Roe v Wade: How People Are Protesting Abortion Rights Around the World & Why It Matters?

 Roe v Wade: How People Are Protesting Abortion Rights Around the World & Why It Matters?


Abortion rights activists around the world were outraged when a draught opinion of a Supreme Court judgement to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 judgement that guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States, was leaked on May 3.

Experts estimate that if the Supreme Court strikes down abortion laws, at least 26 US states will criminalise the procedure. However, as many human rights activists and campaigners have pointed out, making abortion illegal does not prevent abortions from occurring; rather, it makes them riskier for those seeking them.

Criminalizing abortion would disproportionately harm poor and vulnerable women and girls in the United States, as it does in other areas of the world, where 25 million women turn to dangerous and unsafe techniques each year.

Safe and legal abortion access for women, girls, and non-binary individuals around the world is also critical to ending extreme poverty and achieving the Global Goals — women already make up the majority of the world's poor, and the consequences of unintended pregnancies can be devastating. Women are being prevented from furthering their education and jobs, which has a negative impact on their income. It saves lives, promotes health, increases education, and creates prosperity when women have the power to choose their own future and when they have children.

Since the paper was released, hundreds of thousands of people have marched to the streets across the United States to protest the probable repeal of the landmark law.

The shockwaves, however, did not stop at the US border. Pro-choice activists around the world have warned that overturning Roe v. Wade will not only mean the end of abortion as a legal right in the United States but will also promote anti-choice movements around the world, particularly in developing nations. Activists worried that this would be a "catastrophe" for women in low- and middle-income countries and that it would "send a really obvious message" of inspiration to anti-choice forces.

Here are some examples of how activists, allies, advocates, and everyday people are utilising their voices to educate, empower, and promote abortion rights as an important part of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A massive green banner with the words "Abortion = Liberty" was draped beneath the Statue of Liberty on May 12. "Our fight does not end after Roe v. Wade is decided," said the unidentified group behind the action, which is made up of "individuals who believe the human right to abortion is liberty." It will continue until everyone has access to abortions whenever and wherever they are required."

Kenneth Buyinza, a doctor from Kampala,

"I'm sure the pro-life and anti-choice movements in [Uganda] are hoping and praying that Roe v. Wade is overturned." If that occurs, I'm confident it will be the most significant triumph the anti-choice movement has ever had. "I'm sure they'll utilise it to counteract the work and gains we believed we'd registered," Buyinza said.

Abortion is permitted in Uganda under certain conditions, although it is heavily regulated and plagued by stigma and misinformation. According to 2010 ministry of health data, unsafe abortion was responsible for around 8% of all maternal fatalities in the country.

In Chicago, US

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Chicago, US public artist Jacqueline Von Edelbe holds a sign alongside other abortion-rights activists who took to the streets. In the face of an impending Supreme Court decision that could eliminate women's right to abortion, demonstrators are gathering from coast to coast.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

"[The court] isn't just coming for abortion — they're going for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which encompasses gay marriage and civil rights," New York politician AOC said.

Indeed, legal experts for LGBTQ+ people fear the draught judgement jeopardises key civil rights legislation, such as the ruling that granted Americans the right to same-sex partnerships and marriage equality.

Seattle, Washington, United States of America

Auriea Moore listens to speakers at an abortion rights protest and rally in Seattle on Saturday, May 14, 2022. In the face of an impending Supreme Court decision that could eliminate women's right to abortion, demonstrators are gathering from coast to coast.

Melinda French Gates, Global Advocate for Women and Girls 

Following the leak, Melinda French Gates, a philanthropist and global advocate for women and girls issued a statement that read: "Throughout history, women have been robbed of the power to control their own lives, economic resources, and health." Restricting women's access to reproductive health care across the country would perpetuate this deadly and inequitable cycle. It saves lives, promotes health, increases education, and fosters prosperity when women have the power to choose their own future and when they have children."

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is a Democrat.

The Democratic House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, spearheaded the charge against the Supreme Court's latest abortion decision, calling it "an abomination" and "one of the darkest and most damaging verdicts in modern history."

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

MSI Reproductive Choices' Head of Advocacy, Sarah Shaw

Another major concern for advocates, according to Sarah Shaw, is that the move could have a "chilling effect" on African governments' commitment to abortion provisions and other reproductive rights, making them "think twice about what they spend money on" in countries that rely heavily on US aid for public health programmes.

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, an abortion-rights protester, who did not want to be identified, chants as she marches through San Francisco's Mission District.

MSI Reproductive Choices Ethiopia Country Director Abebe Shibru

"If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will be a success for anti-choice organisations that fund African resistance and a disaster for us." It has the potential to influence policymakers, implying that women will continue to die in Africa. "Whatever we've won may be lost," Shibru added.

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