Live updates: The Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
In a 6-3 vote along ideological lines, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a strict Mississippi abortion law. It also overturned Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old case that was the basis for legal abortion across the United States.
These are some of the stories we're following:
- The majority opinion: The Roe decision was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided,” the court stated in a syllabus included with its lengthy decision.
- Scathing dissent: "After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had," wrote Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
- What happens next: Widespread bans on abortion in the United States likely will havefar-reaching effects.
At least 10 people were arrested during protests in Eugene, Ore.
Police in Eugene, Ore., arrested 10 people during a demonstration outside of a crisis pregnancy center on Friday night, according to a statement on the city’s website.
Earlier in the day, hundreds had rallied peacefully in front of the federal courthouse in Eugene, joining a national wave of abortion rights protests following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
At around 9:21 p.m., people began arriving at the Dove Medical Center, responding to a social media post calling for a “Night of Rage,” police said. A flyer for the event published in Eugene Weekly read, “If abortions aren’t safe, then they aren’t either.”
The center is “a faith-based, patient-centered organization that encourages informed decision-making about unintended pregnancy,” according to then-CEO Beverly Anderson in a 2014 interview. But such centers do not actually provide reproductive health care and instead focus on counseling pregnant people into not having an abortion, according to Planned Parenthood.
In response, Eugene Police’s Mobile Response Team blocked access to the building with a line of vehicles and officers. During the five-hour standoff, protesters shut down 11th Avenue. Police reported that “unknown people in the crowd threw smoke bombs at officers along with several filled water bottles.”
After 2 a.m., police began firing pepperballs and arresting those who would not heed a warning to disperse. One arrest was caught on video by local Register-Guard reporter Louis Krauss.
This is not the only incident of police breaking up protesters angry about the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. The Los Angeles Police Department declared protests there an “unlawful assembly” on Friday and made some arrests, according to local news outlets.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sue Utah to stop its abortion 'trigger ban'
Planned Parenthood of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Utah over its 'trigger law' banning most abortions.
The lawsuit argues that the state's abortion ban violates the Utah Constitution — which, Planned Parenthood said, "protects pregnant Utahns’ rights to determine when and whether to have a family, and to determine what happens with their own bodies and lives."
Utah's trigger law, which passed in the state in 2020, makes abortion a crime, excepting if a mother’s life is at risk, there is a serious fetal abnormality, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. The law took effect on Friday after the Supreme Court overturnedRoe v. Wade.
Around the nation, demonstrators show support for abortion rights
As nearly two dozen states move to ban or restrict access to abortion following Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights protests continued across the country.
Marchers streamed through downtown Boston, with changes of “What do we want? Abortion rights,” according to GBH’s Jeremy Siegel.
In Philadelphia, Democratic attorney general and candidate for governor Josh Shapiro held a rally near the Liberty Bell, putting November’s election in focus. With a GOP majority in both chambers, the Keystone State could restrict abortion if a Republican wins the gubernatorial race.
Shapiro told the crowd of more than a thousand, “The reason why I’m hopeful today is because you’re here,” reported WHYY’s Emily Rizzo.
I’m at the National Constitution Center in Philly, where Josh Shapiro and other local officials are rallying in support of abortion rights. After speaking to just a few people, there’s lots of anger and concern that so much hinges on this race for governor. pic.twitter.com/gQ1iZbxX4O— Emily Rizzo (@_emilyrizzo_) June 25, 2022
In a statement, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the GOP candidate, said, “Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history.”
He is the prime sponsor of a bill to restrict abortion in Pennsylvania.
In Washington, D.C., protesters in favor of abortion rights continued gathering for a second day of protest in front of the Supreme Court building, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports.
One man even slept on top of D.C.’s Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge as a form of protest, Business Insider reports.
While most rallies were entirely peaceful, deputies with the Arizona Department of Public Safety fired tear gas at demonstrators outside of the capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday. It briefly disrupted the legislative session, according to KJZZ’s Ben Giles.
“Republican state Sen. T.J. Shope said senators briefly evacuated the chamber and sheltered in an underground tunnel connecting the House and Senate before returning to work,” he reported on Saturday.
And in Seattle last night, KNKX's Bellamy Pailthorp reports protesters risked an arrest to stage a sit-in on Second Avenue near the Jackson Federal Building, with another sit-in taking place at Pike Place Market, a popular tourist destination.
A Seattle-based abortion care provider explains how clinics will change
Patients and medical professionals in states that banned abortion in recent days already have begun looking for providers in other states.
Dr. Charlie Browne, a Seattle-based physician with clinics in Washington, Oregon and Nevada, said he already has noticed an uptick in the number of patients calling from the neighboring states of Arizona, Utah and Idaho to schedule the procedure.
Arizona had a pre-Roe abortion ban on the books, while Utah and Idaho both had passed trigger bans prior to the Supreme Court striking down the 50-year-old abortion precedent.
“When things like this happen, the public may not quite understand what it means for them in their home state, so people tend to really react sometimes in ways they may not even have to, because their right to have an abortion in their state hasn’t been taken away yet,” Browne told NPR’s Susan Davis. "But for those states that it will be taken away … we already are seeing a flurry of calls.
“Just like we’ve seen an uptick in patients from other states, I’ve had an uptick in providers from other states who call or email to say they’d like to start seeing patients in these states that are protected.”
Browne said he shudders to think about the return of self-attempted abortions, which can lead to sepsis or other dire medical situations for people who try to end their own pregnancies.
