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Home / News / Politics / Landmark Roe v. Wade ruling overturned

Landmark Roe v. Wade ruling overturned

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In a tendentious — yet expected — turn of events, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday morning in a 6-3 decision, ending 50 years of the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

While off the books from a federal sense, the reversal returns the power to the individual states for the first time since 1973. 

More than half of the states in the country are slated to restrict or fully outlaw their abortion laws, with 13 of those — including Idaho, Nevada and Missouri — holding trigger laws that will go into effect immediately. 

‘They Simply Took It Away’

California will remain a safe haven for women seeking abortions and reproductive services, as will Oregon and Washington.

“It’s not hyperbole to say it’s a very solemn moment,” President Joe Biden said in his press conference Friday. “They didn’t limit it, they simply took it away. It’s a sad day for the country in my opinion, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.”

Biden opines; sharing sentiments similar to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who called the decision a betrayal of the commitments made by recently appointed justices who, under oath, swore to keep their promises.

“It is a repudiation of some of our nation’s most cherished values, from the right to privacy to the right of everyone to make their own health care decisions,” Schiff said in a statement. “The fact that this opinion does not come as a surprise does not make it any less traumatic for the millions of women now stripped of their access to safe and legal abortion; it does not make it any less frightening for the millions of people now worried about whether their fundamental freedoms will be the next to fall.”

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. | Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were the justices in favor of the overturn, while Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer were those against.

Conservative Justices: Abortion Not A Constitutional Right

The 213-page opinion from the majority, written by Justice Samuel Alito, harkens the leaked Supreme Court opinion and continues an attempt to reinforce the narrative that abortion rights are not inherently a part of the Constitution, thusly not protected by anything but a decision he and others have sought to overturn for decades. 

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment,” writes Alito. 

In their dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan posited that “The same could be said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not tampering with. The majority could write just as long an opinion showing, for example, that until the mid-20th century, ‘there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain [contraceptives].’” They continued, “So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure.”

Catholic Bishops Applaud

Expectedly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke of the decision as a “historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers.”

“We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said a statement by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB president, and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities released today. 

“We give thanks to God for today’s decision… This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born,” the New York Catholic bishops said amid the court’s announcement. 

Pro-Choice Advocates Respond

Protests are expected, as is the inundation of patients in need to clinics still able to provide these resources. “We reject the tactics and threats of groups that use destruction and violence as a means to an end,” said a joint statement from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Liberate Abortion Campaign. “They do not speak for us, our supporters, our communities, or our movement. We are committed to protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive freedoms through peaceful, non-violent organizing and activism.”

As of the time of publication, the following local protests are scheduled to happen concurrently with the activity outside of the Supreme Court:

  • 6 p.m. outside the Long Beach Courthouse, 275 Magnolia Ave. (Long Beach Resister Sisters);
  • 6 p.m. at Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue in Fullerton (Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties);
  • 5 p.m. at Indian Hill and Foothill boulevards in Claremont; and
  • 6 p.m. at Alton Parkway and Culver Drive in Irvine (Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties
  • 7:30 p.m. at 132 N. Euclid Ave. in Pasadena 
  • Saturday at 10 a.m. at Grand Park in downtown LA

This story is developing, though each side is forthright in its stances.

As the country’s figurehead, Biden’s only resolution is the restoration of abortion rights as federal law, though criticizes his own lack of power as president to do so.

His expression of sympathy and bewilderment was evident throughout his press conference, drawing attention to the all too frequent circumstances of young girls being forced to “bear their rapist’s child” or having to “carry a child as a consequence of incest.” 

A tragic reality, though one many have faced in the past and will now have to endure in the present. He does offer solace, however, in trying to assure that travel to abortion-legal states and necessary medications will be accessible despite the reversal. “My administration will defend that bedrock right,” Biden said. A sentiment echoed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland: “The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waiver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

“This is not over,” Biden concluded. 

But for women and others who are unable to get abortions, it seems like it is.

Cervanté Pope can be reached at cpope@heymediagroup.com.

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