Labor party leader Merav Michaeli said Friday that the US abortion ruling was a result “of a dark and women-hating regime appointing judges,” in reference to former US president Donald Trump, and warned that a similar loss of rights could happen in Israel.
“Did you believe that such a thing could happen? And more importantly — did you women believe that such a thing could happen? That one of the world’s great democracies is taking us back to the dark days when a woman had no rights over her body,” Michaeli wrote in a post on social media after the US Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion.
The court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
“Well, it’s happening. And it happens when women did not understand the meaning of Trump being in power. This is what it means. This is the result of a dark and misogynistic government appointing judges,” wrote Michaeli, who serves as transportation minister.
“It may seem to you that we have already achieved equality, and that women’s rights and human rights can never be taken away,” Michaeli went on. “Well, go there and see.
“And it’s not just the composition of the court. It’s who writes the rules, who distributes the resources. The judges overturned the ruling because the US Constitution does not mention a right to abortion. Guess what, the Constitution was written only by men, at a time when women still did not have the right to vote, be elected and write rules and constitutions.”
With Israel heading to elections, Michaeli used the opportunity to urge women to support her and her party.
“Today and here, too, women are still a minority among those who write and pass laws. We are still a minority in the government as well, and I am the only woman currently heading a party. We must not leave it like that. We must not remain in this inferior position,” she wrote. “We must not allow darkness, religious fanaticism and racism to take the place of our democratic values.”
Abortion is legal in Israel and funded by the government, although it is not easily accessible and women face a number of hurdles to access it.
“As the only woman to lead a political party in Israel, I know I will continue to fight my battles because I am not prepared for my country to change its face in the same way the US changed its face today,” Michaeli said. It is in our hands. It is time to join us to expel the darkness and create light.”
The US ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court fortified by three Trump appointees.
Pregnant women considering abortions already had been dealing with a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas. Clinics in at least eight other states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia — stopped performing abortions after Friday’s decision.
In Ohio, a ban on most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat became the law when a federal judge dissolved an injunction that had kept the measure on hold for nearly three years. And Utah’s law was triggered by the ruling, going into effect with narrow exceptions.
Abortion foes cheered the ruling, but abortion-rights supporters, including US President Joe Biden, expressed dismay and pledged to fight to restore the rights.
Protests built 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.
At the White House, Biden said, “It’s a sad day for the court and for the country.” He urged voters to make it a defining issue in the November elections, declaring, “This decision must not be the final word.”
Outside the White House, Ansley Cole, a college student from Atlanta, said she was “scared because what are they going to come after next?… The next election cycle is going to be brutal, like it’s terrifying. And if they’re going to do this, again, what’s next?”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, agreed about the political stakes.
“We are ready to go on offense for life in every single one of those legislative bodies, in each statehouse and the White House,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Trump praised the ruling, telling Fox News that it “will work out for everybody.”
The decision is expected to disproportionately affect minority women who already face limited access to health care, according to statistics analyzed by The Associated Press.
The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.
Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong and had to be overturned.
“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote, in an opinion that was very similar to the leaked draft.
Joining Alito were Thomas and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The last three justices are Trump appointees. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.
Four justices would have left Roe and Casey in place.
The vote was 6-3 to uphold the Mississippi law, but Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t join his conservative colleagues in overturning Roe. He wrote that there was no need to overturn the broad precedents to rule in Mississippi’s favor.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — the diminished liberal wing of the court — were in dissent.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” they wrote, warning that abortion opponents now could pursue a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that the Justice Department will protect providers and those seeking abortions in states where it is legal and “work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care.”
In particular, Garland said the federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Mifepristone for medication abortions.
More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.