The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Supreme Court Sidesteps on Abortion Rights

Jul 1, 2024

Two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion rights were not the victories that headlines hinted at. The attack on abortion rights is very much continuing.

With a nod to upcoming elections, in two recent rulings, the far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court avoided public support for a clear attack on abortion rights. A law professor observed, “Once burned by overturning Roe before the 2022 midterm elections … twice shy about letting [their] extreme anti-abortion ideology offend voters in an election year.”

On June 27, in a case from Idaho, the Supreme Court issued a decision that sidestepped a clear ruling. Federal law requires hospitals to provide care for pregnant patients in an “emergency medical condition,” but an abortion ban is blocking this basic right. The court’s June 27 ruling left protections in place—for now. But there are two dozen similar attacks on emergency room care already in the court system.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in a minority position on the court, wrote that abortions can become necessary to protect a woman from “losing her uterus, going into organ failure, or avoiding any number of other serious health risks.” Jackson accused the right-wing majority of “political chicanery before the election.” Her dissent was in line with a nationwide survey conducted in March which found 82% of people in the U.S. believe emergency abortion care must be legal.

In a second case in June, the court used a technicality to kick another attack on abortion down the road. The court struck down a narrow aspect of a case that aimed to ban the abortion pill, mifepristone. The possibility of future court cases to attack this abortion pill was left open in this ruling. According to Nancy Northrup, the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, mifepristone “is still at risk nationwide.”

Monday, June 24 marked the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Supporters of reproductive healthcare and abortion rights rallied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Clearly, restoring reproductive healthcare for all will require a mass mobilization, even a revolution to overthrow the oppressive net that capitalism has thrown over women’s very life needs.

Once a fight starts, better possibilities for protection could open up in the short run.