By Tanveer Kaur
In an opinion released by the Supreme Court on June 24th, the court effectively overturned the precedents set in both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). The opinion from the Court came in regards to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case, argued before the court this term.
The final vote on the case was 6-3, the majority being conservative justices while all of the liberal justices dissented from the majority’s opinion. On overturning Roe, the court split 5-4, with Chief Justice Roberts joining the three liberal justices.
The majority opinion drafted by Justice Samuel Alito read: “The Court finds that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition,” while also stating “Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning.” The dissenters—Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor—wrote the following: “Respecting a woman as an autonomous being, and granting her full equality, meant giving her substantial choice over this most personal and most consequential of all life decisions.”
They added: “Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs. An abortion restriction, the majority holds, is permissible whenever rational, the lowest level of scrutiny known to the law.”
The decision came at no surprise, as last May the majority opinion was leaked. The holding was met with both celebration and disgust.
Conservative activists and politicians rejoiced at the announcement of the holding. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted “ Every unborn child is precious, extraordinary, and worthy of protection. I applaud this historic ruling, which will save countless innocent lives. The Court is right to return the power to protect the unborn to the people’s elected representatives in Congress and the states.” Anti-abortion activists gathered around the nation’s capital to showcase their support for the decision.
Democrats and pro-choice activists were shocked to some degree by the holding, as this was the first time in American history the SCOTUS has stripped Americans of what many contend is a Constitutional right. Activists, joined by legislators, gathered outside the Supreme Court to voice their dismay for the ruling. Many pro-choice activists called the ruling a war on women and a ruling that only restricts safe abortions.
Both parties seem to see this event as a political issue that may give them an advantage this upcoming November. While Democrats see this as a way to improve voter turnout to maintain and grow their majority, Republicans see this as a win for their agenda, hoping to gain the majorities in both chambers of the United States Congress.