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In the News

Abortion rights under threat in the USA

Mike McCartney

21st May 2021

In the states and perhaps in the Supreme Court

One might assume having learnt about the landmark case of Roe v Wade in 1973 that abortion rights were secure and widespread in the USA.

Far from it.

For instance, according to the human rights pressure group Amnesty International:

In the state of Alabama, 93% of counties have no clinics.

In 27 cities, residents are more than 100 miles away from an abortion provider (meaning effectively that those who can't afford the travel costs can't access clinics).

5 states already have laws that prohibit abortion after six weeks - so prior to many women discovering they are pregnant And just this week the Texas governor also signed one of these so called "heartbeat laws"

Read more about America's restrictive abortion laws here:

Which brings us the challenge to Roe v Wade.

Here, if you are unfamiliar with this case, you can look at this backgrounder from the BBC: Roe v Wade: What is US Supreme Court ruling on abortion? - BBC News

This week the court agreed to hear a challenge to Mississippi's abortion law which bans abortion after 15 weeks. If the court, with its 6-3 conservative majority upholds the Mississippi law it will effectively upend Roe V Wade and mean that states control abortion without overarching federal authority. Thus abortion will not be made illegal but protection by the federal government will no longer be in place.

See more on the case here: Mississippi abortion: US Supreme Court to hear major abortion case - BBC News

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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