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US Supreme Court strikes down right to abortion

The US Supreme Court on Friday ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections on one of America’s most divisive issues.

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision enshrining a woman’s right to an abortion, saying individual states can restrict or ban the procedure themselves — which half appear poised to do.

US President Joe Biden slammed the US Supreme Court for ending the right to abortion, accusing it of putting women’s lives at risk in the name of an “extreme ideology.” Meanwhile, the United Nations described the new ruling as a “huge blow” to human rights.

Hundreds of people — some shedding tears of joy and others of grief — gathered outside the fenced-off Supreme Court, where security was tightened ahead of the ruling.

“It’s hard to imagine living in a country that does not respect women as human beings and their right to control their bodies,” said Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, 49, a mother of two daughters who was choking back tears.

But Gwen Charles, a 21-year-old opponent of abortion, was jubilant. “This is the day that we have been waiting for,” Charles told AFP. “We get to usher in a new culture of life in the United States.”

The ruling represents a victory of 50 years of struggle against abortion by the religious right — with campaigners now expected to keep pushing for an outright nationwide ban. “God made the decision,” said the Republican former president Donald Trump in praising the ruling.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, called the ruling “outrageous and heart-wrenching.” “But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot (in midterm elections) this November,” she said. – AFP

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