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Monday, February 26, 2024

Why the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg endangers the right to abortion in the US

In general, it could imply a setback in terms of gender equality in the country, but, in particular, it could mean the repeal of Wade vs. Rode

The news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death will have consequences for the United States Supreme Court’s delicate balance of power.

In general, it could imply a setback in terms of gender equality in the country, but, in particular, it could mean the repeal of Wade vs. Rode, the ruling that legalized the right to legal interruption of pregnancy in 1973.

In recent years and amid rumors about his delicate health, Bade had assured that he would not leave his post, aware that the nominations of President Donald Trump to the Court of the conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh tipped the balance of power on the side of the opponents of abortion.

Now, the US media speculate on whether the president will rush to name a successor in the two months that remain until the November elections, for the moment, of uncertain outcome.

The Supreme Court comprises nine judges with lifetime positions. Currently, 5 of them are conservative, and four are progressive.

Since 1993 when she took office, Ginsburg had fought great battles for women’s rights, both as a magistrate and even before she was. Throughout her career – she is the second woman in history to serve on the Supreme Court of Justice – she defended her rights and those of other marginalized groups.

In 1996, for example, she was part of the majority who decided that the Virginia Military Institute, the only university that was still exclusively male at the time, should begin accepting women among its students.

In 2016, he was also responsible for the 5 to 3 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the most massive abortion rights case since Roe v. Wade. The latter imposed enormous restrictions on abortion providers in the country.

So, she wrote: “This law (HB2) will not genuinely protect women’s health. When a state limits access to safe and legal abortions, women find themselves in desperate situations that put their health and safety at risk”.

To such an extent, he was an icon of American feminism that Bader’s face was stamped on the T-shirts and flags of many of those attending the Women’s March held in Washington, a day after the president’s inauguration Donald Trump.

A lifetime of struggle for women’s rights

When Ginsburg began studying law at Harvard University in 1956, only eight other women shared a desk with 500 men, and, in the legal profession, female representation was limited to 3%, recalls in his biography “My Own Words” (“My own words”).

Ginsburg entered a world reserved for men and ran into many difficulties. She moved to New York in 1958, and when she graduated as the first of her class that same year, no law firm hired her simply because she was a woman.

She focused on the academic world and began teaching at Columbia University a few years later. In 1972, she was one of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Project, whose objective was to change the laws to guarantee effective equality between men and women.

Ginsburg’s strategy was to use the rulings against racial segregation to show that the jurisprudence already established that all people must have the same rights under the law, a principle embodied in the US Constitution, but they did not apply to women.

Instead of betting on a radical change, Ginsburg was reaping small victories that created a legal precedent. He was based, step by step, dismantle the system that allowed discrimination.

Furthermore, Ginsburg came to understand that part of his mission was to “educate” the majority of white men on the Supreme Court, who believed there was no error in their worldview. ” In those days, I saw myself as a childhood teacher because the judges did not believe that gender discrimination existed,” she recalled smiling in a documentary about her life released in 2018.

In 1975, Ginsburg made the magistrates see that gender discrimination was a fundamental problem that hurt men and women equally. It did so from the case of Stephen Wiesenfeld, a man who was denied financial aid for widowhood by the Government because it was reserved for women. Ginsburg got the justices to rule unanimously in his favor, and shortly after that, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether, for centuries, he had acted with a macho bias.

Abortion in danger

Currently, access to abortion has been limited in the US to make it very difficult in several states of the country where there is only one clinic that women can go to if they need to interrupt their pregnancy.

 This situation worsened with the retirement from the Supreme Court of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy – long considered a decisive vote on the issue – and so speculation about the possible reversal of the Roe v. Wade case has been mounting.

Advances in science have meant that the abortion rate has dropped by half since the 1980s. A 2014 data report by the Guttmacher Institute and cited in a New York Times article found that although the United States’ national abortion rate reached its lowest level since Roe vs. Wade, the rate increased slightly in six states, five of which introduced restrictive rules for access.

Another report, prepared by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee, stated that three-quarters of women who have abortions are poor or low-income, and 61 percent are black. They will be the primary victims if the 1973 ruling is revoked.

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