The US Supreme Court overturning federal protection for abortion established in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision has left some Australians shaken, dismayed and reconsidering their future in the US.
Crikey spoke to three Australians about their reaction to the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, and how it’ll change their relationship with the country.
Sophie Hanson, freelance writer
Hanson moved to New York City with her then fiancé (now husband) during the Trump presidency in 2019. When Joe Biden won in 2020, she hoped things would go back to normal — but last week’s decision “sickened” her.
“The fact that only six unelected people can make a religious-based ruling that impacts half the country is horrid, dangerous and hypocritical,” she said. “When a gun has more rights in this country than my uterus, that’s pretty messed up.”
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Hanson and her husband have chosen to be childless, so she doesn’t expect it will affect her reproductive decisions, and New York state offers additional protections for residents. Still, the decision scares her.
“I am terrified of a future where hardline Christian Republican Mike Pence, who’s right now calling for a national abortion ban, wins the presidency. If he does, that might convince me to move,” she said.
Michael Chaitow, digital strategist
Chaitow moved stateside after the 2019 election. Even when he arrived, he felt conflicted about living in the US as it was.
“There were obviously significant issues here when I moved. That said, I’d hoped to see more of a change in the direction of this place than I’ve seen in the time here,” he said.
Even though he professes to love living in the US, Chaitow said the decision to roll back abortion protections, as well as the Supreme Court striking down a New York state law that restricted concealed carry of a handgun in public, has made him pessimistic about his future in the country.
“The two SCOTUS decisions this week feel to me like America is headed in the wrong direction, making it a less safe, less equal, less healthy and resilient society,” he said. “The decision feels like one — if not the — final nail in the coffin for me here.”
Katherine Mogg, senior public servant
Mogg is a senior lawyer in the New York state public service who moved to the US more than two decades ago. As a self-described ardent feminist who’s studied constitution law in the US and medical law in Australia, she says the decision is heartbreaking.
“It is clear to me that it will immediately result in worse maternal health outcomes (including death) for pregnant women in a country that already has the worst maternal health outcomes in the developed world,” she said in a message.
Mogg criticised the decision as fundamentally flawed for failing to consider settled law and analysis as well as ignoring the socioeconomic consequences — something, she said, that was key to the original Roe v Wade decision.
“Yet more evidence that the institutionally powerful forces within the United States repeatedly fail to protect its most vulnerable citizens,” she said.