The Supreme Court sees a second day of protests after it overturns Roe
Hundreds were again in front of the Supreme Court, with the crowd growing steadily since noon Saturday. While protesters from both sides of the abortion debate are present, people supporting abortion rights appear to make up most of the crowd.
There's a mix of passion and frustration among those who back abortion rights. Carolyn Yunker, who lives in Maryland, has given up hope on congressional action.
"I have as little faith in Democrats at this point as I did in Republicans," she said. "Democrats have used this for 50 years to fundraise. They had opportunities to codify Roe; they chose not to."
Among those opposing abortion rights, there's a sense of celebration, but also that there are now many more fights to have at the state level.
Mauricio Leone flew in from California after he heard of the decision and is protesting with Live Action. He believes that he and the group now have a duty to "educate people about abortion," and that there's a particular need to talk to men.
"They should be able to support women and everything they need. They should provide emotional support or economic support," he said. "They should provide everything that they can so women feel better about their pregnancies."
More protests may be coming soon. Calls have been circulating online among abortion rights supporters to protest at conservative justices' homes around the D.C. area.
Wisconsin doctors are likely bound by a 19th-century ban
Wisconsin doctors are scrambling to figure out how to approach reproductive care after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.
Without the landmark decision that affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion, Wisconsin providers are likely bound by a 19th-century ban on nearly all abortions that is still on the books. But many aren't sure exactly what that means for how they can advise and treat patients around pregnancy in 2022.
Read more at wpr.org, home of Wisconsin Public Radio.
Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley praises the Supreme Court's abortion ruling
The Catholic Church's Cardinal Seán O’Malley praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, calling it “a new chapter.”
“For all of us who have spoken, written, worked, marched, and prayed to reverse Roe v. Wade, [the] Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is deeply significant and encouraging,” the archbishop of Boston wrote in a statement.
Mississippi clinic at center of the court ruling is about to close. The owner says it will open one in New Mexico
The trigger law banning most abortions will take effect in just 9 days. The only exceptions to abortion in Mississippi will be in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the pregnant person.
The Jackson clinic told WWNO’s Rosemary Westwood it is fully booked and not accepting any more appointments as it tries to schedule in as many people as possible before closing.
“We’re not laying down, we’re not giving up,” said Diane Derzis, owner of the Jackson clinic.
“Women have always had abortions no matter what it took, even if it was their life, and we’re going to make sure that that’s not on the line here,” she said.
Derzis plans to open a new clinic in New Mexico, and she said it will help women get there from other states.
Louisville reacts with mixed emotions after trigger law bans abortions in Kentucky
While some celebrated the new abortion ban in Kentucky, others protested with rage.
The state’s trigger ban immediately went into effect Friday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the only independent abortion clinic in Kentucky, is closed and no longer providing abortion care. EMW shares a wall with BsideU for Life, a clinic whose goal is to convince women not to get an abortion.
The majority of people in Kentucky – 57% – support an abortion ban, according to a Pew poll. There will be a festival Saturday in Louisville to celebrate the new abortion ban.
But on Friday, hundreds of people in Louisville protested against the Supreme Court’s ruling. One of them was Stephanie Aybare.
“I'm scared for all of the women in my life, scared for all of the teenagers, all the girls who are now able to have babies, I'm scared for everybody, I'm just angry,” Aybare told NPR.
Aybare said she’s worried that access to birth control is next.
NPR also spoke with a 63-year-old woman who requested the recorder be turned off during an interview due to the sensitivity of her story.
The woman said she got an abortion in Kentucky nearly 50 years ago when Roe v. Wade first became law after being repeatedly raped at the age of 13 and without money, family support or the ability to care for a baby.
The woman said she feels like that powerless teen again and is thinking of all the 13-year-old girls who might be out there with a similar story but would today be forced to continue the pregnancy.
Eight people’s stories about abortion, told in their own words
WBEZ spoke to residents in the Chicago area about their personal experiences and varied perspectives on abortion.
Here are some of their stories, told in their own words, and edited for brevity.
California's governor signs a bill to shield patients threatened by abortion bans in other states
Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will take extra steps to ensure it is a safe haven for people seeking abortions from out-of-state following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I want people to know all around the rest of the country and many parts of the globe, that I hope we’re your antidote to your fear, your anxiety,” Newsom said at a news conference in Sacramento.
During his remarks, the governor signed Assembly Bill 1666, which is intended to shield patients and providers who have or assist with an abortion in California from being sued in other states with abortion bans.
Abortion providers shift practices as states enact bans
While the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, abortion providers in some states already had a preview of a post-Roe world.
When Texas' law restricting abortions took effect last year, the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City doubled the number of days a week it provided abortions, according to Dr. Maya Bass. Even so, many pregnant people had to wait, to save money for a longer trip or to get off the waitlist.
"So we're seeing people who are later in pregnancy. We're seeing people who are sicker," Bass said.
This May, Oklahoma banned almost all abortions.
The clinic shut down. Once again, providers shifted to expand appointments elsewhere — this time, in Kansas, where abortion remains legal.
Abortion funds and clinics also started doing more outreach and education. In some states, pills that induce an abortion are available by mail. Providers expanded efforts to counsel patients over the phone about where to get them and how to use them.
"In a lot of ways, this is going to look different than before Roe. But if people don't know about [medication abortion], they might try other less safe options," Bass said.
Biden vows to do what he can to protect women’s rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe
“Jill and I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans — and I mean so many Americans,” Biden said, just before he signed the first major gun safety bill into law in roughly three decades.
