Roe V Wade Overturned by the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Overturns Roe V Wade
The Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on June 24, 2022. (JWHO). The verdict affirmed Mississippi's restriction on abortions beyond 15 weeks of gestation, overturned Roe v. Wade, and abolished the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

By reversing Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court wiped out over fifty years of precedent. They removed our ability to make our own medical decisions and transferred it to legislators. The court's judgment is especially detrimental to Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color, whose access to opportunities and health care has long been obstructed by systematic racism.

The decision paves the way for states to ban abortion.

The decision will have a ripple effect, causing abortion bans to spread throughout the United States. About half of the states could move to eliminate abortion access. Some of these states have instant prohibitions on abortion. Others are run by anti-abortion legislators with a history of adopting abortion bans.

Before Roe v. Wade

To comprehend the threat posed by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade reverse, it is necessary to examine the past. As with birth control, abortion has ancient roots in societies throughout the world. When U.S. lawmakers began outlawing abortion in the late 19th century, they forced a hitherto private affair underground. Abortion became cloaked in anonymity.

Consequences of Making Abortion Illegal

When legislators in the United States criminalized abortion, doctors and patients were forced into the shadows.

The criminalization of abortion transformed a safe health care practice into one fraught with significant legal dangers. It exposed law-abiding individuals to monitoring, arrest, inquiry, prosecution, and other criminal sanctions. The police were typically male, and their investigations humiliated women by requiring them  and others to expose intimate details about their sexual lives. In addition to the immediate criminal consequences, employment was lost and families were disturbed.

Numerous physicians and midwives ceased delivering abortions, and some began reporting colleagues who continued to do so. Women who could not afford to pay the few clinicians giving abortions, or who feared being prosecuted, sometimes attempted risky self-abortion methods. If they experienced issues and went to the hospital, the police may be notified.

The Roe v. Wade Effect: Legal Abortion

The 22 January 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion worldwide. It offered people the right to access abortions legally across the nation and liberated them to receive the care they required without fear.

"The 'liberty' safeguarded by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment encompasses more than the freedoms specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights... Several decisions of this Court make it plain that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the freedom of personal choice in aspects of marriage and family life... This right necessarily involves a woman's right to choose whether to terminate her pregnancy.

— Concurring Opinion by Justice Potter Stewart in Roe v. Wade (Jan. 22, 1973)

In the 49 Years Since Roe v. Wade, Restriction and Racism Have Made Abortion Unattainable.
However, even after Roe v. Wade, the right to abortion did not guarantee abortion availability.

Racism and Intolerance

Even when Americans had the constitutional right to abortion, sysytemic racism, white supremacy, and coercive reproductive policies made abortion inaccessible to many. Obtaining an abortion depends on your race, as well as your financial situation, your health insurance status, and your ZIP code. There are even greater barriers to abortion access for communities that face centuries-old systemic barriers to health care, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people in rural communities, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, young people, and people struggling to make ends meet.

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overruled, it will be much more difficult for these communities to receive the necessary care. 

Nearly 1 in 4 women in America will have an abortion by age 45.
Overturning Roe v. Wade is not what people want — 80% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal. 

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