USA: Abortion, the ‘strong card’ of Democrats and Republicans ahead of the midterm elections

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The battle over abortion in the US has carried over to the midterm elections in November, with Democrats and Republicans alike seizing on the issue.

“This fall, Roe will be decided at the ballot box,” US President Joe Biden characteristically said the other day, referring to the Supreme Court decision. “Personal liberties will be decided at the ballot box. The right to privacy, freedom, equality—all will be decided at the ballot box.”

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The ruling cleared the way for Republicans to renew their efforts to enforce existing laws that ban abortion in most cases and to enact federal and state measures that would limit the number of weeks into a pregnancy at which abortion would be considered legal.

On the other hand, Democrats are trying to mobilize their voters to maintain their slim majority in Congress and be able to block new federal restrictions on abortion rights.

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Polls have shown that a majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. But it is still too early to say whether a large part of voters will consider the right to abortion the defining issue of the election or just one of many issues along with the economy, inflation, etc.

Republicans hope the decision will galvanize the party’s socially conservative base, while Democrats hope to galvanize younger voters, who traditionally stay away from midterm elections, and moderate voters in the suburbs, who gave the party big wins in 2018 and 2020 elections, but have since moved away from it.

According to former President Trump’s pollster, Jim McLaughlin, who spoke to CNN, the issue could benefit Democrats in narrowly winnable contests “only if the economy improves significantly and Biden’s approval rating increases.”

“In places like New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, abortion laws aren’t going to change much” before November, he says, adding that right now “voters are literally worried about how they’re going to feed their families and how they’re going to find money to put gas in their cars.”

European imitators

When the U.S. Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for abortion bans in American states became known, the reaction from opponents of the practice in Europe was simple: we can do it too.

As public opinion in most of Europe favors legal abortion, its opponents know they are going against the grain.

However, for them the recent decision confirmed their view that public opinion–and perhaps even more so policy decisions–can change.

“This is very positive and will be looked at by other judges. I think it’s clear that 50 years after Roe v. Wade abortion remains a problem and will always be a problem,” says Gregor Papinck, the director of the European Center for Law and Justice and one of the biggest names in anti-abortion activism in Europe.

Papinc, who is originally from Quebec and studied law in France, heads the foundation outside Strasbourg and is drawing on a strategy inspired by the American anti-abortion movement with funding and support from the US.

Advising and representing clients in court cases, the Center promotes conservative interpretations of the law on issues such as religious freedom, euthanasia and, of course, abortion at the European Court of Human Rights and other international organizations.

Over the years Papinc has become famous: he works with the Vatican as a consultant and was honored by the Italian government for his legal services in a lawsuit over the right to place crosses in public school classrooms.

Connections with the USA

Organizations like Papinck’s are part of the American effort to export anti-abortion activism across the Atlantic.

Opposition to the practice of abortion is not something new in Europe. The Catholic Church’s condemnation of abortion dates back hundreds of years and has grown more strident over the years. Orthodox and conservative Protestant organizations have similar positions.

But with activists in Europe so far unable to replicate the “success” of their American counterparts, American organizations are helping them by funding or advising them.

A total of $81.3 million in funding was provided by US donors to bolster anti-abortion activism and other conservative causes between 2009 and 2018, according to a report by the Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF). ), a network made up of 556 MEPs with liberal views.

EPF Executive Director Neil Datta called the US Supreme Court’s decision on abortion the result of a decades-long campaign by ultra-conservative circles to influence the US judicial system.

Now, he says, the same is happening in Europe: “We are at a much earlier stage of the process than in the US.”

In a recent investigation in the Guardian, Angela Giuffrida and Flora Garamvolgi attempted to map the anti-abortion network that is spreading across Europe with the help of American organizations and even diplomats from the Vatican. As they report, since 2013 parts of the network have been under the umbrella of the Agenda Europe organization, which has reached the number of more than 300 organizations. The network includes ultra-conservative organizations such as the Polish Ordo Iuris and the international organization Tradition, Family, Property, which reportedly manages a budget of tens of millions of dollars.

Indicatively, the director of Ordo Iuris said she is fighting to ensure that Ukrainian refugees, who are victims of rape and become pregnant, go through the Polish prosecutor’s office to assure authorities that they were indeed raped by Russian soldiers so that they can be given the “green light” to terminate their pregnancy.

Source: AMPE

Source: Capital

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