Biden said the decision is left up to the states, which each have their own laws regarding abortion rights. A number of states with trigger laws have already banned abortion following the Supreme Court decision Friday, including Missouri, Kentucky and South Dakota.
“My administration is gonna focus on how they administer it and whether or not they violate other laws, like deciding to not allow people to cross state lines to get public health services, and we’re gonna take action to protect women’s rights and reproductive health,” Biden said.
Asked whether he thinks the Supreme Court is broken, Biden said, “The court has made some terrible decisions.”
What’s next for anti-abortion groups?
Anti-abortion groups today welcomed news that Roe v. Wade was overturned, but say their work is not done yet.
Lynda Bell is the chairwoman of the board of directors for the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion organization, which was holding its annual convention in Georgia on Friday.
Bell said the next thing the organization planned to tackle was implementing its own “model legislation” in as many states as possible. Goals for this legislation include allowing abortion in cases where the mother’s life is threatened. In cases of rape or incest, however, they do not intend to get involved.
“That wouldn't be our job,” Bell said. “That's why each particular state is going to have the ability and the right to pass legislation that is reflective of that particular state.”
Former governor who signed a law at the center of Roe ruling reacts to the SCOTUS decision
To the women of Mississippi who are devastated by the Supreme Court’s decision today, the state’s former governor Phil Bryant has a message: pray hard.
“I would say, first you need to kneel and pray to God, who is the god of everyone, that in your heart you can understand that that is a living human being. And that what you're planning is destruction of a human life,” he said.
Mississippi is the state that brought about this moment in America.
Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only abortion provider in the state and the defendant in the case that the Supreme Court decided today. It concerned a state law enacted in 2018 by then-Governor Bryant.
He welcomed the court’s ruling today, and said he would also support legislation that would prevent or punish women who left Mississippi and received an abortion in another state.
“If you're going to, as we did, believe that abortion is murder, you must do all of that you can't stop it,” Bryant said.
“I think people will start thinking about something called individual responsibility, I think they're going to have to take into consideration that I might not be able to get an abortion on demand.”
Abortion rights activists are ready to fight trigger laws like Louisiana's
In the hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed for nearly 50 years, abortion-rights advocates vowed to fight the implementation and enforcement of abortion trigger laws that have banned the procedure in states like Louisiana.
Louisiana was one of only three states whose trigger law took effect immediately after the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, imposing a near-absolute ban on the procedure from the moment of implantation and stiff criminal penalties on the doctors who perform the procedure.
Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights — the group that defended the facility at the center of the case that prompted Friday’s historic ruling — said her organization already has “about three dozen” pending abortion-rights cases across the country.
"We will be back in court tomorrow and the next day and the next day making sure as much as possible abortion access can be retained," she said.
Read more at wwno.org, home of New Orleans Public Radio.
Roe reversal prompts abortion providers to immediately halt care in many states
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has forced groups that provide abortions to halt those services in many states where abortion is either now illegal or soon to be illegal.
Planned Parenthood will no longer provide abortions at its facilities in states that have abortion bans, according to a spokesperson for the organization.
"We will follow all state laws and regulations in these states that have abortion bans," their director of affiliate communications Lauren Kokum told NPR.
Due to the fluid "legal landscapes" in individual states, Kokum said she couldn't say how many states or locations in which its abortion services remain available, but noted the 13 states that have a “trigger ban” on abortion, which takes effect either immediately, by state official certification or 30 days after Roe is overturned.
More than 20 states are poised to immediately ban or restrict access to abortions as soon as possible, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.
Whole Woman’s Health, a private company that manages nine clinics in five U.S. states, said it temporarily closed all four of its Texas clinics and canceled appointments scheduled there on Friday in response to the ruling.
In addition to a ban that predates Roe, Texas is also one of the "trigger ban" states and is set to outlaw abortion within 30 days of the Roe reversal. State Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Twitter that abortion is “now illegal in Texas,” following the Supreme Court decision.
“We don’t agree with Ken Paxton about the interpretation of the criminal abortion ban,” said Whole Woman’s Health President Amy Hagstrom Miller in a video press conference, but that “to protect our staff and to protect our patients, we have ceased providing abortion care today.”
Miller said WWH will continue to work with its lawyers to restart abortion care at its Texas clinics in the coming weeks, but any success will likely be short-lived due to legal pressure.
The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia says it will also stop performing abortions.
"This will force West Virginians to travel hundreds to thousands of miles away from their home to access healthcare and will harm marginalized communities the most," said the center's executive director Katie Quinonez, echoing a condemnation against the ruling shared by abortion-rights supporters and reproductive health providers.
The University of California hospital system is planning to help more patients seeking abortions
The University of California's hospital system is "investigating options" to provide more patient care and help medical professionals be educated about abortion services.
That's according to Dr. Nerys Benfield, chief medical officer for women's health at the University of California San Francisco.
"It's a really sad state that we have to talk about creating a safe haven for women seeking evidence-based medical care," she told NPR.
Benfield anticipates Southern California will see more travelers from states like Arizona, which recently enacted a 15-week abortion ban.
For now, she plans to give a virtual hug to her mother, who protested five decades ago for abortion rights, and to go home to hug her child, "to let them know that we still live in a place where women's lives are valued."
"I'm just going to keep caring for the women and the families that I care for here who are fortunately still able to decide for themselves what's best."
