The Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade in seismic change for abortion rights

Washington— The Supreme Court on Friday reversed its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade who established the right to abortion, with a ruling that marks a seismic shift in abortion law and will usher in new rules limiting or prohibiting access to the procedure in half the states, in some places immediately .

The decision to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent will have far-reaching ramifications for tens of millions of women across the country as abortion rights are curtailed, especially in GOP-led states in the South and the Midwest, and will lead to a patchwork of laws in the absence of the constitution. protection. Thirteen states have what is called “triggering laws” on the books, in which abortion will soon be outlawed in most cases with Roe overruled.

The ruling came in a case involving a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and the court overturned the ruling of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which had blocked the measure.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the court’s opinion and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts issued a concurring opinion, writing that while he agrees that the viability line established under Roe should be abandoned and Mississippi law upheld, Roe and Casey should be left untouched. The court’s three liberal justices dissented.

“Roe was blatantly wrong from the start. His reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had dire consequences. And far from achieving a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey inflamed the debate and deepen the division,” Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “It is time to respect the Constitution and return the question of abortion to the elected representatives of the people.”

In a dissenting opinion written by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the court’s liberal bloc said, “With sadness — for this court, but more so, for the many millions of American women who today lost fundamental constitutional protection — we challenge.”

“Regardless of 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,” they wrote. “Yesterday the Constitution guaranteed that a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy could (within reason) make her own decision as to whether to have a child, with all the life-altering consequences that entails. And safeguarding thus the reproductive freedom of every woman, the Constitution also protected ‘[t]has the ability of women to participate on an equal footing [this Nation’s] economic and social life. But not anymore.”

The three liberal justices warned that the decision to overturn Roe and Casey will have consequences beyond the court’s abortion precedents, jeopardizing other landmark decisions.

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

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Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court ended constitutional abortion protections that had been in place for nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to strike down the Court landmark abortion cases.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

President Biden condemned the decision, calling it “a sad day for the court and the country.”

“The court did what it has never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans who had already been recognized,” he said in remarks from the House. Blanche, adding, “With Roe gone, let’s be very clear: the health and lives of women in this country are now at risk.”

The president stressed that it is now up to Congress and voters to protect access to abortion by passing legislation and electing lawmakers who will support it. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” he said. He also promised that his administration would take all possible measures to protect access.

“This decision should not be the last word. You can have the last word,” Biden said. “It is not finished.”

Protesters took to the streets outside the Supreme Court – which for weeks has been surrounded by an unscalable fence – in anticipation of the ruling, and the decision brought both celebratory cheers and tears of mourning to the protesters. Joining the protesters outside the Supreme Court were House lawmakers and members of its Pro-Choice caucus, who marched to the court and chanted, “We trust women, we’re not going back!”

“At the polls in November, we’re going to elect politicians who make sure every woman in this country has the same ability whether she lives in California, Colorado, Texas or Oklahoma. We’re not going back there,” said Rep. Diana. DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said.

Mr Biden urged those protesting the court’s overturning of his abortion precedents to remain peaceful.

“Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speeches,” he said. “We must oppose violence in all its forms, whatever your reason for being.”

The court’s decision appears to closely reflect a draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that was leaked and published in May, suggesting the Supreme Court had voted to strike down Roe and Casey. The disclosure of the draft notice, circulated among the justices in February, was an unprecedented leak from an institution that, unlike the rest of Washington, is known for being virtually airtight, and Roberts ordered an investigation in the source, which remains unknown.

Although the Supreme Court confirmed that the draft opinion was authentic, it said the document did not “represent a decision of the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case”.

With Roe’s reversal and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, who reaffirmed Roe’s central position and said that states cannot enact restrictions that place an undue burden on the right to abortion before viability, about 26 states are likely or will restrict abortion with the Supreme Court’s decision, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization. In anticipation of the decision, governors of Republican-led states, including Oklahoma and Florida, have signed new limits into law.

The decision marks a long-awaited victory for abortion advocates, who since the Supreme Court first legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 have mounted a relentless campaign to overthrow Roe, marked with an annual march in Washington organized around the anniversary of the decision. decision.

Prior to its decision in the Mississippi case, the court’s most recent decision involved an abortion restriction in Louisiana, and the court split 5-4 – Roberts joined the four liberal members – in tear down the measurement. But months after this June 2020 decision, the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg diesthe anchor of the court’s liberal wing, created a vacancy for former President Donald Trump to fill, marking his third Supreme Court nomination and a nomination that will prove crucial to the outcome of the Mississippi case.

Confirmation of Barrette Days before the 2020 presidential election, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority was broadened and laid the groundwork for Friday’s decision. It was months after Barrett joined the court that the judges agreed to hear the Mississippi dispute, a turning point in the anti-abortion movement.

The Mississippi law at the heart of the legal fight was signed into law by the GOP-led legislature in 2018 and banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A federal district court quickly blocked enforcement of the ban after the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic, claimed it violated Roe and Casey.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization serves approximately 3,000 women annually and provides abortion services up to 16 weeks gestation. About 100 patients a year get an abortion after 15 weeks, the clinic’s lawyers told the court.

The 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal district court’s decision, and Mississippi officials asked the Supreme Court to intervene. It was after the judges agreed to hear the court fight that the state sought the annulment of Roe and Casey, raise the stakes in an already resounding dispute.

Abortion rights supporters have warned that a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe could lead to laws that vary from state to state and make access to abortion dependent on where a person lives. Republican-led states have already passed bills restricting abortion or are set to do so as a result of the ruling, while Democratic-led states have taken steps to preserve access to abortion, either by codifying the law or by authorizing abortions before fetal viability.

Nationally, the White House and Democrats in Congress have pushed for the passage of legislation enshrining the right to abortion in federal law. The release of the draft notice reignited efforts on Capitol Hill to pass the measure, called the Women’s Health Protection Act, which had passed the House but twice failed to pass the threshold of 60 votes for the legislation to progress in the Senate, most recently in mid-May.

Democrats also hope the Supreme Court ruling will spur voters to the polls in November’s midterm elections as they strive to retain control of Congress. In May, Mr Biden said a Roe reversal shifted the responsibility to elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion and urged voters to elect human rights leaders to abortion in November. Larger majorities in the House and Senate, he said, would allow legislation codifying Roe to pass.

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