After a leaked document revealed the inevitable, the Supreme Court on Friday offcially struck down the federally protected right to abortion, reports the Washington Post. In a landmark reversal, the highest court in the land overturned a precedent that was established nearly 50 years ago in Roe vs. Wade.
The majority conservative court voted 6 to 3 to uphold a 2018 law passed by Mississippi’s Republican-controlled Legislature that banned abortions after 15 weeks.
About half the states have already indicated they would ban all abortions.
According to legal experts, the decision to overturn Roe is one of the few times the Supreme Court has ever “invalidated an earlier decision that declared a constitutional right.” Also, the ruling marks one of the few instances that the court took away a right that was publically supported.
Justice Samuel Alito Jr. wrote that the court’s decision on Roe “sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half-century.”
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” wrote Alito.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who will be replaced by Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson, along with fellow liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in their dissent said, “the decision was devastating for women.”
“It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” they wrote in a joint dissent. “A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs. An abortion restriction, the majority holds, is permissible whenever rational, the lowest level of scrutiny known to the law.”
President Joe Biden said that the ruling was "a tragic error by the Supreme Court" that had put women's health and lives "at risk."
Former President Barack Obama called the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ruling “devastating,” although not surprising because the draft leaked months ago.
“Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans,” tweeted Obama.
“Across the country, states have already passed bills restricting choice,” he continued. “If you're looking for ways to respond, @PPFA, @USOWomen, and many other groups have been sounding the alarm on this issue for years—and will continue to be on the front lines of this fight.”
The ruling comes from one of the most conservative that the country has seen in decades, in which former President Donald Trump nominated three justices.
Friday’s decision is a significant victory for the evangelicals and the conservative legal fight which touted the reversal of Roe as their highest political priority.