(National Review) The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, allowing a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks to take effect.
“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,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the 6-3 majority.
Justice Alito was joined by Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority. Justice Roberts wrote in a concurring opinion with the majority that he would have taken a “more measured course” stopping short of overturning Roe altogether, but agreed that the Mississippi abortion ban should stand.
The Court’s liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
“Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” the dissent states.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization means each state will now be able to determine its own regulations on abortion, including whether and when to prohibit abortion.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) hailed the ruling in a statement on Friday.
“The court has corrected a terrible legal and moral error, like when Brown v. Board overruled Plessy v. Fersguson,” McConnell said. “Millions of Americans have spent half a century praying, marching, and working toward today’s historic victories for the rule of law and innocent life.”
House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) slammed the decision, saying Democrats would attempt to codify the right to an abortion in law.
“A woman’s fundamental health decisions are her own to make, in consultation with her doctor and her loved ones—not to be dictated by far-right politicians,” Pelosi said in a statement. “While Republicans seek to punish and control women, Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law.”
Pelosi told reporters at a press conference that women now “have less freedom than their mothers” following the ruling. The speaker later added that “in the Congress, be aware of this, the Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the Congress.”
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) wrote on Twitter that “Today is one of the darkest days our country has ever seen” in response to the ruling.
The decision overturns both Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case which created the “undue burden” standard — the modern test for abortion restrictions that says the court will invalidate state laws that had “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”