Last Updated on June 25, 2022 by BVN
Breanna Reeves |
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, abolishing the constitutional right to an abortion after nearly 50 years since the landmark decision that protected federal abortion rights was passed in 1973.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decision has now left abortion rights up to individual states, with nearly half of states expected to outlaw or seriously restrict abortion following the court’s decision. In May, Politico published a leaked draft opinion that echoed the court’s decision to give individual state’s the power to establish abortion laws.
Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion in which he argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights because it isn’t referenced.
“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, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a 1992 landmark decision regarding abortion that upheld the ruling in Roe v. Wade and affirmed the right to a legal abortion.
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions,” Justice Alito wrote.
Those who dissented
In a dissenting opinion, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan warned against the impact the ruling will have on state laws and women. The opinion noted, “Across a vast array of circumstances, a state will be able to impose its moral choice on a woman and coerce her to give birth to a child.”
“Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that in the first stages of pregnancy, the government could not make that choice for women. The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be,” the dissenting opinion stated.
Human rights and health rights advocates condemned the court’s ruling and emphasized that this decision will not eliminate the need for abortion, but will only make access for those in need more difficult and challenging to receive care.
“The wealthy and privileged will always be able to access abortion – it is people with low-incomes, Black, Indigenous and other people of color, people in rural areas, and other people who face structural barriers to care who will be disproportionately harmed by today’s decision,” Elizabeth Taylor, Executive Director at the National Health Law Program, said in a statement.
The decision to overturn abortion rights in the U.S. comes at a time where there are baby formula shortages and growing conversations around disproportionate rates of maternal mortality among Black women and birthing people.
Abortion rights in the Golden State
While states like Texas and Oklahoma have already outlawed abortion with bans in place before the court’s decision, other states, like California, are working to solidify abortion protections.
“I want to be crystal clear: abortion remains legal here in California and we are working to ensure that people—regardless of where they come from—can access abortion services with as much support and as few barriers as possible,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, in a statement. “To people across the country living in a state hostile to abortion: California is here for you. We will not turn people away, and we will find a way to support you so that you can get the care you need.”
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington released a “Multi-State Commitment” to protect access to reproductive health care and protect patients and doctors against other states who may seek to “export their abortion bans to our states.”
“The Supreme Court has made it clear – they want to strip women of their liberty and let Republican states replace it with mandated birth because the right to choose an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history’. They want to turn back the clock to a time when women had no right to make decisions about their own bodies, when women had to seek care in the shadows and at great danger, when women were not treated as equal citizens under the law,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
“This is another devastating step toward erasing the rights and liberties Americans have fought for on battlefields, in courthouses and in capitols. This is not the America we know – and it’s not the California way.”