In their own words: U.S. Supreme Court justices on overturning Roe v. Wade

June 24 (Reuters) – In a bombshell decision, the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade who recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Read more

The court voted 5-4 to overturn Roe, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law at the center of that case, which bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but does not wouldn’t have canceled Roe. The court’s three liberal justices dissented. Read more

Here are some excerpts from their opinions.

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CONSERVATIVE JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, IN THE MAJORITY OPINION:

“It is time to respect the Constitution and return the question of abortion to the elected representatives of the people.”

“We contend that Roe and Casey should be struck down. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by constitutional provision.”

Roe v. Wade acknowledged that the right to privacy under the US Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy. A decision titled Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, rendered in 1992, reaffirmed the right to abortion and banned laws imposing an “undue burden” on access to abortion.

“Abortion poses a deep moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of every state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority to themselves. We now reverse those rulings and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.

CONSERVATIVE JUDGE CLARENCE THOMAS, IN A CONCURRING OPINION:

“Because the Court correctly applies our substantive due process precedents to reject the fabrication of a constitutional right to abortion, and because this case does not present an opportunity to reject substantive due process entirely, I agree with the opinion of the Court.”

“For this reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold (which protected the right to contraception), Lawrence (which struck down the laws of the state prohibiting sodomy) and Obergefell (which legalized gay marriage nationwide).”

“Substantive due process conflicts with this textual command and has harmed our country in many ways. Accordingly, we should eliminate it from our jurisprudence at the earliest opportunity.”

CONSERVATIVE JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, IN A CONCURRING OPINION:

“The Constitution does not take sides on the issue of abortion. The text of the Constitution does not refer to or encompass abortion.”

“Because the Constitution is neutral on the issue of abortion, this Court must also be scrupulously neutral. The nine unelected members of this Court do not possess the constitutional power to override the democratic process and decree either a pro- life, or a pro-abortion policy of choice for the 330 million people in the United States.”

“To be clear, then, today’s court decision does not ban abortion in the United States. Rather, the court’s decision rightly leaves the issue of abortion to the people and to its elected representatives in the democratic process.”

CONSERVATIVE CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, APPROVING JUDGMENT ON MISSISSIPPI LAW ONLY BUT NOT REVERSING ROE:

“I would take a more measured course. I agree with the Court that the viability line established by Roe and Casey should be rejected under a simple stare decisis analysis. That line never made sense. “

“If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary to not decide more. Perhaps we are not always perfect at following this order, and there are certainly cases that deserve an exception. But this is not one of them.”

“The Court’s decision to overturn Roe and Casey is a serious shock to the legal system – however you view these cases. A narrower decision rejecting the erroneous viability line would be significantly less troubling, and nothing no more is needed to decide this matter.”

LIBERAL JUSTICES STEPHEN BREYER, ELENA KAGAN AND SONIA SOTOMAYOR, DISSENTING:

“Whatever the exact scope of future laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the restriction of women’s rights and their status as free and equal citizens.

“No one should be convinced that this majority is done with its job. The right recognized by Roe and Casey is not isolated. Rather, the Court has linked it for decades to other established freedoms involving the bodily integrity, family relationships and procreation.

“The Court is changing course today for one reason and one reason only: because the composition of this Court has changed.”

“With sorrow – for this Court, but more so, for the many millions of American women who today have lost fundamental constitutional protection – we disagree.”

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Scott Malone and Will Duham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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