After almost 50 years under Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court on Friday removed women’s constitutional safeguards for abortion, a fundamental and very personal upheaval for American lives. The landmark court decision being overturned by the court will probably result in abortion restrictions in around half of the states.
The decision, which was unfathomable only a few years ago, was the result of decades of work by abortion opponents and was made feasible by a court’s right wing that had gained strength from three Trump appointees.
Both sides anticipated that the debate over abortion would go on, in state capitals, in Washington, and at the polls. As a member of the majority on Friday, Justice Clarence Thomas encouraged colleagues to reverse prior high court decisions that supported same-sex marriage, homosexual sex, and the use of contraception.
Pregnant women who were considering having an abortion already had to contend with restrictions in Oklahoma and Texas, which forbade the procedure beyond around six weeks. Following the ruling on Friday, clinics in at least eight other states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia—stopped offering abortions.
After a federal court lifted an injunction that had prevented the bill from taking effect for over three years, Ohio became the first state to outlaw most abortions after the first detected embryonic heartbeat. The decision also brought Utah’s statute into force, with certain specific restrictions.
While pro-abortion activists applauded the decision, abortion rights advocates, including as President Joe Biden, expressed disappointment and vowed to battle to defend the status quo.
In other towns, protests continued far into the night. Thousands of people demonstrated outside the Supreme Court, which was blocked off, in opposition to the ruling. Numerous others shouted, “We will rise up! ” at Washington Square, New York.
The ruling is anticipated to have an especially negative impact on minority women, who already have trouble accessing healthcare.
Additionally, it puts the court at odds with the vast majority of Americans who, according to surveys, supported upholding Roe.
A majority of respondents to surveys conducted by Public Affairs Research and others are in support of abortion being legal in all or most situations. However, a lot of people favor limitations, particularly later in pregnancy. Approximately one in ten Americans, according to surveys, want abortion to be prohibited in all circumstances.