The Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 virtually overturned the right to a legal abortion today. In the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to overturn a lower court’s judgment upholding a Mississippi statute that forbade abortion treatments beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy. More importantly, the decision eliminated any constitutional limitations on legislation outlawing abortion operations.
The majority judgment, written by Justice Alito, is straightforward about how the decision would be interpreted. It states, “The Constitution does not grant a right to abortion.” “Roe and Casey are overruled, and the people and their elected representatives once again have the power to restrict abortion.”
Chief Justice Roberts joined the majority in voting to preserve the Mississippi statute although not explicitly voting to overturn Roe v. Wade in a concurrence.
After a draft of the judgement was obtained by Politico in May, a first-ever violation of the court’s customary confidentiality, the verdict has been eagerly awaited. The abortion laws in 22 US states will immediately enact additional limitations in reaction to the decision, causing an almost immediate reduction in the range of services offered nationwide.
Privacy organizations have expressed concern about the gathering and sharing of location data, frequently obtained from phones or other devices, that may be used to identify persons accessing reproductive care clinics in advance of the Dobbs judgement. Before the decision, there have been several attempts to restrict the sale of this data, including a measure proposed in June by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The impending limits have also rekindled interest in home-based or remote abortion methods that use misoprostol and other medications.
Justice Thomas argues in a concurring opinion (which starts on page 117 of the full decision) that the decision’s limited interpretation of the due process clause of the US constitution should also be applied to reverse earlier Supreme Court decisions that established a right to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965), legalized same-sex marriage nationwide (Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015), or struck down laws prohibiting sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas in 2003).
Justice Thomas argues in his opinion that “in future instances, we should review all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” “We have a duty to ‘correct the wrong’ established in those cases because any substantive due process conclusion is ‘demonstrably erroneous,'” the court wrote.
The three liberal judges criticized the verdict as a flagrant infringement of women’s physical autonomy in a dissenting opinion that begins on page 148 of the judgement.
According to the opposition, “a State will be able to impose its moral decision on a woman and pressure her to give birth to a child under a large array of conditions.” “Today’s ruling denies women autonomy over a moral matter that even the majority acknowledges to be contentious and debatable. Regardless of the situation or the pain it would do to her and her family, she is compelled to carry out the state’s will.