United Nations special rapporteur, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, has called on the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the right to abortion in America.
Today, a state district is hearing arguments from abortion rights groups challenging Texas’ restrictive abortion law. Retired state magistrate judge, David Peeples will hear over a dozen cases filed in state court challenging Senate Bill 8, which effectively bans abortions after about six weeks.
Mofokeng said the reverberations of the ruling would be felt far beyond the U.S.
“We have this joke among us that when the [U.S.] sneezes the rest of the world catches a [cold],” Mofokeng told The Guardian. “So we know that politically that what happens in the United States… does have an impact in precedents elsewhere in the world.”
These lawsuits were filed by Planned Parenthood, doctors, social workers, abortion fund organizations, practical support networks and lawyers. The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare Texas’ new law unconstitutional.
Under the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, states are barred from outlawing abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“If that gets overturned, it has catastrophic implications, not just for the US,” said Mofokeng.
The justices will also hear a separate challenge to those decisions on Dec. 1 over Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
Last month, a federal judge temporarily suspended the enforcement of the state’s restrictive abortion law.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin “From the moment (the law) went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” Pitman wrote in his decision.
While he acknowledged the possibility of his order being appealed in another court, he made it clear that “this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”
Nevertheless, today, all eyes are on Texas.