What’s happening in the USA?
By Ellie Rochell
News about the USA has been plastered across social media platforms for the past month since protests spread across the country.
This resulted from the Supreme Court seeming ready and raring to strike down the landmark case ‘Roe v. Wade’, which stands as the guaranteed right to abortion in the USA, and has done for decades. Although, Republican-led states have ruled for restrictive abortion legislation.
What has already happened?
In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida ruled to ban most abortions after 15 weeks, restricting access to the procedure. This new law, which will take effect on July 1, emulates a similar abortion ban brought in by Mississippi, which the Supreme Court has seemingly held.
This law is upheld, only accepting a few extenuating circumstances, including when the mother’s life is at risk (or will cause her serious injury) and if the foetus has a fatal abnormality.
Although, these new introductions aren’t limited to Florida and Mississippi. In Oklahoma, abortions have been prohibited after 6 weeks due a new bill approval. This change, vastly impacts the accessibility to abortions, not only in Oklahoma, but to those crossing state borders to escape the tight legislation in the Southern states.
This bill is modelled after another legislation which came into use in Texas, banning abortions after 6 weeks. In addition to this, the bill requires enforcement from the public, authorising civilians to sue doctors who performs or induces an abortion, or infcat anyone who ‘aids or abets’ one. The bill goes as far as incentivising civilians to start lawsuits by offering at least $10,000 to those who are successful.
Furthermore, the New York Times reported that “Lawmakers in Kentucky overturned the governor’s veto of a measure restricting abortions after 15 weeks and prohibiting providers from offering abortions until they can meet certain requirements. The Kentucky law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on April 21.”
In addition to the aforementioned legislation, Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma (Republican), signed off a new law which completely outlaws abortion. The only exception is to save the life of a pregnant woman “in a medical emergency”. Also making the procedure a felony, punishable by upto 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. This sentencing for an abortion proves less-harsh than Oklahoma’s ruling for first-degree rapists, who can expect to spend 5 years in prison.
The Brighter Side
Although these suggested (and enacted) legal changes can be seen across many states, it’s important to look at the opposing states who are ensuring the right to an abortion.
The New York Times reported: “Some states have gone further: Lawmakers in Vermont voted in February to move forward on an amendment to the State Constitution that would guarantee the right to an abortion.
In Connecticut, lawmakers approved a bill that would expand the field of people who can perform certain types of abortions beyond doctors, to include nurse-midwives, physician assistants and other medical professionals.”
Despite these laws being put in place to protect the lives of babies, studies have found that they don’t stop abortions at all… Diana Whitten, Director of the award-winning film ‘Vessel’, told The Guardian: “They never have, and they never will. All they prevent is safe abortion.”
So, this has been a brief overview of what’s currently going on in the USA.
Where do you stand?