The Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last Friday, meaning there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. This is one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions in years and affects women’s reproductive health in the U.S. Each state determines abortion rights unless Congress acts. About half of the states have or will pass laws banning abortions. Other states implemented strict measures regulating the procedure.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “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.”
The vote was 5-4 in favor of overturning Roe. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan criticized the majority and made the following statement:
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
The latest opinion from the majority represents a decades-long effort by anti-abortionists seeking to return more power to the states. The decision happened because of a six-member conservative majority. Chief Justice John Roberts, who publicly spoke about the SCOTUS draft opinion leak and draft opinion leak, did not join the majority. Instead, he wanted to uphold Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks.
A Sad Day For The Country
Since Friday, multiple political leaders have spoken out. President Biden called for Congress to codify the right to an abortion. He released the following statement on Friday:
It’s a sad day for the court and for the country.
It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country. Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law.
It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error of the Supreme Court, in my view.
The court has done what it’s never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized. The court’s decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences.
How Does American Feels About Roe vs. Wade
The majority of Americans were against the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. In May, CNN conducted a poll after the draft opinion was leaked. 66% to 34% of Americans stated they did not want the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. And 58% of U.S. adults said that if Roe were overturned, they’d want their state to set abortion laws that were more permissive than restrictive. While about half said, they’d like to see their state become a safe haven for women who wanted abortions.
Today, most Americans are against the recent decision made by the SCOTUS. A 59% majority of U.S. adults disapproved, with 41% approved. About 52% called the decision a step backward for America, 31% called it a step forward, and 17% said it is neither. Among women, two-thirds disapproved of the ruling, and 33% approved. A 56% majority of women say that the decision will make the lives of most American women worse.
Future SCOTUS Rulings
The Roe vs. Wade ruling has many Americans terrified and questioning what will change (for the worst) next? Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court’s likely future rulings targeting contraception access, marriage equality, and LGBTQIA rights.
“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion about the Roe ruling.
In 1965, Griswold vs. Connecticut established a married couple’s right to use contraception without government interference. In the 2003 case of Lawrence vs. Texas, the court ruled that states could not criminalize sodomy. Thus, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every State and United States territory. Lastly, in 2015, Obergefell vs. Hodges established the right for same-sex couples to marry.
Thomas’s statement confirmed what so many progressive lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates feared. The end of Roe vs. Wade isn’t the end, but only the beginning. For now, Thomas does not seem to have the support of his conservative colleagues in overturning other significant cases.