Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade
Kayton Sanchez | June 27, 2022
On Friday, June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States officially overturned the 49-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 vote, ending federal protections for abortions and leading to a seismic shift in reproductive rights across the country.
Roe v. Wade was a 7-to-2 ruling made on January 22, 1973, nearly 50 years ago, that established that the right to abortion is part of a right to privacy that is derived from the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Abortion was made a constitutional right that protected women’s freedom of choice and autonomy across the nation.
The Supreme Court has officially decided that 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.” Written by justice Samuel Alito and joined by justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, the Court opinion ruled that state legislators can decide whether abortion should be legal or illegal. The Court has examined whether the right to obtain an abortion is rooted in the nation’s history and decided it was not an essential component of “ordered liberty” nor was it protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Alito and the ruling majority have decided that the Roe decision was an abuse of judicial authority, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
This Supreme Court decision allows states to either restrict access to abortion or criminalize it completely. 16 states—Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky—have already implemented trigger laws that, in some instances, forbid abortions without exemptions for rape, incest, or situations in which the mother's life is in danger. Montana, Arizona, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana are anticipated to follow.
Following the Supreme Court decision, President Biden addresses his own concerns, “[it is] so extreme that women can be punished for protecting her health… so extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist’s child.” The President expresses his outrage and complete support for women impacted by the new state laws outlawing abortion that will go into effect today, “I hear you. I support you. I stand with you.” President Biden urges state leaders to protect the right to an abortion on a local level and for citizens to participate in peaceful protests, oppose violence, and vote because, “with your vote, you can act.” The Biden administration may decide to declare a public health emergency, offer funding, sue states that violate FDA regulations, permit the distribution of abortion drugs to pharmacies, or lease federal buildings to abortion clinics in order to combat this "American attack." Reporters asked, “is the Supreme Court broken?” following the President’s address.
People must now approach state legislatures rather than the Supreme Court in order to fight for abortion rights. Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and a number of other blue states are committed to defending abortion rights, along with DC. After the initial leak of the Court’s draft opinion in May 2022, people have known this ruling has been coming for weeks, however, that has not lessened the blow any less. Many recognize that overturning Roe v. Wade will be the most consequential supreme court ruling in modern memory, undoing nearly 50 years of legal precedent and basic human autonomy.