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Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ending Constitutional Right to Abortions

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington,
AP

The Supreme Court today overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal protections of abortion rights.

The final opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, fully repudiates the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. It also effectively strikes down the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that largely maintained the right established in Roe.

“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,” Alito wrote, via The Associated Press.

The majority party in the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, included votes from the Republican-appointed justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

The three Democratic-appointed justices — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — made up the dissenting party.

“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” they wrote.

The decision effectively leaves the question of abortion rights to the states. In states like Texas and Oklahoma, abortion has already been effectively made illegal with strict laws, but this decision will make legal abortion access essentially impossible in those states. While abortion access in states like California or New York is unlikely to change with the striking down of Roe, it does mean that states with abortion access can expect a heavy influx in patients due to people crossing state lines for the procedure.

It is expected that, since there is now no federal protection, more than half of U.S. states will eventually make abortion fully illegal.

An initial draft majority opinion signaling the overturning of Roe v. Wade was previously leaked to Politico in early May. At that time, it was unknown how Chief Justice Roberts would rule, but his vote would not have changed the outcome. The leak was the first time a draft decision has ever been disclosed to the public while a case was still pending.