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U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

By Hillary Essien | Jun 24, 2022

The United States Supreme Court has overturned the landmark reproductive rights case Roe v Wade. 

"Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion."

On Friday, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion that tossed out the case. Mr Alito was joined by the five other conservatives on the high court, including Chief Justice John Roberts.

"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 opinion said.

Other judges supporting the Alito opinion include Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by the first President Bush, and the three Trump appointees — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

The case was met with a 6-3 decision, with the court's three liberal justices filing a dissenting opinion to the ruling.

"Today's Court, that is, does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman's control of her body and the path of her life," said the dissent by Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. "A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs."

Protests quickly broke out at the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The court's controversial ruling gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws, in spite of existing laws which permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

The decision has been widely anticipated after a draft of the ruling was exclusively reported by Politico in May. Following the leak, Oklahoma passed a near-total ban on all abortions, starting “at fertilization.” pending the signature of Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, it would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the U.S.

President Joe Biden had urged Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, saying a woman’s right to have an abortion is “fundamental.”

“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mr Biden said in May.

Privacy groups raised alarm over data collection from reproductive care facilities, phones or other devices. Efforts have been made to limit the sale of this data in advance of the ruling, including a bill introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren in June.