
“About seven in 10 Americans support legalizing abortion in the first three months of pregnancy,” said Kerry Abel, head of Abortion Rights, a British campaign group, adding that Tuesday’s votes were “victories.”
“Anti-choice voting is out of step with the public. The victories are positive approaches that can give us courage. Roe v. Wade has emboldened anti-choice campaigners here in the UK and we will campaign against any restrictions on abortion rights in the UK,” she said.
The data is clear: a ban on abortion will not stop it. On the contrary: it drives women to have dangerous, secret abortions in the backyard.
Finally, abortion rates in countries where abortion is restricted are similar to those where it is legal. Abortion is a matter of life and death. Doctors Without Borders estimates that seven million women and girls are injured or disabled by unsafe abortions every year.
29,000 women and girls now die every year as a result of unsafe abortions.
While the news from Virginia and Ohio will encourage and embolden many people in the United States, it is important to remember that about four in 10 women of childbearing age live in a place in the world where abortion either remains illegal or restricted.
Source : www.the-independent.com