U.S. Supreme Court overturns right to abortion in landmark decision

By Jennifer Shutt, Louisiana Illuminator

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established abortion as a constitutional right. 

The opinion by six of the Court’s nine justices will allow each state to set its own abortion laws, leading to a patchwork of access throughout the country. The result is expected to lead to an uptick in the number of women traveling for abortions or unsafe abortions in states where the medical procedure will now be banned or heavily restricted.

“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 justices wrote. 

Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent in the case. 

“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” it began. 

Twenty-two states have laws that would restrict when and how a patient can terminate a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health and rights organization. 

Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin are among the 10 states that have pre-Roe abortion bans that will now take effect. Thirteen states — including Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have laws enacted since Roe that will be “triggered” by the court’s decision. 

A dozen states, including Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington, have laws that would protect abortion access up to the point of viability, usually 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy. 

Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont have laws that protect abortion access throughout a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

UPDATE:

United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) today released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“Today is an historic and joyful day. After nearly a half century, the Supreme Court has finally corrected its egregious error and returned the fateful policy decision over legalized abortion to the people and their elected representatives—where it has always belonged. No real ‘constitutional right’ to abortion ever existed. The Court invented it out of thin air. House Republicans will continue to stand for the sanctity of human life and hold the Biden Administration accountable for any future attempt to impede the policy decisions of pro-life states.”

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