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June 24, 2022 – The U.S. Supreme Court has voted to overturn the federal constitutional right to abortion, turning the issue over to individual states to decide.      .
About 25 million women of reproductive age will now live in states that ban or severely restrict abortion, According to some estimates, 26 states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.
Thirteen states have so-called trigger laws that will ban abortion almost immediately, while nine other states are now likely to try to enforce near-total bans or severe restrictions that have been blocked by courts pending the outcome of the just-issued decision. Hours after the ruling came down, at least four states – Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and South Dakota – had already banned abortion. South Dakota, Kentucky and Louisiana had trigger laws that took effect the moment Roe was overturned. In Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, state officials took action to activate their states’ abortion ban.
Doctors and others who provide abortion services, or in some states “aid or abet” an abortion, could be fined thousands of dollars or sent to prison. The Justices voted 6-3 that the two cases that established a right to abortion—Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)—were never correct, and that there has never been a guarantee of abortion under the Constitution.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the 116-page opinion issued by the majority. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer issued a 65-page blistering dissent. The ruling means “that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” they wrote. “A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.” The dissenters also said it appeared that the majority had abandoned stare decisis, the doctrine of respecting precedent. “Today, the proclivities of individuals rule. The Court departs from its obligation to faithfully and impartially apply the law,” they wrote.
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