U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion

  • Ruling allows US states to ban abortion
  • Decision of the power of conservative judges; the dissenting liberals
  • Biden condemns decision as ‘sad day’ for America
  • Judge Alito calls Roe v. Wade from “grossly wrong”

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion, a move condemned by President Joe Biden that will dramatically change the lives of millions of women in America and exacerbate growing tensions in a deeply polarized country.

The court, in a 6-3 ruling by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5–4 to overthrow Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of completely erasing the Roe precedent.

The repercussions of the decision will be felt far beyond the high-security confines of the court – potentially reshaping the battlefield in the November election over whether Biden’s fellow Democrats retain control of Congress and signaling a new opening of the judges to modify other long-standing rights.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The decision will also intensify debate over the legitimacy of the court, once an unassailable cornerstone of the US democratic system but increasingly under scrutiny for its more aggressive conservative rulings on a range of issues.

The ruling restored states’ ability to ban abortion. Twenty-six states are certain or considered likely to ban abortion. Mississippi is among 13 states with so-called trigger laws to ban abortion with Roe overturned. (For related graphic, click https://tmsnrt.rs/3Njv3Cw)

In a concurring opinion that raised fears judges could roll back other rights, Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to reconsider previous rulings protecting the right to contraception, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide and invalidating state laws prohibiting same-sex sexual relations.

The judges, in the decision written by conservative judge Samuel Alito, found that the Roe decision which allowed abortions performed before a fetus would be viable outside the womb – which occurs between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy – had wrongly decided because the US Constitution makes no specific mention of the right to abortion.

Women with unwanted pregnancies in large swathes of America can now have the choice of traveling to another state where the procedure remains legal and available, buying abortion pills online, or having an illegal abortion. potentially dangerous.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, appeared to reject an idea championed by some anti-abortion advocates that the next step is for the court to declare that the Constitution prohibits abortion. “The Constitution does not prohibit abortion or legalize abortion,” Kavanaugh wrote.

Kavanaugh also said the ruling does not allow states to bar residents from traveling to another state to have abortions, or to retroactively punish people for prior abortions.


Biden condemned the decision as taking an “extreme and dangerous path.”

“It’s a sad day for the court and for the country,” Biden said at the White House. “The court did what it had never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans.”

Allowing states to ban abortion makes the United States an exception among developed countries when it comes to protecting reproductive rights, the Democratic president added.

Biden has urged Congress to pass legislation protecting the right to abortion, an unlikely proposition given his partisan divisions. Biden said his administration will protect women’s access to U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, including birth control and medical abortion pills, while fighting efforts to prevent women from travel to other states to have an abortion.

Britain, France and some other nations called the decision a step backwards, although the Vatican welcomed it, saying it invited the world to reflect on life’s issues. Read more

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was “a loss for women everywhere”. “Watching the removal of a woman’s fundamental right to make decisions about her own body is incredibly upsetting,” she said in a statement.

American companies including Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), AT&T and Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), said they would cover employees’ expenses if they now had to travel for abortion services. Read more


A draft version of Alito’s decision indicating the court was ready to overturn Roe was leaked in May, sparking a political firestorm. Friday’s ruling largely followed that leaked draft.

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by constitutional provision,” Alito wrote in the ruling.

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

“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 added.

The court’s three liberal justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – issued a jointly written dissent.

“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.

Following Friday’s ruling, “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights per se. A state can force her to carry a pregnancy to term, even at the greatest personal and family cost.” high,” the liberal justices added. .

The ruling allowed states to ban abortion just a day after the court’s conservative majority issued another ruling limiting states’ ability to impose gun restrictions. Read more

The abortion and gun rulings illustrated the polarization in America over a range of issues, including race and suffrage.

Unseating Roe has long been a goal of Christian conservatives and many elected Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, who as a candidate in 2016 promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would unseat Roe. During his tenure, he appointed three to the bench, all of whom joined the majority in the decision.

When asked in a Fox News interview if he deserved some credit for the decision, Trump said, “God made the decision.”

Crowds gathered outside the courthouse, surrounded by a high security fence. Anti-abortion activists erupted in joy after the ruling, while some abortion-rights supporters were in tears.

“I’m thrilled,” said Emma Craig, 36, of Pro Life San Francisco. “Abortion is the greatest tragedy of our generation and in 50 years we will look back with shame on the 50 years under Roe v. Wade.”

Hours later, protesters angered by the decision still gathered outside the courthouse, as did crowds in cities from coast to coast, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, denounced the decision, saying a “Republican-controlled Supreme Court” had achieved “this party’s dark and extreme goal of depriving women of the right to make their own decisions about reproductive health”.

The number of abortions in the United States rose 8% in the three years ending in 2020, reversing a 30-year downward trend, according to data released June 15 by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group who supports abortion rights. Read more

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Katanga Johnson and Rose Horowitch; Written by Lawrence Hurley and Ross Colvin; Editing by Will Dunham, Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis and Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: