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Business News/ News / World/  US Supreme Court ends constitutional right to abortion
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US Supreme Court ends constitutional right to abortion

The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives: the court said

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 ‘Roe v Wade’ decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves Illustration: JayachandranPremium
The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 ‘Roe v Wade’ decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves Illustration: Jayachandran

The US Supreme Court on Friday ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections on one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life.

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 "Roe v Wade" decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the court said.

The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.

What is Roe vs Wade?

Roe v. Wade recognized that the right to personal privacy under the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's ability to terminate her pregnancy. The Supreme Court in a 1992 ruling called Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey reaffirmed abortion rights and prohibited laws imposing an "undue burden" on abortion access.

What was US Supreme Court's on 24 June, 2022?

The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law but not taken the additional step of erasing the precedent altogether.

The justices held that the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed abortions performed before a fetus would be viable outside the womb - between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy - was wrongly decided because the U.S. Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.

A draft version of the ruling written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was likely to overturn Roe was leaked in May, igniting a political firestorm. Friday's ruling authored by Alito largely tracked his leaked draft.

"The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision," Alito wrote in the ruling.

What does this mean?

Friday's outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Abortion is likely to remain legal in liberal states. More than a dozen states currently have laws protecting abortion rights. Numerous Republican-led states have passed various abortion restrictions in defiance of the Roe precedent in recent years.

Women with unwanted pregnancies in large swathes of America may face the choice of traveling to another state where the procedure remains legal and available, buying abortion pills online or having a potentially dangerous illegal abortion.

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Published: 24 Jun 2022, 08:02 PM IST
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