It’s a big day for the nation, OnPolitics readers.
The Supreme Court on Friday reversed Roe v. Wadethe nearly 50-year-old landmark decision establishing a constitutional right to an abortion.
The 6-3 majority, composed of conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents, said abortion is not found in the Constitution or in the nation’s history.
Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the majority that Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start.”
“Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” he added. The ruling closely tracks a draft opinion by Alito in the case that leaked in May.
There were five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, because Chief Justice John Roberts wrote he would not have gone so far as to upend one of the court’s most recognized precedents.
The three liberal justices dissented.
“After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had,” Associate Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a dissent joined by Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. “The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away.”
After today’s decision, access to abortion will depend almost entirely on where a person lives. GOP lawmakers are prepared to ban the procedure in about half of states, while Democratic-led states are likely to reinforce protections.
Where does the abortion fight go from here?
The Supreme Court’s decision will make it more difficult for millions of Americans to end a pregnancy, but it won’t put a stop to attempts by conservative-led states to ban the procedure on a broader scale.
In upholding a Mississippi ban on most abortions after 15 weeks, the nation’s highest court determined Friday that its earlier precedents on abortion were based on a faulty reading of the Constitution.
Abortion regulation is now dependent on individual states. experts anticipate new laws and lawsuits targeting medication abortions and bans on people seeking abortions across state lines. Others will focus on challenging abortion laws under state constitutions.
Such proposals could call into question existing rights protected by law, such as the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce or the rights of Americans to travel from state to state.
The court must now figure out is “there any limit on what states can do,” Mary Ziegler, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, told USA TODAY before the opinion was released.
“Eventually, there’ll be anti-abortion groups arguing that blue-state abortion laws are unconstitutional,” Ziegler said.
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Real quick: More stories on abortion in the US
- What are abortion laws your state? Find out where your state stands on abortion laws with USA TODAY’s searchable database.
- ‘People will travel’ A growing number of Americans are traveling out of state for abortions due to restrictive laws in their home states. But the distances people will have to go to receive care may jump dramatically now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court.
- Where is abortion legal in the world? Here are the countries where abortion is legal and where it is altogether bannedaccording to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which advocates for reproductive rights around the world.
- Can I still buy Plan B? In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Friday decision that ended the constitutional right to abortion, people across the US can still buy and access emergency contraception like morning-after pills.
- Americans’ divided reaction to latest ruling: Early Friday, Americans across the nation were processing the decisionwith some cheering the ruling and others condemning it.
Barack Obama, Mike Pence and others speak about SCOTUS opinion
Immediately following the Supreme Court’s ruling, current and former lawmakers reacted to the end of Americans’ constitutional right to abortion.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell praised the decision, saying it represents a half-century of struggle by conservative activists.
“The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs is courageous and correct,” he said. “This is a historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Only minutes after the ruling was announced, former President Barack Obama released a statement on Twitter:
“Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans,” he wrote.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is contemplating his own presidential run in 2024, issued a statement within minutes of the ruling and called for ending abortions in all 50 states.
Praising the Supreme Court for returning the issue to the states, Pence said: ”Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”
Manchin agrees to codify Roe: Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he is “deeply disappointed” by the SCOTUS decision.
Though the senator from West Virginia is pro-life, he said he understands his definition of that may be different from someone else’s definition of pro-life. Manchin said he would support legislation that codifies the rights Roe v. Wade previously protected.
In other news: The House approved a bipartisan gun deal Friday, all but cementing the biggest reform package passed by Congress in nearly 30 years. –Amy and Chelsea
Contributing: John Fritze, USA TODAY
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism