A federal constitutional right to an abortion was abolished by the Supreme Court on Friday, overturns Roe v. Wade. For decades, it has been the most significant Supreme Court ruling on women’s reproductive health in America. Abortion rights will be decided by the states in the future unless Congress intervenes.
Nearly half of the states have already passed or plan to adopt legislation banning abortion, while the remaining states have severe regulations in place.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “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.”
Roe was overturned by a 5-4 margin. In a joint dissenting opinion, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan heavily criticized the majority, closing: “With sorrow for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection we dissent.”
There have been decades of efforts by anti-abortion advocates to give the states more control over the issue. Three of Donald Trump’s candidates were part of a robust six-member conservative majority that made it feasible. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for women’s reproductive rights, at least 21 states already have laws or constitutional changes in place that would make it certain that they would try to ban abortion as swiftly as possible. In addition, four additional states are expected to outlaw abortions as soon as federal protections are removed.
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Unlike the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a concurring opinion in which he stated that he would not overturn Roe but would instead uphold Mississippi’s legislation prohibiting abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Biden: Ruling Casts a ‘Dark Shadow’
After the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, President Joe Biden stated on Friday that “the health and life of women in this nation are now in jeopardy.” Joe Biden, addressing from the White House, said it was a sad day for the court and for the country. He called on Congress to codify abortion rights, which is unlikely given the split in the Senate’s legislative majority.
“Today’s decision to upend the balances of justice and abolish a basic right for women in this society was made by three justices appointed by one president, Donald Trump. It’s clear that this decision is the conclusion of a long-term attempt to destabilize our legal system “Biden made the comment.
According to him, the decision is “a grave error of the Supreme Court” and “the realization of a radical ideology.”
“This is the first time the Supreme Court has gone so far as to openly take away a fundamental constitutional right recognized by many Americans. Court’s decision to do so has immediate and substantial effects “he stated.
Political Response Is Swift
It was “such an insult, a smack in the face to women,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. This is not a good morning, so there’s no use in saying anything. As of this morning, the radical Supreme Court is eviscerating women’s rights and harming their physical and mental well-being.’ A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions has been overturned by the Republican-controlled courts today.
Former President Barack Obama criticized the decision, saying the high court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent but it “relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues — attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence applauded the decision, calling it a “fresh beginning for life” for the American people and praising the judges who voted in favor of the majority for “having the bravery of their convictions.”
As a result of Roe v. Wade being overturned, “a new arena in the cause of life has opened up,” Pence said. “It is incumbent on all who cherish the sanctity of life to resolve that we will take the defense of the unborn and the support for women in crisis pregnancy centers to every state in America,” he said. While voting to approve Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins expressed her displeasure with the choice. “Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh both stressed throughout their hearing and talks with me the necessity of upholding longstanding precedents on which this country has long relied. Their decision now contradicts that.
Abortion Is Illegal in Some States Because of “Trigger Bans”
Abortion bans can now be implemented, according to state officials in at least seven states. Three states, Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Dakota, have “trigger bans” that went into effect as soon as the Supreme Court made its decision. Some 10 additional states have implemented trigger restrictions that take effect after a defined period or when a state government agency takes action.
According to state Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday, Missouri has already fulfilled its obligation to enforce its anti-abortion bill and has taken the step of certification needed by law. It’s likely that state legislatures will soon be called back into session in other parts of the country to pass strict abortion laws that would have been against Roe.
Similar to Leaked Draft
A draft written by Alito earlier this year was remarkably close to the final conclusion. It repeats his contemptuous rhetoric towards the original Roe v. Wade decision, which enshrined the right to an abortion in the Constitution. When arguing that Roe was distinct from prior precedents, Alito cited a number of other cases in support of the right to privacy.
According to both Roe and Casey, aborting a fetus is a violation of what those judgments term “potential life” and what the law at issue, in this case, refers to as “the life of an unborn human being,” which is what distinguishes the abortion right from the other rights established in those instances. As Alito put it, in a line that appeared in the original text as well.
The three liberal justices collaborated on Alito’s response to the dissent. There would have been no time for criticism to be drafted before the leaked document made its rounds in the courtroom. Disagreement admits that it is unable to establish that the right to abortion is based on a constitutional foundation, let alone one that is “deeply anchored” in the “history and tradition” of our country. Alito penned a letter. As stated by the dissent, “There is no pre-Roe authority that supports this privilege — not even a state constitutional provision or statute, federal or state judicial precedent, or even a scholarly treatise.’