Dozens of elected prosecutors say they won't prosecute those seeking or assisting abortions
Dozens of elected prosecutors across several states and counties nationwide say they will refuse to prosecute anybody who is seeking, assisting or providing an abortion.
In a joint statement released Friday by the Fair and Just Prosecution, the 84 district attorneys and attorneys general said: "Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion. But we stand together in our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions."
"As such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who seek, provide, or support abortions," the statement adds.
The list of those in the joint statement include elected prosecutors from 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Patagonia promises to cover bail for its workers who ‘peacefully protest’ abortion ruling
Patagonia, a California-based outdoor apparel company, announced Friday that it will pay for bail for full- and part-time employees who "peacefully protest for reproductive justice."
In a statement posted to LinkedIn, the company also said it would pay for travel, lodging and food for employees who have to travel to obtain an abortion.
“Caring for employees extends beyond basic health insurance, so we take a more holistic approach to coverage and support overall wellness to which every human has a right,” the company said.
Patagonia said all employees are also eligible for other benefits, including time off for voting and medical plans that cover abortion.
Planned Parenthood Arizona is pausing abortion services over ruling
Planned Parenthood Arizona says it is stopping abortion services across the state given the Supreme Court's recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
In an announcement posted on Facebook, the organization said: "Planned Parenthood Arizona has made the difficult decision to pause Abortion services because of the complex legal landscape in our state."
The nonprofit is urging anyone who had an abortion appointment through Planned Parenthood to contact their local health care center for additional information and services.
State attorney general says most abortions are now banned in Kentucky
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron says now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, most abortions are now banned in the commonwealth.
In a statementreleased Friday, Cameron announced that Kentucky has issued an advisory on the commonwealth's "Human Life Protection Act," which was passed in 2019.
Under that law, no person may “knowingly cause or aid in the ‘termination of the life of an unborn human being.’ ” The law says performing a prohibited abortion is a felony. Abortions to save the life of the mother would still be permitted.
Georgia attorney general files court request to allow the state's 'heartbeat' law to take effect
The Georgia attorney general’s office has filed a court request with the 11th Circuit to permit Georgia’s "heartbeat" law to take effect.
The state's measure, which had been on hold since it passed in 2019, prohibits nearly all abortions after six weeks.
"I believe in the dignity, value and worth of every human being, both born and unborn," Attorney General Chris Carr said in a tweet.
"The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is constitutionally correct and rightfully returns the issue of abortion to the states and to the people – where it belongs," he added.
Global reproductive and women's rights groups react to the overturning of Roe V. Wade
How will the overturn of Roe v. Wade affect abortion rights and access outside the U.S.?
Groups that are opposed to abortion have welcomed the decision, including the Family Resource Council, which has called it "a major victory for life." But many global reproductive and women's rights groups are condemning the decision and warn that the U.S. overturning of the constitutional right to abortion will have far-reaching effects around the globe.
Here's a sampling of reactions:
"Almost all unsafe abortions currently occur in developing countries, and UNFPA fears that more unsafe abortions will occur around the world if access to abortion becomes more restricted." — UNFPA, the United Nations' sexual and reproductive health agency
"From the Global GagRule to U.S.-funded anti-choice groups who harass women outside our clinics and lobby governments to restrict access, decisions made in the U.S. have an impact far beyond their borders." — Sarah Shaw, global head of advocacy for MSI Reproductive Choices
"We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions and that when abortion bans are enacted, women and pregnant people die, as we have seen across the globe.” — Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, director-general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation
NAACP calls overturning Roe v. Wade an 'egregious assault on basic human rights'
The NAACP says the Supreme Court's decision in overturning Roe v. Wade will disproportionately affect Black women and "marks a significant regression of our country."
"As a legal professional, I am horrified by this decision. As a Black woman, I am outraged to my core. The deciding Justices have ignored fundamental civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution and years of judicial precedent to advance a politically partisan agenda," NAACP General Counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace said in a statement.
“There is no denying the fact that this is a direct attack on all women and Black women stand to be disproportionately impacted by the court’s egregious assault on basic human rights,” she said.
Additionally, Portia White, the policy and legislative affairs vice president for the NAACP, urged Americans to “fight back” against the court's decision by voting.
"This Supreme Court is turning back the clock to a dangerous era where basic constitutional rights only exist for a select few. They've stripped away our right to vote, and now women have lost their right to their own body. What’s next?" White said.
Cheers and tears outside the Supreme Court as groups clash over the ruling
“I can’t believe we’re here,” said Poppy Louthan.
She was crying against a wall on the walking path between the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court. She had come from Seattle to Washington for a librarian’s conference when news broke that the court had overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Women are gonna die,” she said through tears. “I’m just overcome with grief.”
Behind her, the shouts of protesters and revelers alike melted together in the humid air. On the right side of the crowd, a small street party was in full swing as anti-abortion groups sang songs like “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. On the left, angry demonstrators held up signs, some hastily made from cardboard boxes.
The celebratory singing from the right quickly transitioned into something new: a chant of “not your body, not your choice.”
“I’m very excited, very happy, very grateful,” said Kelsey Smith from Clemson, South Carolina.
Mason Deshant, who called himself the “pro-life Spiderman,” traveled to D.C. from Las Vegas and was holding a sign that read “make abortion unthinkable.”
“I can barely stand right now,” he said. “The champagne came out.”
He was confronted by D.C. resident Dakota Starn. “Do you have any background in reproductive health?” she asked. Deshant replied that he has a brother who is a doctor. A heated debate ensued about the definition of murder, but Starn eventually walked away with her middle finger in the air.
