Roe v. Wade, the landmark case from 1973 that recognized women's constitutional right to abortion, was overturned by the United States Supreme Court on Friday. President Joe Biden condemned Supreme Court's decision on abortion. This will dramatically change the lives of millions of women in the United States. This decision will also exacerbate growing tensions in a country that is already deeply polarized.
With a 6-3, the Court upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The decision was made possible by the Court's conservative majority. By a vote of 5-4, Roe was overturned. Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, wrote separately that he would have affirmed the Mississippi law without getting rid of the Roe precedent.
About Roe v. Wade
In 1970, a woman who requested anonymity and went under the name "Jane Roe" in court records to preserve her identity challenged a statute in Texas. It was against the prohibited abortions in all circumstances except those in which the procedure was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant mother. The woman who was being prosecuted lived in Dallas County. Therefore, a woman's complaint was brought against Henry Wade, the district attorney for that county.
This is how the case came to be known as Roe v. Wade in the legal community. Norma McCorvey was ultimately determined to be the woman in question. In 2017, she passed away. According to The Oyez Project of Cornell University, Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law, McCorvey argued that Texas laws were unconstitutionally vague and violated her right to personal privacy. This right is protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Supreme Court heard the case. The question before the Court was: Does the Constitution say that a woman has the right to have an abortion to end her pregnancy? According to The Oyez Project's website, the Court's landmark 7-2 decision was that Texas laws broke the US Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment's Right to Privacy, protecting a pregnant woman's choice to have an abortion.
The Supreme Court concluded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to privacy from actions taken by the state. Also, the decision of a woman to have an abortion is covered by this right to privacy protection. Nevertheless, the Court decided that states can impose restrictions on abortions performed in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Debate On Abortion In The United States
Abortion rights are divided between "pro-choice" and "pro-life." The former argues that women should be free to choose whether or not to abort their pregnancies. Whereas the latter argues that abortion involves the death of a human being, it should be prohibited to protect the latter's right to life.
In the United States, abortion is a very controversial subject. Most Democrats support it, while most Republicans are against it. But that wasn't always the case. On both sides of the political spectrum, there are still small groups of people who don't agree with the majority on abortion.
In 1982, President Joe Biden decided to vote for a constitutional change that would have let states overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. He said, "I'm probably a victim or a product of my background, depending on how you want to say it."
Even more remarkable, five of the seven United States Supreme Court judges who voted to legalize abortion across the country in the Roe V. Wade decision were Republicans. Religious differences are the primary cause of the rift. 77% of White evangelical Protestants want abortion to be prohibited in most cases.
According to Pew Research polls, while 21% support abortion in at least some cases. Abortion should be permitted in all or most instances, according to 63% of non-evangelical white Protestants.
55% of Catholics accept legal abortion in all or most circumstances. Whereas 43% believe it should be outlawed in all most cases, according to research. Also, many reports claim that 59% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most instances. Certain individuals propose "some circumstances" or exceptions to bans, including pregnancies induced by rape or incest. In a Pew Research survey, 70% of women and 69% of men said they do not want Roe v. Wade to be entirely reversed.
So What's Going To Happen Now?
The Supreme Court has delegated the states the authority to regulate or prohibit abortion. Twenty-two states have adopted laws that prohibit abortion immediately. The vast majority are in states that Donald Trump won during the 2016 presidential election. Now, the United States will have a mishmash of laws.
In red states with Republican-controlled legislatures, abortion is likely to be prohibited or made significantly more difficult to get. And in blue states, where Democrats typically win the presidency and control the legislature, abortion access will be maintained. It will result in a highly uncomfortable slew of new national rules and regulations.
Reversing the right to an abortion is equivalent to reversing modernity. Women would face greater risks and tougher lives without access to legal and medically safe abortions. In the event of unintended pregnancy, it forces women into a dangerously uncertain space where being a forced mother could completely change the course of their lives. The Supreme Court's decision on abortion has been criticized on many levels because it takes away women's freedom to choose for themselves.