This inability to “deal with this historical tradition” is Alito’s most damaging criticism of the dissent in that four-page section.
Dissent Points to the Potential Impact on Women
Dissenters claimed that women’s rights were under threat. This judgment will undoubtedly lead to a reduction of women’s rights and their standing as free and equal citizens, regardless of the exact scope of the ensuing laws. The dissent stated Friday’s judgment “states that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to talk about.”
It’s possible for a state to force a pregnant woman to give birth to a child in a wide range of circumstances, the liberal justices said. Poor women will now have to travel further to receive this surgery, according to the dissent. “Above all others, women lacking financial resources will suffer from today’s decision.” It also attacked Justice Brett Kavanaugh for stating that the judgment simply returns the abortion matter to the states, a point on which he strongly disagreed.
“As the three liberal Justices stated, ” “Because of this, the federal government can continue to ban abortions across the country, this time starting at conception and making no exception for rape or incest. If that happens,” they explained, throwing Kavanaugh’s words back at him, “‘the views of [an individual State’s] citizens’ will not matter. The challenge for a woman will be to finance a trip not to ‘New York [or] California’ but to Toronto.”
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Challenge Brought by Mississippi
Advocated by pro-choice proponents and derided by opponents for decades, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability, which the majority of experts estimate to be between 23 and 24 weeks during a pregnant woman’s gestation. The decision was reaffirmed in 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that judgment, a majority of the court substituted Roe’s framework with new criteria to examine the constitutionality of laws prohibiting abortions. According to the court, an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion is defined as a “significant obstacle” that prevents her from having an abortion before her pregnancy becomes viable.
Only in “medical emergencies or for serious fetal deformity,” Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, passed in 2018 but blocked by two federal courts, allowed abortions after 15 weeks “with no exception for rape or incest,” the court heard. At 23-24 weeks of pregnancy, viability is considered to have occurred, and a district court ruled the law unconstitutional since it violates Supreme Court precedent.
Supreme Court abortion cases have established (and confirmed and confirmed) the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability in an “unbroken line stretching back to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade,” a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel concurred with the district court. Abortion can be “regulated before to viability” if states do not restrict it, the Supreme Court said. The court ruled that “the law at issue is a ban.
When the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mississippi’s appeal, the state increased the stakes, arguing that the justices should invalidate Roe and Casey as well as the legislation. During the oral arguments, Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart was direct.
As Stewart put it, “Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey haunt our country.” “They are unconstitutional and have no validity in law. They don’t fit in with our culture or history. As a result, democracy has suffered. They taint the rule of law. They’ve effectively stifled the possibility of compromise. This court has been at the core of a political war for 50 years, and they are the only ones standing. This court is the only one that recognizes the right to end human life as a legitimate one.”
The Biden administration’s solicitor general, Elizabeth Prelogar, spoke in favor of the clinics. Women who have come to rely on the decision encouraged the judges to uphold precedent and avoid making an unjust decisions.
“For a half-century, this Court has correctly recognized that the Constitution protects a woman’s fundamental right to decide whether to end a pregnancy before viability,” she argued. “That guarantee, that the state cannot force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth, has engendered substantial individual and societal reliance. Overruling Roe and Casey would have significant and immediate consequences in the real world.”
She continued, saying: “For the first time in American history, the Supreme Court has removed a basic constitutional right that affects so many people. Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s lawyer, Julie Rikelman, and medical director Sacheen Carr-Ellis argued that Mississippi’s prohibition on abortion “two months before viability” is “flatly unconstitutional” given “decades of precedent” before the Supreme Court.
Public Opposed Overturning Roe
Polls taken before the Supreme Court’s decision demonstrate that a large majority of Americans did not want Roe vs. Wade overturned. A poll taken immediately following the disclosure of the draft opinion found that 66% of Americans opposed the Supreme Court overturning its decision. Overturning Roe has never been supported by more than 36% of the public in polls dating back to 1989.
When asked whether Roe would be repealed, 58% of respondents in the United States stated they preferred more permissive rather than more restrictive abortion regulations. Half of those surveyed (51%) said they wanted their state to become a safe haven for women who wanted to have abortions but couldn’t because of their location.
However, not everyone was forewarned of the impact on their own state. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in May, only 45% of Americans who live in places with automatic bans on abortion following Roe v. Wade were aware that this was the case. Moreover, half of the respondents polled in those states were unsure what the ruling would mean for their communities. Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily