The ruling of the Supreme Court that Roe v. Wade, overturning the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion across the United States, will have immediate consequences nationwide: Abortion will now be restricted either illegally or severely in nearly half of the states.
But global political leaders and international reproductive rights groups have stressed in their immediate responses that ripple effects of the decision will be felt around the world – and especially in regions such as Latin America and Africa, where controversial battles over access to abortion and others continue. forms of reproduction. health care.
Recent victories in Argentina, Colombia, Ireland, Mexico and Kenya has generated a broad sense of progress for the global reproductive rights movement, adding nations from some of the most conservative corners of the world to the list of about 60 countries that have expanded abortion rights over the past three decades.
The United States is now one of only a handful of countries that have drastically restricted the right to abortion over that period, and is by far the largest and most influential nation to do so. Such a seismic defeat in a country whose legalization of abortion has often served as a blueprint for success abroad is likely to give a boost to conservative political leaders and movements that have sought to further restrict access to abortion or recent gains to reverse.
“The opposition will be encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Giselle Carino, CEO of Fòs Feminista, an international advocacy group for reproduction. Carino, who is Argentine, helped fight in 2019 for the adoption of legislation legalizing abortion in her home country.
“The degradation of rights here in the US will affect our work on everything from comprehensive sex education to access to abortion care to contraception,” Carino said. “This will have very difficult consequences for all of us in the Global South. It will make our job much more difficult. ”
Heads of state from around the world, almost immediately after its release, began to weigh in on the decision, with the earliest reactions being outraged.
The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, called it a “big step back” for the United States, adding that he “always believed in a woman’s right to vote.” Protesters gathered outside the US embassy in London on Friday afternoon to protest against the ruling.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister of Scotland, said in a tweet that the decision was “one of the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime”, adding that it would “encourage anti-abortion and anti-women forces in other countries as well”. . ”
“Solidarity does not feel enough now – but it is necessary,” Sturgeon said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the news of the decision “appalling”.
“My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now going to lose their legal right to an abortion,” Trudeau said in a tweet. “I can not imagine the fear and anger you feel now.”
And French President Emmanuel Macron called abortion a “fundamental right for all women” to be “protected” in a tweet that expressed “solidarity with the women whose freedoms are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Other international lawmakers have celebrated the decision, including that of countries where abortion has only recently been legalized.
“Without life, there is no freedom,” said Javier Milei, a Conservative Argentine congressman. tweeted Friday, with a picture of the Supreme Court ruling attached.
Milei is likely to challenge President Alberto Fernandez, who in early 2021 signed legislation legalizing abortion in Argentina, in next year’s presidential election.
Roe’s overthrow could also have an immediate effect on the anti-abortion movement in Brazil. Abortion is generally illegal in Brazil, except in limited cases of rape, maternal health or fetal disorders, and South America’s largest country has not followed its local counterparts in recent years to widen access.
Damares Alves, the former Minister of Women, Family and Health in the cabinet of Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, celebrated the decision on Twitter, calling Friday a “day of victory for life”.
“Believe me, this will be the world trend,” said Alves, who is running for a seat in the Brazilian Senate this year. tweeted. “The world wants to move forward! The world wants to leave behind this primitive and medieval practice. ”
“One day,” she says in a subsequent post“we will be ashamed of this moment in which humanity lives in which fools fight to kill innocent children.”
A high-profile abortion case has gripped the country in recent days, after The Intercept Brazil reported on a judge’s decision to separate an 11-year-old girl from her family and put her in a shelter because she had an abortion seeking to put an end to a pregnancy that resulted from rape. The case sparked anger over Brazil, and the girl received an abortion this week.
Bolsonaro, who supported legislation to completely ban abortion in Brazil, accused abortion advocates of “barbarism”Around the case in a Thursday night tweet thread. His son Eduardo, a congressman, on Friday urged his supporters to support a state legislature’s attempt to launch a congressional inquiry into the performance of the abortion.
Jair Bolsonaro did not respond to the Supreme Court’s decision by Friday afternoon. But Eduardo Bolsonaro celebrated the verdict, tweeting that the Court terminated “the right to kill infants”. He also reminded his followers that his father would make two more appointments in Brazil’s Supreme Court if he won re-election for a second term in October.
However, lawyers who fought for extended rights in Brazil lamented the defeat.
“A day of great anxiety for women, girls and all people in the United States,” said Debora Diniz, a Brazilian feminist and human rights activist. tweeted. “A half-century setback.”
“I come from Argentina, where democracy is fairly new. We have always looked at the USA as the model for democracy, and that will make us doubt whether this is the case. “
– Giselle Carino, HUB of Fòs Feminista
Roe’s fall could also hamper President Joe Biden’s efforts to support the expansion of women’s rights, reproductive freedoms and other public health initiatives around the world, said Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, president and CEO of PAI, a global reproduction rights group.
“We have a Biden-Harris administration that is doing everything in its power to uphold human rights, to demand gender equality, to reduce and reduce health inequalities around the world. And at the same time, the headline is that the United States Roe v. Wade can turn around, “she told HuffPost on Friday morning before the decision was made. “It sends a very confusing message that our own house is not in order. What right do we have to stand on the global stage and demand these additional rights? ”
The decision could also only raise global concerns about a broader decline in democracy in the United States: The few countries that have moved in recent years to further restrict abortion are all widely regarded as “backward democracies”, a status for which experts have applied to the US. for the first time in 2020.
The downfall of Roe, who wanted to keep the majority of Americans in place, was hastened by a political system that encouraged minority government, and could easily lead to future cases targeting other rights.
Judge Clarence Thomas said in his concurrent opinion that the Supreme Court should reconsider decisions in major cases that legalized same-sex marriage and protected access to contraception – rights that also enjoy overwhelmingly popular support, but may find themselves under threat by the country and the court’s conservatives. majority.
“I come from Argentina, where democracy is fairly new,” Carino said. “We have always looked at the US as the model for democracy, and that will leave us doubting whether this is the case.”
Globally, the ruling will reinforce the idea that hard-fought victories to extend access to abortion cannot be taken for granted, especially in countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, where opposition to those moves has sometimes made it difficult to gain access to legal and safe procedures.
But despite Friday’s massive loss of reproductive rights, advocates say their recent victories in major Latin American countries give them hope that they can boost those gains and achieve more victories in the future, especially as Chile and other nations expand access to consider abortion.
Those movements are also ready to support their allies in the US how they can, Carino said.
“I want Americans to know that the feminist movement around the world is ready to stand with them and support them,” she told HuffPost. “It’s a long battle, but we are convinced that we will win, as women always do.”