As of: 06/24/2022 7:05 pm
For nearly 50 years, abortion rights in the United States rested with the federal government. Now the Supreme Court has struck it down — and individual states’ laws will apply again.
The US Supreme Court struck down the nation’s abortion law. The judges ruled against the 50-year-old landmark ruling. In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the United States, up to 24 weeks gestation. The 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling strengthened the case law.
Christian Stichler, ARD Washington, US Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion Rights
tagesschau24 7:00 pm, 24.6.2022
The Conservative majority did not back down
These decisions are overturned by today’s judgment. The conservative majority on the US Supreme Court has not held back in rebuking its predecessors. “The Constitution does not grant a right to abortion,” the judgment said.
“Roe was deeply wrong from the day it was decided and in conflict with the Constitution. Casey continued his mistakes.” The power to “regulate” abortion rights will now be returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Roe v. Wade ruling
In the landmark “Roe v. Wade” decision of January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled that state laws prohibiting abortion violated the US Constitution. Since then, abortion has been virtually unlimited in most US states.
This designation goes to the pseudonym “Jane Roe” chosen to protect the plaintiff. The defendant for the state of Texas was then Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. “Roe v. Wade” was one of the most socially controversial decisions in the history of the Supreme Court, characterized by a liberal majority of justices at the time.
A clear conservative majority in the Supreme Court
The right to an abortion has always been a cause of heated debate in America. Protesters have long tried to overturn the liberal federal law.
With Donald Trump as president, the Supreme Court has a clear conservative majority. He allowed three justices to fill and appointed Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanagh and Amy Coney Barrett. All three, along with conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, voted in favor of the new ruling.
Liberal justices voted against
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, who are considered liberal, voted against. “After today, young women will grow up with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had,” they write in their dissent.
Chief Justice John Roberts said he did not want to limit abortion rights so severely. The court had to reopen Roe v. Wade after the state of Mississippi passed an abortion law that was unconstitutional under current law. Subsequently, the government appealed to the Supreme Court seeking review of the verdict.
State laws apply
With the new ruling, the decision on abortion rights is now up to individual states. It would lead to changes in the law in 26 conservative-leaning states — 13 of which are already drafting laws that would severely restrict abortion.
Texas, for example, prohibits abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. In Oklahoma, the “Heartbeat Law” applies, which prohibits abortions after hearing a heartbeat during an exam. These laws may now come into effect after the uniform regulation is repealed.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt has already announced that a particularly restrictive abortion law will go into effect there today. “Missouri becomes first in nation to effectively end abortion,” he tweeted. Other states are expected to follow suit.
Unclear handling of abortion pills
On the other hand, Democratic states like California and New York prefer to retain abortion rights. This will lead to a special rush at clinics in these states.
It is unclear how abortion pills are handled legally. Last year, US President Joe Biden’s administration decided that the funds could be sent through the mail.
Pelosi: “Women Today Have Fewer Rights Than Their Mothers”
Democrats’ reactions to the decision were clear. “Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party and their majority on the Supreme Court, American women today have fewer rights than their mothers,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter.
Former US President Barack Obama also tweeted: “The Supreme Court not only overturned nearly 50 years of precedent, but also a personal decision anyone can make at the discretion of politicians and ideologues – and… offensive.”
Trump, on the other hand, celebrated the verdict. “God decided it,” the former president told Fox News. According to him, this move should have happened “a long time ago”.
In early May, the American newspaper “Politico” published a draft of the decision written by Justice Samuel Alito. The publication sparked protests across the country.
According to a survey conducted by television broadcaster CNN, 66 percent of those questioned spoke against the complete abolition of the nationwide law. Massive protests are expected after the verdict.
The Democratic Bill failed
After the draft ruling was released, Biden said in a written statement that he supports women’s right to make their own decisions. If the Supreme Court strikes down an existing law, Congress must enact this right. Biden said he would be happy to sign such legislation.
A short time later, Democrats introduced an abortion rights bill in the US Senate. However, it failed.
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