Meanwhile, news began breaking of trigger laws going into effect, including South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Alabama.
A woman with a stroller was slowly walking in a quieter part of the crowd, visibly holding back tears. She paused to sit on the sidewalk while her son ate a snack in his seat. Without giving her name for privacy reasons, she said she had two children at home. And has had one abortion.
“I’m devastated that there will be women who won’t have access here,” she said.
She didn’t have time to make a sign and is hoping someone has extras. The ones grabbing her attention right now are black and white and read “I will aid and abet abortion” — a reference to several laws that seek to criminalize the act of helping someone obtain an illegal abortion.
“There were so many women who helped me get an abortion when I was desperate and needed it,” she said. “I personally will help anyone I know who needs one. No matter what the legal landscape is.”
Crowds grow outside the Supreme Court following the overturning of Roe v. Wade
Demonstrators from both the abortion rights movement and the anti-abortion rights movement gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday following the ruling that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion that was guaranteed nearly 50 years ago by the decision in Roe v. Wade.
While the debate around the issue has been contentious at times, the scene outside the court remained calm as Friday afternoon set in and crowds continued to grow.
Signs reading “Rise up for abortion rights” were juxtaposed with those saying “I’m the post-Roe generation," NPR's Laurel Wamsley reported from the scene.
Those who opposed abortion rights sang their own rendition of Steam’s classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” to celebrate what they view as a victory. They were met by chants of “safe and legal” from abortion-rights supporters.
Though the decision came on Friday, it has largely been expected since early May, when a draft opinion indicating the court was poised to overturn Roe was leaked. Security measures were increased around the court following the leak and remain in place today, including fencing around the entire court building, with surrounding sidewalks also blocked off.
Alabama clinic begins turning away patients who had abortion appointments
An abortion provider in Alabama has begun breaking the news to patients that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, and advising them that due to trigger laws they would not be able to go ahead with their planned procedure.
Robin Marty is the operations director of a women’s center in Alabama, a state with pre-emptive trigger laws that immediately went into effect banning abortion after the Supreme Court decision was announced.
“Even the patients who were having their appointments today were immediately told … we would not be able to provide them an abortion in the state of Alabama,” Marty said.
“For each patient that was still in the clinic, we spoke to them and offered to both do their first day appointment, regardless of paperwork, that they could then take to a clinic that we would be referring them to outside of our state, over in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Marty said these women had been left "abandoned" by the decision, and the clinic would pivot to other care it could provide.
“We said that we would do everything financially and logistically possible to make this transfer easy for them. I'm currently online raising a pool of funds in order to make sure that they are paid for gas for their new procedures, for hotels if they need them.”
Trump says abortion decision was 'possible because I delivered everything as promised'
Former President Donald Trump claimed credit for today’s abortion decision and other conservative victories at the Supreme Court that were delivered with votes from the three justices that he nominated: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
"Today’s decision, which is the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation, along with other decisions that have been announced recently, were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court," Trump said in a statement.
The governors of Oregon, California and Washington are coordinating to protect abortion access
As OPB's Amelia Templeton and Lauren Drake report, the Democratic governors of Oregon, California and Washington announced a coordinated effort to take executive action to strengthen legal protections for abortion providers and patients who travel to the West Coast from states where abortion is banned.
For more head to OPB.org.
Anti-abortion groups rejoice as Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
Abortion-rights supporters and opponents alike have long awaited the court’s decision since a draft opinion was leaked nearly two months ago. And while Friday’s ruling left many people outraged, those who oppose abortions were overjoyed.
“This is a great day for preborn children and their mothers,” Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said in statement Friday. “The Court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the constitution, thereby allowing the people, through their elected representatives, to have a voice in this very important decision.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of the anti-abortion group Students for Life of America, describedRoe v. Wade as a “cancer growing in our Constitution” that was cut out by the Supreme Court justices. Following Friday’s win, the organization said it is reorganizing to tackle abortion rights at the state level.
Planned Parenthood prepares to go ‘state by state’ in fight for abortion access
Planned Parenthood is getting ready to go “state by state, restriction by restriction, ban by ban” to fight for abortion access, according to the organization’s CEO and president Alexis McGill Johnson.
“The abortion rights movement will continue to fight and I think it will become stronger than ever,” she said.
In the hours after the Supreme Court ruling was announced, Johnson said Planned Parenthood was also preparing to help women travel between states in search of the care they needed.
“It is around trying to support them with travel, getting the appointments, and making sure that they have what they need,” Johnson said. “We're looking at an eventuality where we're looking for 24 states to absorb the abortion care of 50. And that will mean that some people will be forced into pregnancy. And that is devastating to think about.”
Johnson said the ruling that overturned Roe v Wade left her feeling of “overwhelming sadness and devastation.”
“I think anybody who sat in the court or heard the oral arguments in December knew that the justices were poised to make this decision. And this week obviously confirmed that,” she said. “But [we were] still holding out hope that cruelty wouldn't prevail in this decision.”
Abortions are illegal in South Dakota as of today
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says that as of today, “all abortions are illegal in South Dakota ‘unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female.' "
In addition, Noem says she plans for a special session later this year.
'This fall, Roe is on the ballot,' President Biden says
The Supreme Court's decision to overturn its Roe v Wade decision brings the country to a "very solemn moment," President Biden said after the justices released their long-awaited ruling. With Roe gone, Biden said, "the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk."
Biden noted that three of the justices who voted to reject Roe were appointed by former President Donald Trump.
