By Ellie Fletcher – International Affairs Editor
Abortion is one of the most contentious political topics. Since the 1950’s it has been one of the most talked-about issues. the recent change in some state laws in the United States has sparked further debate globally. Since September 2021 in the state of Texas abortion has become limited after 6 weeks. The issue with this is most women don’t know they are pregnant till around that time. This has sparked international outrage with liberals arguing the law goes against Roe v Wade, yet conservatives argue this law protects the lives of unborn children. With other states following the question has become is this law constitutional?
The landmark Roe v Wade Supreme Court case in 1973 ruled that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. Since the ruling pro-life supporting officials have attempted to have the case return to the Supreme Court in the hope of a new ruling. This has caused protests, political debates and further divided the American people.
However, the United States is not the only country where abortion is a controversial topic. In Northern Ireland, abortion became legal in 2019. This was down to Stormont being unable to recall its assembly and stop the law from passing in time. In Northern Ireland, the DUP, in particular, are a staunch pro-life party and have been able to utilise their power and numbers in parliament to prevent any form of abortion legislation from passing. In fact, it was only by default abortion is now legal in Northern Ireland.
In the rest of the United Kingdom abortion became legal in 1967 and barring a period in the 1990s where there was some controversy surrounding how late in the pregnancy abortion could take place has remained fairly unchallenged. This demonstrates how different cultures, often including how devoutly religious a country is, can approach controversy differently. The protests and debates taking place in the United States currently highlight that abortion is a very personal decision and it should be down to an individual to make their own decision. There is an argument to be made that the government should have no right to tell a woman what she should do with her body, whilst others argue that the unborn foetus should have the right to live. It is clear there is never going to be a consensus on this issue and debates and conversations will continue to take place worldwide.