WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned a ruling that established women’s constitutional right to abortion.
This overturns a 1973 Supreme Court decision in the Roe vs Wade case, which ruled that the Constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion.
Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said the court overturned the previous ruling because it was “egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
He hoped that Monday’s judgement in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation case would bring “a national settlement” on the abortion issue.
Biden terms verdict ‘tragic error’; California, Oregon and Washington vow to protect access to contraception
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voted with the majority, but said he would have taken “a more measured course,” stopping short of overruling the 1973 decision outright. The court’s three liberal members dissented and one abstained.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan disagreed with the suggestion that the Constitution did not attach any significance to “a woman’s control of her body and the path of her life”.
US President Joe Biden also disagreed with the judgement. In a televised address to his nation, Mr Biden said the court has made a “tragic error” and that the decision had taken America back “150 years”.
“This is an extremely dangerous path the court is now taking us on,” he said. “It is a sad day for the court and a sad day for the country.”
The president said “the court has done something it has never done before: expressly taken away a constitutional right for millions of Americans.”
Protesters descended on the Supreme Court on Friday to speak out against a decision they said would upend decades of precedent in the US.
On the West Coast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint statement pledging to protect access to abortion and contraceptives and to defend patients and doctors from abortion bans in other states.
Some other states, where recent anti-abortion legislation had been blocked by the courts, would act next, activating their dormant legislation while others would revive pre-Roe abortion bans, the report added.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022