With a razor-thin Supreme Court decision declaring abortion bans unconstitutional, women and feminists in the U.S. are letting politicians know that protecting access to abortion rights will be a major issue in the upcoming elections. Pro-choice, anti-abortion, and candidate reactions have varied widely, but all agree that the 5-4 vote reveals the fragility of abortion rights.
Anti-abortion groups vow to introduce new abortion procedure bans that would attempt to avoid the vague language that the Court struck down this week in the Nebraska case, Stenberg v. Carhart. But various sources, including the National Right to Life Committee, anticipate that anti-abortion attempts will fail again, as these bans do not include an exception for a woman’s health.
The Court’s swing vote, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, said such bans must include an exemption for women’s health. The Supreme Court decision has highlighted the importance of the upcoming presidential election, even as Republican candidate George W. Bush attempts to downplay his anti-abortion stance. In their reactions to Carhart, both Democratic candidate Al Gore and Tipper Gore stressed the next president’s power to nominate 3-4 Justices to the Supreme Court.