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The Law Banning Abortions in the United States Could Strengthen Conservative Forces in Israel
Protesters hold placards expressing their opinion at a pro-abortion rights rally in Dayton , Ohio on May 14, 2022, in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade that leaked about two weeks ago. (Whitney Saleski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Law Banning Abortions in the United States Could Strengthen Conservative Forces in Israel

Ma’ariv, Israel, May 15

“It is time to return the issue of abortion to the decision of the elected representatives,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in a draft ruling leaked from the US Supreme Court last week. The draft caused no less than an earthquake in America. If this draft does, indeed, turn into a ruling, federal protection of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, known as Roe v. Wade, will be revoked, and every state in the United States will be free to prohibit abortions in its territory. This would be true even in cases in which the pregnancy was a result of rape (as already indicated, for example, in Oklahoma). In addition, in many states, such as Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, where the trend of reducing cases approved for abortion has already begun, clinics where abortions can be performed will have to close and so the number of abortions, even those perceived as legitimate in those states, will be further reduced. Colorado and Illinois, which define themselves as states protecting women’s autonomy and the right to their bodies, have already announced that they will be prepared to assist women coming from out-of-state to get abortions. However, it is likely that many women will not be able to do so for both economic and health reasons. For example, a woman who wants to travel from Louisiana to Illinois will have to embark on a journey of over 1,000 kilometers. Today, about a quarter of women in the United States have an abortion by the age of 45, with 75% of those who are getting abortions earning a low wage. One of the major concerns about the lack of access to abortion is an increase in pregnancy-related deaths in the US, which is already one of the highest in the West. Beyond the repercussions of this ruling on women and the right to their bodies, the repeal of the law would be proof that electing conservative judges is a crucial step in turning conservatives in the United States into an influential force on American society. The ruling can also have far-reaching implications for the interpretation of fundamental rights, including the principle of privacy. One of the questions is whether it will be possible to protect the privacy of women in a discreet search for places to have an abortion and what information might be relayed about a woman to her home state. Based on these events, we can only assume that similar trends in Israel may gain momentum. For example, the growing desire today to increase the number of judges with a conservative worldview in Israel’s Supreme Court is already well underway. Another point of similarity is the current tension between the Supreme Court’s duty to interpret constitutional rights and the perception of the court’s role. Thus, there will be those who will seek to cling to the ruling of Justice Alito and call on strengthening the power of the Israeli legislature at the expense of the court. Although local conservative views in Israel hardly deal with aspects related to women’s right to their bodies, in recent years a new Israeli conservative movement has been emerging, which strengthens the exclusion of women in the name of “modesty” and “family values.” It is not inconceivable that the success of overseas conservative forces in repealing Roe v. Wade could give these forces a significant tailwind. In light of this, and out of sympathy and solidarity with women in the United States, Israeli women can only hope that the draft judgment that was leaked will be changed. – Anat Tahon Ashkenazi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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