The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision on Friday, overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established the constitutional right to abortion in the United States in 1973.
The controversial but expected court ruling gives each state the power to set its own abortion laws without worrying about going against Roe, who had allowed abortions in the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Nearly half of states are expected to ban or severely restrict abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which is tied to a harshly restrictive new abortion law in Mississippi.
Other states are considering maintaining more liberal rules governing the termination of pregnancy.
Abortion rights supporters immediately condemned the decision, abortion opponents hailed a decision they had long hoped for.
Judge Samuel Alito, as expected, wrote the majority opinion that rejected Roe as well as a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights in a case known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Alito was joined in that judgment by the five other High Court Tories, including Chief Justice John Roberts, whose support for Roe’s quashing had long been in doubt.
The court’s three liberal justices filed a dissenting opinion to the decision, which quickly drew protesters to the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“We feel Roe and Casey should be canceled,” Alito wrote.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which Roe and Casey’s defenders now primarily rely – the Due Process Clause. of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Alito wrote.
“This provision was retained to guarantee certain rights which are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in the history and tradition of this nation’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered freedom “.
“It is time to respect the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected officials,” Alito wrote.
In their joint dissent, the court’s liberal justices lambasted the ruling, writing, “The majority would allow states to ban abortion from conception because they don’t think forced childbirth involves women’s rights at all.” a woman to equality and freedom.
“The Court today, that is, does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control over her body and her path. of his life,” said dissenting Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
“A state can force her to carry a pregnancy to term, even at the greatest personal and family cost.”
Pro-life protesters march past the Supreme Court building amid the ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Robert Schmidt | AFP | Getty Images
The case that triggered Roe’s death after nearly half a century, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is tied to a Mississippi law that banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Dobbs was by far the largest and most contentious dispute of the tribunal’s tenure. It also posed the most serious threat to abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe.
Dobbs deepened partisan divisions in an already intense period of political tribalism.
The leak in early May of a draft of the majority opinion, which completely overturned Roe, sent shockwaves across the country and galvanized activists on both sides of the debate. It also threw a veil over the country’s highest court, which immediately launched an investigation to find the source of the leak.
The release of the court’s draft opinion, authored by Alito, sparked protests from abortion rights supporters, who were outraged and feared the decision’s impact on patients and providers as 22 States are preparing to restrict abortions or outright ban them.
The leaked opinion marked a major victory for conservatives and anti-abortion advocates who had worked for decades to undermine Roe and Casey, whom the majority of Americans support keeping in place.
But Republican lawmakers in Washington, hoping to win big in November’s midterm elections, initially focused more on the leak itself than what it revealed. They also denounced protests that have formed outside the homes of some conservative judges, accusing the activists of trying to intimidate the court.
The unprecedented leak of Alito’s draft notice blew a hole in the cloak of secrecy that normally shrouds the court’s internal affairs. It drew scrutiny from the court’s critics, many of whom were already concerned about the politicization of the country’s most powerful law-making body, where judges are appointed for life.
Roberts vowed that the court’s work “will not be affected in any way” by the leak, which he described as a “betrayal” intended to “undermine the integrity of our operations”.
The leak had clearly had an impact, however. High fences were then erected around the court building, and Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the US Marshals Service to “help ensure the safety of the judges”.
Alito, in his first reported remarks since the leak, spoke remotely from the courthouse to a crowd attending a forum at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, rather than driving from six miles to school. The Washington Post reported that, when asked during the event how he and the other judges were holding up, Alito replied, “That’s something I thought I wasn’t going to talk about today. today regarding, you know, given all the circumstances.”
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