Giving good news in the Trump era is increasingly difficult; the administration’s crusade to roll back rights for all is now more intense, especially after the president felt supported by the Republican majority in the Senate and by his conservative allies on the Supreme Court during his impeachment.
On March 4, the nation’s highest legislative body will hear arguments for what the media is calling “the most dangerous challenge” to reproductive rights in the United States.
After Alabama last year passed radical measures against doctors who perform abortions and their patients, the Supreme Court will now hear the Louisiana government’s request to block the legal ability of doctors and clinics to challenge state regulations.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the prognosis is that the court, now strengthened by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, will seek to give states “more freedom to restrict abortion without going so far as overturning the 1973 landmark ruling.”
After the same body rescinded restrictions on clinics and doctors in Texas in 2016 as an undue burden on women, many abortion rights advocates have tried to follow the same path to ensure that women are available to make decisions about their bodies. But the debate around the “admitting privilege” system that restricts access to abortion procedures has become a mechanism that “could shut down all but one abortion provider” in Louisiana.
As reported by USA Today, Louisiana, which leads the nation with 89 abortion restrictions passed since 1973, “has three clinics left, in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport.”
“A federal district court judge determined that the law under challenge, which mandates that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, could force two out of business,” the media added.
For Jessica Levinson, professor and the director of the Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, the new Supreme Court case on abortion focuses the spotlight on the regenerated conservative label of the organ.
“Chief Justice John Roberts, the new center of the court, will likely determine the future of reproductive rights in America,” the professor wrote in a column for NBC’s Think, recalling how Roberts’ predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, still allowed for some balance with the liberal side.
Today, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s arrival on the court, the March 4 decision will demonstrate the extent to which American justice can reverse legal precedents in favor of political tribalism.
“If the court ignores a recent precedent, it will provide the justices are not just ‘calling balls and strikes,’ as Roberts himself said a few years ago, and applying the facts of each case to the law,” Levinson added. “Instead, it will demonstrate that the court is actively moving the law in different directions depending on the personal beliefs of justices.”
Meanwhile, public opinion in the country is still far from what Republican conservatism seems to want to make out.
Not only is the abortion rate in the country the lowest since it was decriminalized nationwide in 1973, but the difference between those who consider themselves “pro-choice” or “pro-life” is minimal, dividing the country in two but not a strong enough bias against the medical procedure.
Again, ideology rules public debate and the representativeness of laws leaves much to be desired, and it is men who continue to decide about women’s bodies.