The United States Supreme Court has overturned a 50-year-old ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.
With this judgement, millions of woman have lost their right to abortion.
The apex court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.
Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by states, unless Congress acts.
Half of US states are expected to introduce new restrictions or bans.
Thirteen have already passed so-called trigger laws that will automatically outlaw abortion following the Supreme Court’s ruling. A number of others are likely to pass new restrictions quickly, BBC reports.
In total, abortion access is expected to be cut off for about 36 million women of reproductive age, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organisation that provides abortions.
The Supreme Court had been considering a case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that challenged Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
Joe vs Wade
, the case was filed by Norma McCorvey, known in court documents as Jane Roe, against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, who enforced a Texas law that prohibited abortion, except to save a woman’s life.
In January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman the right to an abortion during the entirety of the pregnancy and defined different levels of state interest for regulating abortion in the second and third trimesters. The ruling affected laws in 46 states.
In May 2, 2022, in a stunning breach of Supreme Court confidentiality and secrecy, Politico has obtained what it calls a draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade’s holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion.
The opinion in the case was not expected to be published until late June. The court confirms the authenticity of the document on May 3, but stresses it was not the final decision.