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October 1, 2022

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US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade abortion landmark


US Supreme Court Friday took the dramatic step of reversing the historic 1973 Roe vs. Wade Ruling that is recognized constitutional rights of women for an abortion and legalized it nationwide, handing it a significant victory to Republicans and religious conservatives who want to limit or restrict the procedure.

The court, in a 6-3 decision driven by its conservative majority, upheld the Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. The vote to overturn Roe was 5–4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say that he would have upheld the Mississippi law but did not take the extra step of erasing the precedent altogether.

The judges held that Roe v. Wade’s decision to allow abortions performed before a fetus would be viable outside of the womb — between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy — was wrongly decided because there is no specific mention of it in the US Constitution. abortion rights,

A draft version of the ruling, written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, was leaked, igniting a political firestorm that the court was likely to overturn Roe in May. Friday’s ruling, written by Alito, largely tracked their leaked draft.

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote in the ruling.

cry v. Wade held that the right to personal privacy under the US Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy. The Supreme Court in a 1992 decision in Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey upheld Planned Parenthood’s rights to abortion and prohibited laws imposing an “undue burden” on abortion access.

“Roe was seriously wrong from the start. Its argument was extraordinarily weak, and the decision has had harmful consequences. And far from bringing about a national solution to the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have debated and deeply divided, Alito said.

The reversal of Roe v. Wade has long been a target of Christian conservatives and many Republican office-bearers.

By erasing abortion as a constitutional right, the ruling restores states’ ability to pass laws prohibiting it. Twenty-six states are seen as either certain or likely to ban abortion. Mississippi is one of 13 states that already have so-called trigger laws designed to ban abortions if Roe v. Wade was to be reversed.

The court’s three liberal judges – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – issued written dissent jointly.

“Whatever the exact scope of the laws to come, one outcome of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and their status as free and equal citizens,” he 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 terminate a pregnancy, even at the most personal and family cost.” too,” said the moderate judges.

As news of the verdict spread, the crowd of anti-abortion activists, who had gathered outside the courthouse for several days, erupted with joy.

“I’m excited,” said Emma Craig, 36, of Pro Life San Francisco. “Abortion is the biggest tragedy of our generation and in 50 years we will see 50 years we have been under Roe v. Wade.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, condemned the decision, saying that the “Republican-controlled Supreme Court” set that party’s “dark and extreme goal of taking away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions”. have received.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a consensus opinion, appeared to dismiss the idea advocated by many anti-abortion advocates, that the next step is for the court to declare that the Constitution prohibits abortion nationwide. “The Constitution neither forbids nor legalizes abortion,” he wrote.

In a potentially deciding vote in future abortion cases, Kavanaugh also said the ruling does not prohibit states from traveling to another state to obtain abortions, or retroactively penalize people for prior abortions — Acts protected by other constitutional rights.

Mississippi’s law was blocked by lower courts as a violation of the Supreme Court’s precedent on abortion rights. Abortion is likely to remain legal in liberal states. More than a dozen states currently have laws protecting abortion rights. Several Republican-led states have passed various abortion restrictions in recent years in defiance of the Roe precedent.

Prior to Roe’s decision, several states had banned abortions, which left women with few options to terminate the pregnancy. As a result of Friday’s decision, women with unwanted pregnancies in large areas of the US may be faced with the choice of traveling to another state, where the procedure remains legal and available, to buy abortion pills online or to have a potentially dangerous illegal abortion.

Trump’s appointments

Republican former President Donald Trump promised in 2016 to appoint judges to the Supreme Court as a candidate who would overturn Roe. He was able to appoint three Conservative judges – a third of the total – during his four-year term, steering the court in the right direction and building a 6-3 Conservative majority. All three of Trump’s appointees – Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett – were in a majority in Friday’s decision.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi, challenged the 2018 law and secured the support of Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration in the Supreme Court. The law allows abortion when there is a “medical emergency” or “serious fetal abnormality”, but exceptions are not made for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

In 2018 a federal judge struck down the law, citing Roe precedent. In 2019, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reached the same conclusion.

leak check

Roberts condemned the leak of Alito’s draft opinion on the case on May 2 and announced an investigation to identify the culprit. Supreme Court leaks are extremely rare, especially relating to internal deliberations before a decision is issued. Following the leak, Biden denounced Roe’s reversal as a “radical” move and urged Congress to pass legislation to protect abortion on a national level.

Thousands of people rallied for abortion rights in Washington and other cities after the leak, including some protesters at the homes of some conservative justices. On June 8, a California man armed with a handgun, ammunition, a crow bar and pepper spray was arrested and charged with attempted murder near Kavanaugh’s Maryland home.

In 2016 the justices struck down a Texas law imposing stricter rules on abortion facilities and doctors. In 2020, Justices struck down a Louisiana law that also banned doctors performing abortions. But the court has become more conservative in recent years with three appointments made by former President Donald Trump.

Since 2018, the court has lost two champions of abortion rights. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in 2020, to be replaced by Barrett, who signaled support for Roe’s overturning as an academic before joining the judiciary.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sided with liberal justices on social issues like abortion and LGBT rights, retired in 2018 and was replaced by Kavanaugh. Kennedy was part of the majority in the 1992 decision and voted to end the Texas abortion ban in 2016.

In 2017 Gorsuch replaced the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who was an anti-abortionist.

Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans support abortion rights. But reversing the row has been a target for decades of anti-abortion activists and Christian conservatives, with the annual March in Washington in January this year.

According to data released June 15 by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group advocating abortion rights, the number of US abortions increased by 8% during the three years ending in 2020, a 30-year trend of declining numbers. reverses it.

Seven years after Roe’s rule, the US abortion rate peaked in 1980, at 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age — 15-44 — and 13.5 per 1,000 in 2017, rising to 14.4 per 1,000 by 2020. reached the women. In 2020, there were 930,160 American abortions, with 20.6% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage in 2020, up from 18.4% in 2017. Mississippi experienced a 40% increase in abortions performed from 2017 to 2020.

Globally, abortion rights are generally on the rise. The United Nations World Health Organization stated that there are approximately 73 million abortions worldwide each year, which comprises 29% of all pregnancies.


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