By a 5-4 vote last week, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that had established the constitutional right to abortion in 1973. As a result of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, for the first time in almost 50 years, there are no national-level protections in the U.S. for women’s right to choose, with abortion policy now fully relegated to individual states. From Louisiana to Ohio to Texas, many states have already put in place strict restrictions, if not outright bans, on abortions.
Because the five votes in the majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade were cast by justices appointed by Republican presidents, including three appointed recently by former President Donald Trump, politicians in the Democratic Party were notably upset by the decision. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, called it “cruel.” There are very real concerns that the ruling will undermine women’s health, and that women in states with outright abortion bans will essentially become less than full citizens.
But the reaction was not limited to individuals who identify as Democrats or even to U.S. citizens. The response was international as well, with particular dismay expressed by Washington’s NATO allies. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States,” while the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement that, while it didn’t call out the U.S. directly, pointed to the ways in which the right to abortion was being “violated and threatened in many regions of the world.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the court’s decision “horrific.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of women’s rights being “under threat,” and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the ruling “a step backwards.”