Social Issues

Women protest attack on abortion rights in US

New York, Mar 8 (EFE).- Hundreds of people in New York observed International Women’s Day with a march Tuesday to denounce the erosion of abortion rights in the United States.

Under the banner “Abortion on Demand and without Apology,” activists gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square for one of a dozen events organized nationwide by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.

One of those who addressed the crowd was Araceli Herrera, leader of Domesticas Unidas, an affiliate of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who made the trip to New York from Texas, where a law barring abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy took effect last year.

“In Texas we have already lost the right to abortion,” the 71-year-old Herrera said, recalling that she was forced as an adolescent to give birth to a child conceived as the result of rape.

“I suffered for years,” she said, recounting how she was mocked and shamed by neighbors and even family members.

In January 1973, the US Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision establishing the right for women across the US to terminate a pregnancy at any point before the fetus is capable of surviving outside the womb, around 22 weeks into gestation.

When the nation’s highest court found in favor of Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) in her suit against the state of Texas for prohibiting her from having an abortion, the procedure was only legal in 17 of the 50 states and illegal abortions were common.

And women in the US may be facing a similar situation by the middle of this year, as the Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on a challenge to a Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

During December’s hearing on that case, the questions and comments from the six conservative justices on the nine-member court indicated they were leaning toward allowing the Mississippi law to stand – and even scrapping Roe v. Wade entirely.

Sunsara Taylor, a founder of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, noted that even as reproductive rights are under threat in the US, Latin American countries are moving in the opposite direction.

She pointed to last year’s legalization of abortion of Argentina and the move in Colombia last week to decriminalize the procedure. EFE

hc/dr

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