'Horrifying decision to have devastating consequences': US celebs decry overturning of abortion ruling
The US Supreme Court has overturned a 1973 ruling in the Roe vs Wade case that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalised it nationwide. The court’s overturning of the landmark decision after nearly half a century is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states in the country. Celebrities across the US have decried the new ruling, calling it "horrifying".
Former first lady Michelle Obama penned a note of frustration, asking young people to keep fighting for a more "just America".
Michele said she is heartbroken over the court's decision and for people who just lost "the fundamental right to make informed decisions about their own bodies".
She recalled the time before Roe, predicting a painful turn back to women risking their lives getting illegal abortions. "A time when the government denied women control over their reproductive functions, forced them to move forward with pregnancies they didn't want, and then abandoned them once their babies were born. That is what our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers lives through, and now here we are again.
"So yes, I am heartbroken — for the teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won't be able to finish school or live the life she wants because the state controls her reproductive decisions; for the mother of a nonviable pregnancy who is now forced to bring that pregnancy to term; for the parents watching their child's future evaporate before their very eyes; for the health care workers who can no longer help them without risking jail time," she wrote.
Michele said people are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if they fail to reflect on their history.
Every person has a hand in how the land turns out and the Becoming author believes cynicism and indifference only give way to ignorance. "The more we allow permission to push us further into helplessness, the less we will be empowered to help create the kind of country we want to live in.
"This horrifying decision will have devastating consequences, and it must be a wake-up call, especially to the young people who will bear its burden," she said, prompting the youth to keep fighting for a country they want to live in. "I know this is not the future you chose for your generation — but if you give up now, you will inherit a country that does not resemble any of the values you believe in."
She said she doesn't believe the story ends here and that there is work to do. She encouraged people to channel their frustration and anger into action by getting involved and linked some organisations — Planned Parenthood and The United State of Women — that provide resources that can help.
"Our hearts may be broken today, but tomorrow, we've got to get up and find the courage to keep working towards creating the more just America we all deserve. We have so much left to push for, to rally for, to speak for — and I know we can do this together," she concluded her note.
The former US first lady is not the only one outraged by the decision. Her husband, former US president Barack Obama and many Hollywood celebrities spoke against the overruling.
"Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues," wrote Obama, saying they have attacked the personal freedoms of an individual.
Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift said she is "terrified" in light of this development. "That after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that."
Actor Viola Davis is "gutted" by the court's decision but believes now is the time speaking up matters even more.
Singer Lizzo shared a poster with her own song lyrics from 'About Damn Time' rewritten in light of the current situation, with "Abortion is a human right" written underneath. She also pledged to donate $500,000 from her upcoming tour to Planned Parenthood and Abortion Rights, organisations that will continue offering their services to those harmed by the law change.
TV talk show host Andy Cohen is incredulous about the difference in laws for gun control and women's autonomy over their own bodies.
American citizens have not accepted the change quietly either — protests continued into the evening in a number of cities, including thousands demonstrating against the decision outside the barricaded Supreme Court. Thousands more chanted “We will rise up!” in New York’s Washington Square.