“Make no mistake, this decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades” to clamp down on abortion access, Biden said. "It's a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view.”
And he urged abortion rights supporters to make the issue a priority in upcoming elections.
"This fall, Roe is on the ballot," Biden said.
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized,” Biden said. “They didn't limit it -- they simply took it away. That's never been done to a right so important to so many Americans. But they did it. It's a sad day for the court, and for the country.”
JP Morgan says it will cover employees' abortion travel costs
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, has joined a host of companies that have said they will cover the cost for employees who need to travel out of state for abortions.
After the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, JP Morgan reminded employees in a memo that if they live in states where abortion is outlawed, the company will cover the cost of travel to a state where it's legal, beginning in July.
“As always, we’re focused on the health and well-being of our employees, and want to ensure equitable access to all benefits,” Patricia Wexler, a JP Morgan spokesperson, said.
The banking giant is one of many companies that have said they will cover such travel costs. Amazon and Levi Strauss announced changes to their policies in early May, after a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked that suggested Roe would be overturned. Entertainment companies Paramount, Netflix and Warner Bros. announced Friday they plan to cover travel costs for abortions as well.
With Roe overturned, LGBTQ activists worry same-sex marriage is next
For years, LGBTQ+ activists have warned that overturning Roe. V Wade could have a domino effect onto other civil rights granted by Supreme Court rulings.
With the announcement of today’s decision, advocates are concerned about specific language that prioritizes values rooted specifically in the tradition and history of the United States.
The 2015 case, Obergefell v. Hodges, which solidified Americans’ right to same-sex marriage, is just seven years old, an age that leads community members to believe it too could soon be at risk of being overturned.
Civil rights activist Jim Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the 2015 case, and recently shared his perspective on the leaked Supreme Court draft before Roe V. Wade was officially struck down.
“There is definitely widespread fear,” he said. “But it's also one of those things where I consider my job right now to help educate people, to help them understand why they should be concerned, why they should be afraid and why they shouldn't just think, ‘Well, that really isn't going to happen.’”
“It could happen, and people need to believe that it could happen.”
Obergefell said people needed to get involved at the state level.
“We're really going to have to rely on states to confirm and to protect, to affirm some of these rights that are at risk with the Supreme Court,” he said. “I think most of us, a lot of us in the community, we're looking at this from the state level, realizing just how important that it always has been, and how important that will be, or could be going forward.”
Liberal justices say the Supreme Court has betrayed its guiding principles
Liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote a dissenting opinion to the court's decision to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion, ending Roe v. Wade.
“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan
The searing dissent responds to arguments from the court's majority, it highlights the extreme burden the court's decision will place on low-income pregnant people, and it accuses the court of betraying its guiding principles while relegating women to second-class citizenship.
"Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens," the dissent reads.
The dissent also reflects on what may come of other precedents connected to Roe, such as contraception rights and same-sex marriage.
How the dissenting justices respond to the majority opinion
The dissenting justices argue against the majority justices' "core legal postulate" that the framers of the 14th Amendment didn't see reproductive rights as central to freedom and therefore those rights shouldn't have constitutional protection today.
Those ratifiers were all men, the dissent notes.
"So it is perhaps not so surprising that the ratifiers were not perfectly attuned to the importance of reproductive rights for women’s liberty," the dissent reads.
"When the majority says that we must read our foundational charter as viewed at the time of ratification (except that we may also check it against the Dark Ages), it consigns women to second-class citizenship," it continues.
The dissenting justices note low-income people will suffer most
The dissent notes that low-income pregnant people seeking abortions will suffer.
"Today’s decision, the majority says, permits 'each State' to address abortion as it pleases. ... That is cold comfort, of course, for the poor woman who cannot get the money to fly to a distant State for a procedure," they write.
The justices note that people who can't obtain legal abortions may turn to unsafe methods that can cause physical harm or death, risks which are higher for Black women and pregnant people. "Experts estimate that a ban on abortions increases maternal mortality by 21 percent, with white women facing a 13 percent increase in maternal mortality while black women face a 33 percent increase," the dissent reads.
The dissenting justices say the decision betrays the Supreme Court's guiding principles
In the dissent, the justices argue the court has upset a balance set by past decisions. "It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of," the justices write.
The three liberal justices say in the dissent that the court has struck down Roe's decades long president not because of new developments or changes in the nation, but due to changes in the makeup of the Supreme Court.
"One of us once said that '[i]t is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much.' S. Breyer, Breaking the Promise of Brown: The Resegregation of America’s Schools 30 (2022). For all of us, in our time on this Court, that has never been more true than today. In overruling Roe and Casey, this Court betrays its guiding principles," the dissent summarizes.
What the dissent says about precedents connected to Roe, like contraception and same-sex marriage
"... the majority tells everyone not to worry. It can (so it says) neatly extract the right to choose from the constitutional edifice without affecting any associated rights. (Think of someone telling you that the Jenga tower simply will not collapse.)" the dissent reads.
"Nor does it even help just to take the majority at its word. Assume the majority is sincere in saying, for whatever reason, that it will go so far and no further. Scout’s honor," the law has a way of evolving past what may have been intended when a case was decided, the justices write.
"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. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other."
The dissent warns the decision in this case could be used to challenge other long decided cases involving freedoms,including the right to use contraception and the right to marry a same-sex partner.
"We fervently hope that does not happen because of today’s decision. We hope that we will not join Justice Scalia in the book of prophets. But we cannot understand how anyone can be confident that today’s opinion will be the last of its kind."
