The Supreme Court of the United States on Friday, June 24, overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in the country in 1973. This controversial ruling by the court vests powers in the individual states the power to set their own abortion laws without concern of running afoul of the Roe verdict which allowed abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Reports state that almost half the states are now expected to outlaw or severely restrict abortion as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision. These laws will impact millions around the country who may have to resort to extreme measures to seek reproductive healthcare.
While supporters of abortion rights condemned the ruling, the pro-life opponents though celebrated the court’s decision.
US Supreme Court Strikes Abortion Rights
Reportedly, Justice Samuel Alito, along with four other conservative judges, overturned the Roe V Wade judgement and also tossed the 1992 apex court decision upholding the abortion rights in the case titled Planned Parenthood v Casey.
A report in CNBC stated that Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the majority to uphold the Mississippi abortion restrictions but did not approve of tossing out Roe entirely. The other three judges who voted with the majority were Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
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According to the reports, Alito wrote in the judgement that they [The Court] holds that Roe and Casey must be overruled. He further added, “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Alito had also mentioned in the judgement that the provision was held to guarantee some rights “not mentioned in the Constitution” and that it was time the issue of abortion was “returned” to the elected representatives of the people.
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The court’s liberal justices though filed a dissenting opinion of the ruling which caused protestors to gather outside the Supreme Court. In their scathing statement they wrote, “The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law.”
The dissenting judges Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan noted that the majority will now allow states to ban abortion from conception onward because they don’t think “forced childbirth at all implicates a woman’s rights to equality and freedom”.
They criticised that Court did not think about the Constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and life. “A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs,” the dissenting judges added.
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