The Supreme Court has overturned the right to an abortion.
The conservative court overturned a precedent set nearly 50 years ago in the landmark Roe v Wade case, making it a rare reversal of a long-settled law.
The overturning of abortion rights will fracture the foundation of modern reproductive rights in America, and have monumental consequences for women’s rights, as well as other human rights, in the U.S., and around the world.
The ruling comes from a pivotal case called Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the sole abortion clinic left in the whole state of Mississippi opposed the state effort to ban abortion after 15 weeks, effectively overturning Roe in the process.
The Supreme Court’s majority conservative opinion said that Roe and Casey must be overruled.
The three liberal justices dissented, stating that the majority opinion “says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” and that under state restrictions, women will be forced to bear her rapist’s child.
The reversal of the 1973 opinion will again allow individual US states to ban abortion. At least 26 states are expected to do so immediately or as soon as practicable.
The removal of abortion rights is expected to be one of the most consequential decisions by the Supreme Court in generations. It will have profound, immediate and enduring consequences for the lives of tens of millions of American women and other people who can become pregnant, and unpredictable ripple effects that could play out over decades.
A draft of the opinion was leaked in May, showing that the court was poised to overturn Roe. There was immediate backlash from the American public. Polls show a majority of Americans support abortion rights.
Experts believe the coming days and weeks will bring chaotic attempts by conservatives to ban the procedure as soon as possible.
The United States then will become a patchwork of some of the most severe abortion restrictions in the world.