Supreme Court overturns constitutional right to abortion in the US

At least 25 states are now expected to limit or outlaw the procedure, thirteen of which have already introduced so-called trigger bans.

Left: A gavel, Right: A pro-abortion poster in the US
Image: Pexels

On Friday, June 24, the US Supreme Court voted to overturn the historic Roe v Wade ruling, therefore removing the constitutional right to abortion in the country. Abortion laws will now be decided on individually by each of the 50 states, giving conservative leaders a chance to restrict or ban the procedure across the nation.

The Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the US, voted 6-3 in favour of overturning the ruling which had legalised abortion nationwide up to the point of fetal viability for the past 50 years. Both pro-choice and anti-abortion campaigners gathered outside the court in Washington DC to hear the decision, with polar opposite reactions coming from each side.

“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion… and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the judgement reads.

At least 25 states are expected to introduce bans or limitations on abortion in the US. Thirteen of which, including Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, have already passed so-called trigger bans, meaning that the practice will be automatically outlawed following the ruling. 

One of the Supreme Court justices in favour of overturning Roe v Wade was Clarence Thomas, who also said that the liberty to buy and use contraceptives, the legality of same-sex sexual activity and the right to same-sex marriage should also be reconsidered.

The news comes almost two months after a leaked draft opinion published first by Politico revealed that the court had allegedly voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, along with another judgement from 1992 regarding Planned Parenthood v Casey. The document was dated February 10, 2022, and was drawn up following a case heard late last year surrounding a challenge to abortion restrictions introduced in Mississippi.

The Supreme Court is currently made up of a conservative majority, including three justices appointed by former president Donald Trump. Despite 55% of Americans identifying as “pro-choice” according to Gallup, Planned Parenthood now estimates that abortion is to be cut off for around 36 million people across the country.

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