The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which had established women’s constitutional right to an abortion, was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. President Joe Biden denounced the decision, saying it will significantly alter millions of women’s lives in the United States and exacerbate already-rising tensions in the bitterly divided nation.
In a 6-3 decision, the court maintained a Mississippi law supported by Republicans that forbids abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Mississippi law was maintained by a 5-4 vote, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to suggest he would not have gone so far as to completely invalidate the Roe precedent.
As predicted by many, the decision’s effects will be felt well beyond the high-security walls of the court, potentially changing the electoral landscape in November and suggesting a new willingness on the part of the justices to alter other long-established rights.
The judgement may also fuel arguments over the court’s legitimacy, which was once an unquestionable pillar of the American democratic system but is now coming under fire for its more stridently conservative rulings on a variety of matters.
The decision restored states’ right to outlaw abortion. 26 states are either certain to outlaw abortion or are thought to be likely to do so. Mississippi is among 13 states with so-called trigger laws to ban abortion with Roe overturned.
In a concurring opinion that raised concerns the justices might roll back other rights, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to reconsider past rulings protecting the right to contraception, legalizing gay marriage nationwide, and invalidating state laws banning gay sex.
The justices held that the Roe decision, which permitted abortions before a foetus would be viable outside the womb, which occurs between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, was incorrectly decided because the U.S. Constitution does not specifically mention abortion rights. The ruling was authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
Large swaths of America now present women with the option of travelling to another state where the operation is still permitted and available, purchasing abortion pills online, or undergoing a potentially risky illegal abortion.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared to reject a suggestion made by some opponents of abortion that the court should go one step further and declare that abortion is against the law. Kavanaugh writes, “The Constitution neither outlaws abortion nor legalizes abortion”.
Kavanaugh also said that the ruling does not let states bar residents from traveling to another state to obtain an abortion, or retroactively punish people for prior abortions. more
“It’s a sad day” – President Biden
Condemning the ruling as taking an “extreme and dangerous path”, President Biden said at the White House, “It’s a sad day for the court and for the country”. “The court has done what it has never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans”, Biden added.
The Democratic president further explained that by giving states the ability to outlaw abortion, the United States stands out among developed nations in terms of defending reproductive rights.
Given its partisan division, Biden urged Congress to approve a measure defending abortion rights. In addition to fighting attempts to prevent women from travelling to other states for abortions, Biden said his administration will defend women’s access to drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, such as tablets for contraception and medication abortion.
The Vatican hailed the decision, saying it challenged the world to ponder on life’s most important questions, but Britain, France, and some other countries labelled it a step backward.
As a brief reaction to the court’s decision, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the decision was a loss for women everywhere. The Prime Minister said in a statement, “Watching the removal of a woman’s fundamental right to make decisions over their own body is incredibly upsetting”.
On June 24, 2022, anti-abortion protesters cheer outside the US Supreme Court when the court rules in the Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization abortion case, overturning the important Roe v. Wade ruling.
Companies in the United States, including Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), AT&T, and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), indicated they would pay for employees’ travel expenses if they now need to get an abortion.
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In May, a draught of Alito’s decision that suggested the court was prepared to reverse Roe was leaked, sparking a political uproar. This leaked draught was largely followed in Friday’s decision.
In a ruling, Alito writes that the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.
Roe v. Wade recognized that the right to personal privacy under the Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy. The Supreme Court in a 1992 ruling called Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey reaffirmed abortion rights and prohibited laws imposing an “undue burden” on abortion access. Friday’s ruling overturned the Casey decision as well.
Alito also added that Roe was egregiously wrong from the start and its reasoning was exceptionally weak; and “the decision has had damaging consequences”. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division”, Alito continued.
Issuing a jointly authored dissent, the court’s three liberal justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan write, “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens“.
The liberal justices also added that as a result of Friday’s ruling, from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. And a state can “force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs” .
Just one day after the court’s conservative majority rendered another decision restricting states’ authority to adopt gun laws, the judgement gave states the right to outlaw abortion.
The polarization in America on a variety of issues, abortion and gun rulings, was shown by the abortion and gun verdicts.
Christian conservatives and many Republican elected officials, including former President Donald Trump, have long favored overturning Roe. In 2016, Trump campaigned on a platform of naming Supreme Court judges who would do so. Three judges were appointed to the bench during his time, and each one sided with the majority in the decision.
Asked in a Fox News interview whether he deserved some credit for the ruling, Trump said: “God made the decision“.
A large security fence encircling the courthouse was encircled by crowds. After the decision, pro-abortion demonstrators cheered while some abortion rights advocates sobbed.
Even after the ruling had been made for hours, angry demonstrators continued to congregate outside the court, as did large crowds in cities from coast to coast, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
Republican-controlled Supreme Court has accomplished that party’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions“,
according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
According to data released on June 15 by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that promotes abortion rights, the number of abortions in the United States climbed by 8% for the three years ending in 2020, reversing a 30-year pattern of dropping numbers.