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Demonstrations for the right to abortion in the United States: “If things move, it will be by public opinion”, says a specialist in the United States

If things move, it will be by public opinion“, estimated Saturday on franceinfo Anne Deysine, jurist, specialist in political and legal issues in the United States. More than 400 demonstrations are organized in the country on Saturday, to defend the right to abortion.

>> Which US states would ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns?

The Supreme Court plans to revisit the case law that guarantees this right. American states would thus have the possibility of prohibiting or authorizing voluntary terminations of pregnancy. The final judgment is expected in June. If that is the case “on a legal level, we are going to see absolutely incredible fights“, predicts Anne Deysine.

franceinfo: Can these demonstrations have an influence on the Supreme Court?

Anne Deysin: The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for life precisely so as not to be sensitive to pressure either from the President, or from Congress, or from public opinion. Moreover, in this project, Judge Alito took care to write a small paragraph saying: “in any case, we judges, we do not pay attention to public opinion”. But, if things change, it will be by public opinion because we have seen clearly: President Biden cannot do much, in Congress everything is blocked both by the obstruction of the Republicans, but also because a Democrat, Joe Manchin did not want to vote for the text. In fact, what is happening now is both the result of the polarization of opinion and this struggle of the religious right to end the right to abortion.

franceinfo: Who is demonstrating? Are they mostly women?

There are a lot of women, a lot of young women. A Democratic senator explained it by saying that ultimately, by taking away women’s right to decide whether they want a pregnancy or not, we are turning them into second-class citizens. This means that they no longer enjoy the guarantees, the rights of the Constitution and in particular the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All this is at stake but it is hidden under this religious question, that of the right to life from conception. And so, if one proceeds to an abortion, one is a murderer. The right knowingly uses the term “murderer” for women and for doctors. It is therefore a very charged and very stigmatizing debate.

franceinfo: Some companies are coming out of silence to defend the right to abortion: Levis, Apple, Amazon, Uber… They announce that they will cover the costs of their employees who should go to another state for an abortion. Is it pure communication or is it a real desire to weigh more in the debate?

There are several factors here again. Companies usually are close to the Republicans to whom they pay their campaign contributions. However, the climate has become tense for five or six years. In addition, companies are subject to pressure from their employees. And there they were huge. They are also subject to pressure from consumers when they are companies that sell consumer goods. Consumers, in their vast majority, are in favor of the right to abortion. This is the reason why, indeed, Amazon and others have said that they will finance the plane, train and clinic expenses of their employees. It’s not just communication. Moreover, on the legal level, we are going to see absolutely incredible fights because there are a number of Republican states that not only want to ban abortion, but also want to ban women from leaving their state to going to find a doctor and the possibility of having an abortion elsewhere. There will therefore be conflicts of jurisdiction, of jurisdiction. When Judge Alito, hand on heart in his draft decision, says that with this reversal of case law things will calm down. Nope ! There will be a multiplication of other problems and the problem is far from being solved.

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