Abortion clinics are already closing in the US hours after Roe v Wade overturned

·3-min read

Clinics have already started closing in the United States after the Supreme Court’s ruling removed women’s right to an abortion.

Eight states with so-called trigger laws allowing an instant ban on abortion which included Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia stopped performing terminations after Friday’s decision.

Around half of states are expected to ban abortion after the court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling.

President Joe Biden said it was a “sad day for the court and for the country” and said the ruling was a “tragic error”.

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a pro-choice event in Union Square in New York City (The Independent)
Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a pro-choice event in Union Square in New York City (The Independent)

At an abortion clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, the doors were shut as soon as the court’s opinion was known.

Nurse Ashli Hunt told the BBC: “No matter how hard we prepare for bad news, when it finally hits, it hits hard. Having to call these patients and tell them Roe v Wade was overturned is heartbreaking.”

The Women’s Health Care Centre in New Orleans, Louisiana, also closed its doors and the staff were sent home and clinics in Texas have also shut.

The decision, which was welcomed by the country’s religious conservatives, has prompted protests in citites across the countries, including a demonstration outside the barricaded Supreme Court.

Some shouted, “The Supreme Court is illegitimate,” while waves of others, wearing red shirts with “The Pro-Life Generation Votes,” celebrated, danced and thrust their arms into the air.

Abortion-rights activists react after hearing the Supreme Court decision on abortion to overturn Roe v Wade (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Abortion-rights activists react after hearing the Supreme Court decision on abortion to overturn Roe v Wade (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Thousands chanted “We will rise up” in New York’s Washington Square. Meanwhile in Phoenix, Arizona police fired tear gas at protesters and in Los Angeles protesters temporarily blocked traffic on a highway.

The decision by the Supreme Court is currently at odds with public opinion in the country where a majority of Americans are in favour of preserving the Roe v Wade decision.

A recent survey carried out by Pew found that 61 per cent of adults think abortion should be legal all of or most of the time, compared with 37 per cent who think it should be illegal all or most of the time.

Analysis by Planned Parenthood, who provide abortion services in the US, said that around 36 million women are set to lose access to terminations in their state.

Former president Donald Trump was quick to take credit for the Supreme Court’s ruling, calling it “the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation”.

He said the rulings and others “were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. It was my great honour to do so!”

Three Trump appointees voted on Friday to scrap Roe v Wade and they were Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Abortion-rights protester Ryan Maher carries a flag during a march to the Iowa governor's mansion on Friday (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Abortion-rights protester Ryan Maher carries a flag during a march to the Iowa governor's mansion on Friday (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The ruling came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to overturn the ruling.

Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri are among 13 states, mainly in the South and Midwest, that already have laws on the books to ban abortion in the event Roe v Wade was overturned.

Another half-dozen states have near-total bans or prohibitions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

In roughly a half-dozen other states, including West Virginia and Wisconsin, the fight will be over dormant abortion bans that were enacted before Roe v Wade was decided in 1973 or new proposals to sharply limit when abortions can be performed.

Additional reporting by agencies

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