Groups linked to Trump and the 6 January attempted insurrection were exultant over the overruling of Roe v Wade, report Sian Norris and Heidi Siegmund Cuda

When Illinois Republican Mary Miller stood up to praise the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade – the 1973 ruling which allowed for nationwide access to safe, legal abortion in the US – she called it a “victory for white life”.

A spokesperson later told reporters Miller meant to say “victory for right to life”. The Trump-backed Miller, who previously quoted Adolf Hitler approvingly, won her primary just days later.

Mistake or not, it came as no surprise. Ever since the movement to criminalise abortion in the US gained momentum in the 1860s, it has been linked to white supremacy. 

The far-right believes that women’s reproductive and sexual freedoms contributes to the ‘great replacement’ – the belief that white people in the West are being replaced by black and minority ethnic from the Global South. White nationalists such as Ayla Stewart set ‘white baby challenges’ and sites like WhiteDating.Net invite far-right white people to date, marry and have babies for the white race. 

The Great Replacement, once a fringe conversation occurring in the darkest chat rooms, has been mainstreamed by Tucker Carlson on Fox News, which reaches millions of Americans nightly. Great Replacement Theory was cited by the Buffalo shooter, who murdered 10 black people in a grocery store. The 18-year-old posted a 180-page manifesto about White Americans being replaced by people of color. Digital DNA revealed he had been in a chat room with a retired federal agent, who is under investigation for grooming the shooter to commit domestic terrorism. The 2019 Christchurch mosque shooter also warned of White genocide.

Little wonder, then, that the far-right infosphere welcomed the news that the Supreme Court had overturned 50 years of precedent to allow states to make their own abortion laws. 

Already nine states have triggered laws banning the procedure, with a further 17 expected to follow suit. 

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Misogyny and the Far-Right

The decision to overturn Roe v Wade came as the 6 January Select Committee hearings continued to process evidence of far-right militia involvement in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol. This included the presence of the male-only Proud Boys, the leaders of which have been charged with seditious conspiracy over the violence in January 2021.  

The group’s Telegram channel included disturbing and distressing responses to the Roe decision, telling women worried about getting unplanned pregnancies that they could “learn to suck d**k” and saying they would dig up the corpse of late pro-abortion judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September 2020, to “tell her the good news”. A doctored image featured babies gathered around her grave giving it the middle finger. 

The channel members indulged in further misogynistic language, referring to “hoes getting mad” alongside mocking video clips, and telling women to “seethe b***h”. The UK branch, Proud Boys Britannia, echoed much of the rhetoric, while posting an image of a crying woman surrounded by cats and a vibrator, captioned: “women after a long day of fighting to kill babies”. 

The mocking of women “getting mad”, and the hatred towards women accused of wanting to “kill babies” was encapsulated by far-right TikTok channel No White Guilt. The account shared a video where a man described pro-abortion protesters at the Supreme Court as “the depraved hysteria of women screaming like literal banshees from hell about having the right to kill babies”.

Another far-right organisation involved in the 6 January violence was Turning Point USA, which organised buses to bring protesters to Washington D.C and take part in the Trump rally. Among posts about how guns “save lives”, the so-called “pro life” organisation posted content that referred to women who have abortions as “baby killers” and mocked “crazy liberals” as they “freak out, scream and cry over Roe”. It also posted content claiming to “destroy” left-wing arguments in favour of abortion.

This style of mockery was echoed by anti-abortion activist and 6 January attendee Tayler Hansen, who made vidoes of protesters outside the Supreme Court for Next News Networks of “libtards” reacting to SCOTUS “blocking them from killing babies”. Hansen famously defaced a Planned Parenthood clinic with the slogan “all lives matter”. 

Not to be outdone, the UK branch of Turning Point USA posted in celebration of Roe being overruled, saying “it’s time to reignite the fight for life” in the UK. When the organisation was set up in 2019, it received supportive messages from Conservative MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel. Its former chairman George Farmer was a prominent donor to the Conservative Party and a member of its elite donor dining group. 

There are many overlaps between the far-right and the extremist misogynistic incel subculture – and views on abortion is one of them.

While some incels are in favour of abortion, the majority support abortion bans which they view as a just punishment for women having sex. 

Incels celebrated the end of Roe as a “great day for us brothers”, that will “make it impossible for promiscuous Stacies [attractive women] to get an abortion at their whim. One small step for the based [good] Supreme Court judges, one giant leap for incelkind”. 

Emboldened Opposition and a Galvanised MovementWhat the End of Roe v Wade Means for Abortion Around the World

Sian Norris

Democracy in Danger

Alongside the far-right reaction, experts have identified how the Supreme Court decision is being used by right-wing, disinformation channels to try and disrupt democracy and deter people from voting in the US mid-term elections. 

There are fears that a Republican majority in the mid-terms would lead to a complete, nationwide ban on abortion. 

According to Bot Sentinal’s Chris Bouzy, within 24 hours of Roe being overturned there was an increase in inauthentic accounts engaging with people angry at the Supreme Court decision. The accounts sought to dissuade others from voting in November by using messages like “Why bother voting now?”; “All is already lost” and “Voting won’t change anything”.

“Not much has changed since the 2016 presidential election, and bad actors continue to weaponise social media platforms to manipulate voters,” Bouzy told Byline Times. “Platforms and lawmakers must do more to address the problem”.

Experts are warning of Russian involvement in fuelling disinformation and division. 

“The overturning of a Federal protection of privacy emboldens States with extremist leadership to assert an autonomous differentiation,” said OSINT researcher Brett Allpress. “The Divided States of America is a Russian playbook. It mirrors Brexit”.

Campaigners are also fearful that having won on abortion, the US far and radical right will now come after other human rights.

“The rolling series of rulings gutting women’s rights and favouring a police state is a shock and awe strategy, a show of power, and just the beginning of an historic move towards authoritarianism in America,” said disinformation researcher Jim Stewartson, who has called on President Joe Biden to shut down Telegram as part of emergency measures to stop digital poison.

 “Every signal I see indicates that the next target is the LGBTQ+ community. This comes from both the rapid increase in hate and violent attacks, and because of Clarence Thomas’s explicit signal in Dobbs that he wants to turn over Obergefell, which guarantees the right to gay marriage”.

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