Social Issues

The rage of a generation that grew up with abortion as a US right

By Beatriz Pascual Macias

Washington, Jun 24 (EFE).- When they were born, abortion was illegal in the United States, but when they became sexually mature it was a right. A generation of women went to sleep Friday knowing their daughters and granddaughters will have fewer rights – and that has filled them with rage.

“I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. It’s something visceral, it’s like I’ve been kicked very hard in the stomach,” Anne Glusker, 63, said, hitting her gut Friday night as she demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court.

That court, with a conservative majority, had only hours before ended the federal protection of the right to abortion, in force since 1973, so states will be in charge of setting the rules. Nine states have already banned abortion, and others are expected to do so in the coming days or weeks.

Glusker was taking care of her parents in New York when she saw what had happened. She decided to pack her bags, take a train to Washington, and stand in front of the Supreme Court.

“From the time I was sexually active or my friends were, abortion has always been legal. Ever since I’ve been a person, abortion has always been legal. For most of my generation, abortion has been a right. And this is horrible,” Glusker told EFE with his eyes fixed on the court.

Her generation grew up with the guarantee that abortion was a right. Most were girls or teenagers when the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that states could not interfere with a woman’s right to decide about her pregnancy under the Constitution’s 14th amendment, which guarantees privacy.

The ruling was a huge change in the lives of many women, since then – as it will be from now – the US was divided into two: progressive states that protected the right to abortion, such as New York, where Glusker lived, and other conservatives where it was forbidden.

There was a separation by classes with wealthy women who could travel to other states to terminate their pregnancy or access a clandestine abortion paying a large sum of money. Others with fewer resources, mostly from racial minorities, had to seek another form of abortion or were forced to give birth.

That reality is remembered with great bitterness by Rosemary Maffei, who was 18 when the Supreme Court established federal protection for abortion.

“I remember the days when abortion wasn’t legal. Back then, I was in high school, it was the ’70s. When a girl got pregnant, all of a sudden she stopped going to school and everyone knew it was because she was going to have a baby,” Maffei told EFE.

The woman attended the protest with her daughter Mary Elizabeth Maffei, 32, who that same morning was in charge of notifying her of the Supreme Court ruling.

“They have. Roe is dead,” she told her mother in a text message. What followed, both say, were many insults. “I felt very angry. The truth is that very, very angry,” Maffei told EFE.

She is horrified by the idea that women in America, including her own daughter, will have fewer rights today than she enjoyed as an adult.

“Honestly,” she said, “it scares me. I don’t want anyone to be in a position where they can’t control what happens to their bodies. Women who want to have an abortion because they’ve been raped, for incest, or for medical reasons or simply because they don’t want to have a child. And now they won’t be able to make that decision.”

The Supreme Court ruling has left in the air access to abortion for 36 million women of reproductive age who live in 13 of the 50 states of the country, according to Planned Parenthood, the organization that manages the US’ largest network of reproductive health clinics.

That organization estimates that 26 states will end up prohibiting the right to abortion, in a matter of days, weeks or months. EFE

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