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abortion ruling throws match into tinderbox

source:china daily           editor:zhang wenni

some of the protesters at a rally in new york's foley square in october 2021 show their opposition to a highly restrictive abortion law in texas. yana paskova/getty images

divided country

mei gechlik, founder and chief executive of the sinotalks website, told china daily: "the drastically different responses to the overturning of the decision reflect how divided the united states is."

gechlik, founder and former director of the china guiding cases project at stanford law school, added: "it will take a lot of political wisdom to mend these differences. however, a big question is: where is this wisdom?"

lindsay cui, a financial adviser in silicon valley, california, told china daily that after the court's decision was announced, "i rushed out of the house, and walked one and a half hours to calm down. my immediate reaction to the ruling was very angry and heartbroken that our country is going backward."

the 55-year-old executive said: "i'm angry that six conservative supreme court justices took away 50 years of a woman's right to choose her own sensitive reproductive health decision. this is discriminatory toward poor women and people of color. it will increase the cycle of poverty within our country, especially within red (republican-controlled) states.

"guns have more rights than women in america. i hope for blue waves of voters that will change the direction of this country," added cui, referring to the color associated with the democratic party.

a commentary published by the new yorker magazine said those who argue that this decision will not actually change things much-an instinct people will find on both sides of the political divide-are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.

the supreme court's ruling restored the ability of states to ban abortion. several states are expected to ban abortions immediately or as soon as practicable. twenty-six states are either certain or considered likely to ban abortion.

thirteen states have abortion bans triggered by a reversal of the roe vs wade ruling, though the laws vary in their enforcement dates. this will make abortion illegal across most of the south and the midwest.

since the decision was announced, clinics have stopped performing abortions in alabama, arizona, arkansas, kentucky, missouri, south dakota, west virginia and wisconsin. women considering abortions had already been dealing with a near-complete ban in oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in texas.

anti-abortion laws aren't national. the us will have a patchwork of laws, including restrictions and protections, because some democratic-led states such as california and new york expanded reproductive rights in the run-up to the court's decision.

the court's ruling leaves questions over how much of a role the issue could play in the midterm elections for congress in november. republicans are expected to win control of the house of representatives and perhaps the senate.

with state legislatures and governors now in the position of protecting or rescinding abortion access, both main political parties are now expected to focus on the issue. thousands of legislative seats and governors' offices in 36 states will be up for election.

despite the street protests against the court ruling, many republicans said they will not stop with last week's decision and will push to ban abortion nationwide.

republicans and activists opposed to abortion said they plan to force those states that allow it to ban the procedure either through state-by-state campaigns or a federal law banning it.

"having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of american law in every state in the land," former vice-president mike pence said in a statement.

former president donald trump told fox news in an interview aired after the decision that the court was "following the constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago". he added: "i think, in the end, this is something that will work out for everybody."

asked whether he deserved some credit for the ruling, trump said: "god made the decision."

he later issued a statement praising himself for appointing three conservatives to the court who voted to overturn roe vs wade.

a survey conducted last month for the cnn network found that 66 percent of those questioned said they believed the ruling should not be overturned.

a gallup survey this month found that the share of people identifying as "pro-choice" had jumped to 55 percent after hovering between 45 percent and 50 percent for a decade. that sentiment was "the highest gallup has measured since 1995", while the 39 percent who identified as "pro-life" was "the lowest since 1996", the polling firm said.

many pollsters say it is too soon to tell how the issue will play out in the midterm congressional elections.

democrats are battling the highest inflation in four decades, including high gas prices, and low poll ratings for us president joe biden.

"this ruling does nothing to change the fact that voters' top concerns are rising prices, soaring crime," national republican congressional committee spokeswoman samantha bullock said on friday.

"today's supreme court ruling returns the issue of abortion to the states and allows voters to decide whether they agree with democrats' extreme support for taxpayer-funded late-term abortion."

carol tobias, president of the national right to life, said she expects abortion opponents to turn out in huge numbers this fall.

fred yang, a veteran democratic pollster and strategist who is working in several competitive house and senate races around the country, told the los angeles times: "democrats needed an energizing, organizing dynamic and this provides it.

"we've needed something affirmative to say and an issue where we can say affirmatively, we're going to protect your rights. this is it."

analysts said democrats also want to use the decision to win support from independents and even some republicans-especially women-upset at seeing the legal right to abortion removed after almost 50 years.

but charlie cook, a nonpartisan analyst who has spent decades studying campaigns and elections, said he is skeptical that friday's decision will drastically change a political climate dominated by economic issues that work to the benefit of republicans.

"if this were a level playing field, it might have greater impact," cook told the los angeles times. "but when you've got the economic situation we've got, with a majority-in some cases a big majority-expecting a recession, high inflation, interest rates shooting up, it's hard for abortion or guns or jan 6 to cut through all this.

"it's like democrats have dug themselves into a 10-foot hole," cook said. "abortion can fill a foot of it. jan 6 can fill a foot. but they're still in a deep hole."