The US Supreme Court has voted to overturn the historic abortion law known as Roe Vs Wade, ending 50 years of federal abortion rights.
Roe versus Wade is considered one of the most significant Supreme Court rulings in American history and it has been a crucial decision that allowed many other civil rights battles to be won. It has now been repealed, in a move that is widely considered by the science community to be ignoring the science on the subject.
Roe vs Wade has permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy in the US since 1973. Studies show that most Americans support abortion access.
The decision, voted 6 to 3, will lead to banning or severely restricting abortion in about half of the 50 states that make up the US.
“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, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.
“That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ’implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”
Not long after the announcement broke, a statement signed by over 100 global healthcare organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the British Medical Association, and from countries ranging from Guatemala and Greece to Germany, Kenya, France, Norway, India, Mongolia, and Sierra Leone condemned the announcement.
“Ensuring access to safe, quality abortion is an imperative. Abortion is recognised as essential health care that must be provided by governments. Access to safe abortion is also a human right. Attacks against reproductive freedom are attacks on democracy and international human rights standards, on individual freedoms and the right to privacy, and they set back progress towards gender equality,” the statement reads.
"The United States Supreme Court decision to dismantle Roe v Wade and roll back 50 years of access to safe abortion care is a catastrophic blow to the lives of millions of women, girls and pregnant people who now face the prospect of being forced to continue pregnancies. It is a decision that will cost lives for years to come."
The case that led to this decision is known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and it’s about a Mississippi law that banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Casey case reference by Alito is the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe.
This story has been updated to include the statement signed by over 100 healthcare organizations.