By Laurel Duggan and Harold Hutchison
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision Friday, sending the authority to regulate and restrict abortions back to the states.
The majority of justices upheld Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit at stake in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case which directly challenged Roe’s ban on most abortion restrictions before fetal viability. Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic filed a lawsuit against the state’s chief health officer, Thomas Dobbs, alleging the restriction was unconstutional.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the court wrote in its opinion.
Justice Samuel Alito authored the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
The Roe precedent made abortions legal nationwide until fetal viability, or the point at which a child is able to survive outside the womb, which is generally determined to occur at around 24 weeks’ gestation. States can now restrict abortions at any point in pregnancy.
A draft version of the majority opinion was leaked to Politico and published May 3, revealing that the majority of justices had agreed to overturn Roe in a non-binding vote after oral arguments in December.
Following the release of the draft decision, pro-life organizations and crisis pregancy centers were attacked by pro-abortion activists, with some buildings being firebombed by Molotov cocktails. Pro-abortion protesters also picketed outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices, and a man was arrested for attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
‘Horrifying Decision’: Democrats in shambles after Supreme Court strikes down abortion rights
Democrats and liberals sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Friday.
The ruling authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito tracked the draft leaked in May, and found the Constitution did not guarantee a right to abortion, returning the power to restrict abortions to the states. The leak prompted protests in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices and attacks on pro-life groups, crisis pregnancy centers and churches.
“The Court’s decision has destroyed nearly fifty years of precedent and will allow the criminalization of the right to this essential healthcare,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts said.
Thirteen states stand poised to enforce radical and unjust bans on abortion. The Court’s decision has destroyed nearly fifty years of precedent and will allow the criminalization of the right to this essential healthcare.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) June 24, 2022
“Horrifying decision by the Federalist Society justices actually undoing a constitutional right women have relied on for decades,” Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island tweeted.
Horrifying decision by the Federalist Society justices actually undoing a constitutional right women have relied on for decades.
They prefer state legislatures making these intimate decisions for women. I trust women to make the decisions.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) June 24, 2022
“A woman’s fundamental health decisions are her own to make in consultation with her doctor, her faith, her family, not some right-wing politicians that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell pack the court with,” she said during her press conference.
“I am furious that right-wing extremists and Republican Senators have warped the Supreme Court into a partisan political body that does not respect decades of precedent or the fundamental freedoms of millions of Americans,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington posted on Twitter.
The Supreme Court has now mandated forced pregnancy, taking away an intensely personal freedom for pregnant people to make decisions about our own bodies with a doctor or loved one. Every woman, every family, every pregnant person should fear what this means for their futures.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) June 24, 2022
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the decision on social media.
“American women are having their rights taken by 5 unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court,” Schumer tweeted. “These justices—appointed by Republicans and presiding without accountability—have stolen the fundamental right to abortion.”
Today is one of the darkest days our country has ever seen
American women are having their rights taken by 5 unelected Justices on the extremist MAGA court
These justices—appointed by Republicans and presiding without accountability—have stolen the fundamental right to abortion
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 24, 2022
Republicans celebrated the decision in social media and in statements.
“Our prayers were answers at the Supreme Court today!” Republican Rep. Marjorie Tylor Greene of Georgia posted on Twitter.
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia praised the decision in a statement.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states,” he said, noting that he asked state legislators to “find areas we can agree and chart the most successful path forward.”
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