Congressional Black Caucus says the 'Dobbs' decision turns back the hands of time
“The hands of time have once again been turned back,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, as she condemned Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
The caucus is working to send a letter to President Biden asking him to declare a national public health emergency because of the rollback of abortion rights and access, said Beatty, an Ohio Democrat.
The decision will cause particular harm to Black communities, Beatty said, noting that the decision in the Dobbs case comes “in the midst of a Black maternal mortality crisis.”
New restrictions on abortion will result in “government-mandated pregnancy” and policing of women’s bodies, Beatty said.
“We have seen what life was like pre-Roe v. Wade, and America cannot afford to go back,” she said.
New Mexico could see influx at abortion facilities
As KUNM's Alice Fordham explains, New Mexico last year repealed language from the criminal code dating from 1969, which banned abortion. It was not enforceable after the Roe v. Wade verdict in 1973, but could theoretically have been enforced after Roe was struck down.
Clinics in New Mexico are already stretched, especially since Texas banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy last year, but with several neighboring states now set to all but completely ban the procedure, more people are likely to travel to New Mexico for abortion care.
Clinics that offer abortion services have seen more harassment and threats
A new report finds that staff and patients at clinics that offer abortion services are experiencing greater harassment and threats.
The National Abortion Federation found that reports of patients and providers being stalked and assaulted was up in 2021, compared to the year before. The same goes for instances of anti-abortion activists blocking entrances to clinics and trespassing.
Melissa Fowler of the National Abortion Federation said an overturning of Roe may further escalate the trend.
"We've been sending out guidance and security alerts because we know from past experience that news like this can really embolden anti-abortion individuals and groups," Fowler said.
The FBI is also investigating several attacks and threats on anti-abortion centers.
And 19 state attorneys general have called for the Department of Justice to investigate threats on anti-abortion organizations around the country.
Women who are denied abortions risk falling deeper into poverty. So do their kids
Before the Supreme Court legalized abortion with its Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, five states and the District of Columbia had already allowed abortion for several years. Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College, says this provided researchers a natural experiment through which to study the demographic and economic outcomes of women in those states compared with others and then to look at what happened after Roe as well.
Myers says they found profound impacts and were able to document that they were discrete from all the other changes happening in society at the time.
First, legalizing abortion dramatically reduced the number of women and girls who gave birth — and got married — as teenagers. Access to abortion also offered a major boost to women's economic prospects, "allowing them, in turn, to obtain more education, to enter more professional careers, to avoid poverty," Myers says. "And also providing those same economic advantages to the children that they parented later."
Of course, abortion-rights opponents see all this differently. When Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a recent Senate panel that overturning Roe would "set women back decades," she drew a rebuke from Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
"Did you say that ending the life of a child is good for the labor force participation rate?" he asked pointedly. He called it "callous" and "harsh" to frame the "painful reality" of abortion that way.
"As a guy raised by a Black woman in abject poverty," he said, "I'm thankful to be here, as a United States senator."
But Scott's success story is not the norm when those who seek an abortion are denied one. Economist Jason Lindo, with Texas A&M University, says the financial fallout extends well into the lives of such women's children.
"There's a huge empirical literature showing that there are detrimental effects on these kids' outcomes," he says. "When they grow up, they're less likely to attain higher education themselves, they're more likely to be involved in crime, have lower adult earnings."
Research into abortion's economic fallout continues. The landmark Turnaway Study followed women for a decade and found that those denied an abortion were four times as likely to be living in poverty years later.
And economists have gotten more opportunities for "natural experiment" studies as Texas and a growing number of other states have strictly limited abortion in recent years. One analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research calculates that such measurescost state and local economies $105 billion annually by reducing women's labor force participation and earnings.
Justice Department 'will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom,' attorney general says
Calling the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “a devastating blow to reproductive freedom” that will “have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will work to enforce laws and regulations on reproductive rights.
He also said that the department will not tolerate violence or threats of violence against women seeking abortion.
"The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans,” Garland said in a lengthy statement.
Citing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act that prohibits anyone from obstructing access to reproductive health services, Garland said the Justice Department will continue to protect healthcare providers and individuals in states where those services remain legal.
It also will work with other arms of the federal government to preserve access to reproductive care, Garland said. He added that states may not ban use of mifepristone, a drug used to end early pregnancy, based on disagreement with the FDA’s judgment on its safety and efficacy.
Garland also said federal agencies may continue to provide services and states “cannot impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law.”
“The Department strongly supports efforts by Congress to codify Americans’ reproductive rights, which it retains the authority to do. We also support other legislative efforts to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services,” Garland said.
Kansas voters will decide whether to remove the last barrier protecting abortion rights
The country is now covered with a state-by-state patchwork of differing abortion laws. Some states could follow today's ruling by enacting more restrictive laws — including Kansas. But the Sunflower State will first need to change the Kansas Constitution before it can pursue them.
Abortion rights in Kansas currently fall under the protection of a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found the state constitution includes the right to an abortion. But that ruling spurred the Republican-dominated Kansas Legislature to push for a change to the state constitution.
Kansas voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to amend the state constitution with a provision that says it doesn’t promise access to abortion. All Kansas voters may cast a ballot on the issue in that primary, regardless of whether they’re affiliated with a party.
How top Congressional leaders are responding to the Supreme Court opinion
Within minutes of the Supreme Court announcing it had overturned the Roe v. Wade, Democratic congressional leaders put out statements admonishing voters to elect more Democrats while Republicans praised years of activism and pushed to go further.
