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Understanding The Overturn Of Roe V. Wade

On Friday, June 24th, 2022, The Supreme Court of the United States overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion.

What Happened?

The ruling of overturning Roe v Wade was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents.

It was made possible by an emboldened right side of the Supreme Court fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.

A 6-3 ruling in the Supreme Court upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe.

Chief Justice John Roberts did not join his conservative colleagues in overturning Roe.

Instead, he wrote that there was no need to overturn the broad precedents to rule in Mississippi’s favor.

The ruling reestablished the ability of states to ban abortion.

What It Means For States

Twenty-six states are either certain or expected to implement abortion bans, leaving women in large portions of the United States without access to the medical procedure.

Pregnant women considering abortions in Oklahoma had already been dealing with a near-complete ban.

Women in Texas face a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas.

Clinics in at least five other states including Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and West Virginia stopped performing abortions after Friday’s decision.

Many other states have several restrictions on abortion in place already.

Some trigger laws ban abortions almost completely, while others will outlaw abortion after six weeks or 15 weeks.

The speed at which those trigger laws will go into effect will vary.

Some will be immediate.

Arkansas’ trigger law takes effect as soon as the state attorney general certifies that Roe has been overturned.

In Texas after the Supreme Court ruling, there will be a close to complete prohibition on abortion.

The states where women will still have access to abortion are mostly on the West Coast, including California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, or in the Northeast.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed enshrining a right to abortion in the state’s constitution.

Select states in the Midwest and Southwest are expected to keep abortion legal including Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

Conservative states are already rushing to restrict abortion pills, which can be prescribed through online telemedicine visits.

Since the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and made it possible to implement abortion bans, they will be able to ban the pills altogether, experts say.

Only doctors are permitted to dispense abortion drugs in 32 states.

Any use of telemedicine for medication abortion is prohibited in six states, including Texas and Missouri.

21 states don’t have blanket bans but require at least one in-person visit.

That means patients cannot simply have a telemedicine appointment to receive the pills by mail.

What Happens Next?

Abortion foes cheered the ruling by the conservative justices, but abortion-rights supporters expressed dismay and pledged to fight to restore the rights.

According to figures examined by The Associated Press, the decision is anticipated to have a disproportionately negative impact on minority women who already have limited access to healthcare.

The majority of Americans who supported upholding Roe are also at odds with the court because of this.

Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement saying that the Justice Department will protect the medical providers and women seeking abortions in states where it is legal.

They will also “work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care.”

According to Garland, the use of Mifepristone for pharmaceutical abortions has been permitted by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The majority of abortions, more than 90%, take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

More than half of abortions are also done with pills, not surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Defenders of abortion rights have warned that a decision overturning Roe also threatens other high court decisions, like those in favor of gay rights and even contraception.

The liberal justices made the same point in their joint dissent: The majority “eliminates a 50-year-old constitutional right that safeguards women’s freedom and equal station. It breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law. In doing all of that, it places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the Court’s legitimacy.”

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