Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion that tossed out Roe as well as a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights in another case – Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The decision to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years, was met with celebration and rage across the country.
The ruling lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states. Other states plan to maintain more liberal rules governing the termination of pregnancies.
Supporters of abortion rights immediately condemned the ruling, abortion opponents praised a decision they had long hoped for.
The ruling gives individual states the power to set their own abortion laws without concern of running afoul of Roe, which had permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Alito was joined in that judgment by the five other conservatives on the high court, including Chief Justice John Roberts, whose support for overturning Roe had long been in doubt. The majority also included three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ’implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
The court’s three liberal justices filed a dissenting opinion to the ruling, which quickly drew protestors to the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, announced that he had closed his offices on Friday and would make June 24 an annual holiday for the agency in recognition of the decision and “as a memorial” to the unborn.
Almost 70 million babies have been killed in the womb since the Roe decision in 1973.
“Never again should something like this happen in America,” Mr. Paxton said.
The decision came a day after the Supreme Court in another controversial ruling invalidated a century-old New York law that had made it very difficult for people to obtain a license to carry a gun outside of their homes.
(Picture Courtesy: AFP)