European leaders were aghast when they learned of America’s recent SCOTUS repeal of Roe v. Wade. Only in places like Afghanistan and Nicaragua are abortions illegal. Surely not the United States? Even in a backwardly fascistic place like Russia abortion is legal. The view from over here is not good.
In Europe a woman’s right to choose isn’t a conservative or a liberal thing, it’s a human thing. It’s about human rights. Conservative British prime minister Boris Johnson said, “[the repeal of Roe v. Wade] is a big step backwards. I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view.” Yes, that’s how conservatives talk in Britain. They actually sound sometimes as if they are almost sane. They sound not unlike how conservatives in America used to sound — 30 or 40 years ago.
“A woman’s right to choose is a human right, “ said Irish European Union member Mick Wallace. “Why are we so quiet about challenging the U. S. when they threaten human rights? Is the US a functioning democracy?” A very good question.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “The news coming out of the United States is horrific. My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now.” French leader Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “Abortion is a fundamental right for all women. It must be protected.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted, “we cannot take any right for granted” and “women must be able to decide freely about their lives.” Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon in a tweet called the repeal of Roe on Friday “one of the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime.” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the decision “a huge setback” in a Facebook post, adding that her “heart cries for girls and women in the United States.”
Imagine America being held accountable for human rights violations by entities such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Imagine America being sanctioned by other countries the way much of the world has justly sanctioned Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps it should happen. Perhaps America deserves the infamy it has been so avidly courting of late.
For centuries now the United States of America has held itself up as an example to the rest of the world as a bulwark of freedom. The recent repeal of Row has significantly tarnished that image. The damage that Donald Trump has caused to the US is being carried on in one of his most disgusting legacies, his 3 appointments to the SCOTUS bench.
Of course, it’s still possible to get an abortion in many states in the US. But that may not last. Should Republicans regain the house and Senate in November they intend to outlaw abortion nationally. And the current SCOTUS will very probably back them up. So the contempt and consequences that the United States draws from the rest of the world is very much deserved. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.