The Supreme Court is officially down Roe v. Wade†
In a shocking reversal of nearly 50 years of legal precedent, the conservative majority in the nation’s Supreme Court took a sledgehammer for reproductive rights in the United States, ending federal protections for abortion by a 6-3 vote, paving the way for states to ban the law The procedure. Conservatives John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted to overthrow roe† Liberals Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer were joined in the dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The Constitution does not grant the right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote in the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson†
Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan disagreed with the view, writing that so far the “court has struck a balance” between “values and goals” to protect a woman’s life or health. “Today the Court rejects that balance. It says that from the moment of conception a woman has no right to speak about it,” the judges wrote. “A state can force her to conceive even at the highest personal and family cost. An abortion restriction, the majority believes, is allowed when it is rational, the lowest level of control known to the law. And because As the Court has often stated that protecting the life of the fetus is rational, states will feel free to impose all kinds of restrictions.”
Americans had braced themselves for the decision since a draft of Alito’s opinion was leaked to Politics earlier this month, sparking widespread outrage, as well as protests outside the Supreme Court and in cities across the country.
Democrats have rejected the expected decision, though they have been unable to do anything about it. Their Attempted Codification roeFederal law protections failed in the evenly divided Senate, with conservative Democrat Joe Manchin partnered with Republicans to bring down the Women’s Health Protection Act. “Americans saw the stark contrast between Democrats fighting to protect women’s rights and MAGA Republicans pushing to send mothers and doctors to jail and introduce abortion bans,” the Senate majority leader said. Chuck Schumer wrote after that legislative defeat. “This vote was just one step. We will keep fighting.”
How they will do that, however, is uncertain. At the state level, Democratic leaders pledge to continue to protect reproductive rights by enacting legislation and enshrining access to abortion in state constitutions. But at the national level, the options seem limited. The White House has been exploring some solutions, including using Medicaid to fund travel to states where abortion is legal. Democrats could also pass reproductive rights legislation in the future, if they expand their majority enough to overcome the filibuster. But currently, the party is expected to lose House and Senate seats — not to win them — in the November midterms.
If that happens, it could get worse; Minority Leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell said last week, after Alito’s draft was leaked, Republicans could ban abortion nationwide if they took control of Washington. “Yes, it is possible,” he said. But the most likely scenario, at least for the foreseeable future, is the one that will play out in the immediate aftermath of the conservative ruling: a country where access to abortion is a matter of geography.
Nearly half of the country will take immediate action to restrict or ban the procedure. Twenty-three states — including Mississippi, the state at the center of the Supreme Court’s precedent-shattering case — have trigger bans designed to take effect once roe has ended. Nine states still have pre-roe anti-abortion laws on their books that could be strengthened again in the wake of Monday’s ruling; one, in Wisconsin, dates back to 1849 and makes abortion a crime.
In addition to the immediate consequences for reproductive rights and health care in America, the decision – a stunning victory for the anti-abortion movement that has fought relentlessly for roe since the decision in 1973 – raises questions about the safety of other established laws, including the right to same-sex marriage. It has also intensified calls for Supreme Court reforms, the majority of which were solidified by a president who lost the popular vote, Donald Trump, who appointed Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett in bitterly partisan proceedings.