WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the monumental Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across the America.
The 6-3 decision on Friday followed the early May leak of a draft opinion indicating which way the justices would rule. That leak prompted protesting across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C. as well as dozens of attacks and vandalism of pro-life organizations, centers, and churches.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and a subsequent case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe, both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the opinion states. “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.”
Overturning the landmark 1973 case came in the decision on Dobbs v.s. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law greatly restricting the federal right to abortion. The leaked draft, substantially the same as Friday’s decision, had already galvanized pro- and anti-abortion foes outside the Supreme Court building and even the homes of conservative justices.
Hundreds of people gathered at the court Friday, carrying signs and shouting slogans. Police cordoned off the groups, hoping to avoid violence in the wake of the polarizing decision.
The decision leaves it to states to impose restrictions on abortion. Several are expected to move closer to outright bans, while liberal states are expected to retain or even expand protections for abortion.
The Supreme Court began arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in December after the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi won lawsuits challenging the state’s 15-week abortion ban.
The district court granted the abortion clinic a temporary restraining order and then enjoined the state from enforcing the 15-week abortion ban, ruling that Mississippi did not prove an unborn baby is viable at 15 weeks, arguing based on the precedent set by Roe that the state could not ban abortion before viability.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court’s decision, leading Mississippi to petition the Supreme Court. In the state’s brief to the Court, the petitioners acknowledged the lower courts were required to strike down the 15-week abortion ban and pled with the court to review the precedent set by Roe and Casey. Their brief did not mince words: “Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong.” It was a direct challenge to the precedent set by the majority in the 1973 case.