© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Police officers walk outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2022.REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized women’s constitutional right to an abortion, a decision condemned by President Joe Biden that would Dramatically changing the lives of millions of women in the United States and fueling rising tensions in a deeply polarized country.
The court, in a 6-3 ruling with its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4 to overturn the Roe case, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separate letters saying he would uphold the Mississippi law without taking additional steps to completely remove the Roe precedent.
The ruling’s ramifications will extend well beyond the high security of the courts — potentially reshaping the battlefield in November’s election to determine whether Biden’s Democratic colleagues retain control of Congress and signal the justices’ commitment to change. New openness to other long-recognized rights.
The decision will also intensify the debate over the legitimacy of courts, once the unassailable cornerstone of American democracy but increasingly under scrutiny for its more radical conservative decisions on a range of issues.
The ruling restored states’ ability to ban abortions. Twenty-six states have determined or are considered likely to ban abortion. Mississippi is one of 13 states that have so-called trigger laws that prohibit abortions if Roe is overturned. (For related pictures and texts, please click https://tmsnrt.rs/3Njv3Cw)
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas raised concerns that judges could overturn other rights in a unanimous opinion, urging courts to reconsider past protections for contraceptive rights, legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and make Ruling that state law prohibiting same-sex sexual activity is invalid.
In a ruling written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the justices found that Roe’s decision to allow an abortion before the fetus was feasible outside the womb — which occurred between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy — It was the wrong decision because the U.S. Constitution does not specifically mention the right to abortion.
Women with unwanted pregnancies in large swathes of the U.S. may now face the choice of traveling to another state where the procedure is still legal and available, buying abortion pills online or having a potentially dangerous illegal abortion.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed, seemingly rejecting the idea that the next step raised by some anti-abortion advocates is for courts to declare a constitutional ban on abortion. “The Constitution neither prohibits nor legalizes abortion,” Kavanaugh wrote.
Kavanaugh also said the ruling does not allow states to bar residents from traveling to another state for an abortion, or to retroactively punish people who had previous abortions.
Biden denounced the ruling as taking an “extreme and dangerous path.”
“This is a sad day for the court and for the country,” Biden said at the White House. “The court has done what it has never done before: explicitly stripped away the constitutional rights so vital to so many Americans. .”
The Democratic president added that empowering states to ban abortion makes the U.S. an outlier among developed nations in protecting reproductive rights.
Biden is urging Congress to pass a law protecting abortion rights, an unlikely proposal given his partisan divide. Biden said his administration would protect women’s access to FDA-approved drugs, including birth control pills and medicated abortions, while cracking down on efforts to limit women’s travel to other states for abortions.
Britain, France and some other countries called the ruling a step backwards, although the Vatican praised it, saying it challenged the world to reflect on life’s problems.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was “a loss for women everywhere”. “It is incredibly upsetting to see women stripped of their fundamental rights to make decisions about their own bodies,” she said in a statement.
U.S. companies including The Walt Disney Co., AT&T (N: ) and Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook (NASDAQ: ), said they would pay employees if they now had to travel for abortion services.
Alito’s draft ruling, which was leaked in May, sparking a political storm, showed the court was ready to overturn Roe. Friday’s ruling largely tracks the leaked draft.
“The Constitution does not mention abortion, and no constitutional provision implicitly protects that right,” Alito wrote in the ruling.
Roe v. Wade recognizes that the constitutional right to privacy protects a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy. In a 1992 decision called Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to abortion and barred the law from imposing an “undue burden” on access to abortion. Friday’s ruling also overturned Casey’s decision.
“Roy was horribly wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had devastating consequences. Far from contributing to a national abortion resolution, Roy and Casey fueled debate and deepened Divergent,” Alito added.
The court’s three liberal justices — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — issued a co-authored dissent.
“Regardless of the exact scope of the upcoming law, one outcome of today’s decision is certain: to deny women their rights and their status as free and equal citizens,” they wrote.
As a result of Friday’s ruling, “from the moment of fertilization, a woman has no right to speak. A state can force her to become pregnant, even at the greatest personal and family cost,” the liberal judge added.
The ruling, which authorizes states to ban abortion, comes a day after the court’s conservative majority issued another decision limiting the ability of states to enforce gun restrictions.
Abortion and gun rulings illustrate how polarized America is on a range of issues, including race and voting rights.
Overthrowing Roe has long been the goal of Christian conservatives and many Republican public officials, including former President Donald Trump, who in 2016 promised a Supreme Court justice to overthrow Roe. During his tenure, he appointed three people to the bench, all of whom joined the majority ruling.
Asked in an interview with Fox News whether his ruling deserved credit, Trump said: “God made this decision.”
The crowd gathered outside the courthouse, surrounded by a high security fence. Cheers erupted from anti-abortion activists after the ruling, while some abortion rights supporters burst into tears.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Emma Craig, 36, of Pro Life in San Francisco. “Abortion is the greatest tragedy of our generation, and 50 years from now, we will look back with shame on 50 years of Roe v. Wade.”
Hours later, protesters outraged by the decision were still gathering outside the courtroom, as were crowds in cities from coast to coast, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, condemned the decision, saying the “Republican-controlled Supreme Court” had achieved the party’s “dark and extreme goal of denying women the right to make their own reproductive health decisions.” .
According to data https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/06/long-term-, the number of abortions in the United States increased by 8% in the three years to 2020, reversing a 30-year trend of declining numbers. The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, issued June 15 Rejection of Abortion in America – Reverse Shows – Rising – Need for Abortion – Supreme Court.