Supreme Court justices have issued their decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade. The high court has decided that a 2018 Mississippi state law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy is constitutional.
The ruling now allows states to ban abortions. The ruling is expected to lead to bans in about half of the states in the country, The Associated Press reported.
You can read the complete opinion below or on Scribd.
As expected, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion. With Justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts writing concurring opinions, starting on page 117 in the embedded document above. Justice Amy Coney Barrett agreed with the decision, according to the decision, as indicated on page 8 of the embedded document above. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote the dissenting opinion, starting on page 148 in the embedded document above.
Issued in 1973, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade overturned a Texas state law that banned most abortions under the premise that such bans were unconstitutional.
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The ruling will revert decisions on whether to legalize abortions back to the states. In 13 states, so-called “trigger laws” have been passed, which will automatically make abortion illegal with the overturning of Roe v. Wade: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
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The ruling comes weeks after a draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion was leaked and published by Politico. The draft opinion prompted protests and led to at least one threat to one of the court’s justices.
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The court voted in February to overturn Roe v. Wade on the basis that the case had been wrongly decided in 1973, pointing to the fact that abortion rights are not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, according to the draft opinion. The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by a Mississippi doctor seeking to overturn a 2018 law that prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks.
The AP reported on Friday that a majority of Americans had supported preserving Roe v. Wade. Polls conducted by the AP and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, along with other polling, have found that about 1 in 10 Americans want abortions to be illegal in all cases. A majority of those polled are in favor of abortion being legal in all or most circumstances, but some do support restrictions in some cases, especially later in pregnancy, the AP reported.
But Alito, writing in the opinion, said that previous cases — Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in 1992, which reaffirmed the right to abortion — were wrong when they were decided and had to be overturned, the AP reported.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote.
In the dissenting opinion, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan wrote: “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” the AP reported.
After the decision was made public, President Joe Biden addressed the nation saying he vows to “do all in my power” to protect a woman’s rights, the AP reported. He also said that the decision could undermine contraception and gay marriage, calling it “an extreme and dangerous path.”
Former President Donald Trump, whose appointment of three conservative justices facilitated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, lauded the decision, saying, “This is following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago ... This brings everything back to the states where it has always belonged,” Reuters reported.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. called the ruling outrageous and heart-wrenching” saying it fulfilled Republicans’ “goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” the AP reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. called the court’s decision as “courageous and correct,” Reuters reported. “This is an historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society.”
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