Democrats currently control Congress, but they are expected to lose their majorities in the November midterm elections, which would allow Republicans to pass legislation on abortion. The parties have fought bitterly about abortion rights for years, and Friday’s statements highlighted the acrimony between them, as they traded accusations of “extremism” and being “radicals.
Here are their reactions:
A visibly angry House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, denounced the Supreme Court decision’s overturning Roe v. Wade and vowed the issue would be a factor in the midterm elections.
“Today the Republican controlled Supreme Court achieved their dark, extreme goal of ripping away woman’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions. Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican party, their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedoms than their mothers,” Pelosi told a Capitol Hill press conference.
Pelosi warned, “be aware of this: the Republican are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the congress to do that, but that’s their goal.”
“This is deadly serious but we are not going to let this pass. A woman’s right to choose, reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November. We cannot allow them to take charge so they can institute their goal, which is to criminalize reproductive freedom.”
Pelosi called the decision “a slap in the face to women” who want to make their own judgement about their health.
The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, said on Twitter that “the Court is right to return the power to protect the unborn to the people’s elected representatives in Congress and the states.”
“In the days that follow, we must keep rejecting extreme policies that seek to allow late-term abortions and taxpayer dollars to fund these elective procedures," he added. "Much work remains to protect the most vulnerable among us.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, called Friday “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen.” Like Pelosi, he too noted that Republicans had appointed the majority of the court.
Referring to Trump’s old campaign line of “Make America Great Again,” or “MAGA,” Schumer said, in part:
“Today’s decision makes crystal clear the contrast as we approach the November elections: elect more MAGA Republicans if you want nationwide abortion bans, the jailing of women and doctors and no exemptions for rape or incest. Or, elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe and protect a woman’s right to make their own decisions about their body, not politicians.”
Senate Minority Leader McConnell, meanwhile, called Democrats “extreme on abortion.” Saying that he shared in the joy anti-abortion activists were experiencing, McConnell called the decision is “an historic victory for the Constitution.”
"The Court has corrected a terrible legal and moral error, like when Brown v. Board overruled Plessy v. Ferguson," he said. "The Justices applied the Constitution. They carefully weighed the complex factors regarding precedent. The Court overturned mistaken rulings that even liberals have long admitted were incoherent, restoring the separation of powers. I commend the Court for its impartiality in the face of attempted intimidation."
What the end of Roe could mean for the rest of the world
Some countries have taken unprecedented steps to expand access to abortion in recent years, but international rights groups have long warned that overturning Roe v. Wade could weaken abortion rights around the world, potentially leading some nations to adopt new restrictive laws.
As NPR's Ayana Archie and Joe Hernandez report:
Many countries are expanding abortion access
Ireland legalized abortion in 2019, Argentina legalized it in 2020 and Mexico's Supreme Court voted to decriminalize abortion last year. In February, Colombia's highest court legalized abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Global Justice Center said in a joint brief that 60% of women of reproductive age live in countries where abortion is available.
"Only 26 countries, representing 5% of women of reproductive age, ban or prohibit abortion altogether," they wrote.
The brief adds that 34 of the 36 countries that the United Nations classifies as "economically developed"— including the U.S. — make abortions accessible. Poland and Malta were the lone exceptions.
The groups also note that the U.S. has signed several international treaties (including the U.N.'s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) that include the right to nondiscrimination; the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment; the right to privacy; and the right to life.
By restricting access to abortions, the organizations argue, people will be forced to seek out unsafe and unsanitary procedures — therefore jeopardizing their right to life.
But those looking to crack down on abortion could use the U.S. as an example
Human rights advocates say the reversal of Roe not only would damage the perception of the U.S. on the world stage, but also could lead some countries to adopt more restrictive laws of their own.
Licha Nyiendo, chief legal officer of the group Human Rights First, wrote in a statement after the draft opinion leak that such a move constituted a "step in a very dangerous direction for everyone in the United States and a frightening signal to authoritarians around the world that they can strip long-established rights from their countries' people."
Tarah Demant, Amnesty International's interim national director for programs, advocacy and government affairs, told NPR that other countries could point to the U.S. to legitimize their own restrictive policies.
Take Poland for example, she said: The country has faced criticism from the European Union for severely limiting abortion, but soon could argue that the bloc's close ally has done nearly the same thing.
"You're looking at an emboldened anti-rights movement," Demant said.
The Dobbs case: What it is and how we got here
The Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization clears the way for states to reshape abortion law in the U.S., nearly 50 years after the court enshrined abortion rights at the federal level in the Roe v Wade decision.
The Dobbs case came to the high court from Mississippi, where the Jackson Women’s Health Organization has long been the only abortion provider. In 2018, the state enacted a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, allowing exceptions only for medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities — and not for cases involving rape or incest.
The "Dobbs" in the case title refers to Thomas Dobbs, an infectious diseases doctor who became Mississippi’s top health officer the same year the state enacted the new abortion restriction. The Jackson clinic and one of its doctors sued Mississippi officials in federal court, saying the state’s law was unconstitutional.
A federal district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the clinic, blocking Mississippi’s law. But the state then appealed to the Supreme Court, which put the case on its docket two years ago.
When the Supreme Court granted the state’s request to hear the case, it limited itself to one question: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
The notion of viability is crucial to the case. As Priscilla J. Smith, a Yale Law professor and a supporter of abortion rights, told NPR late last year, “The central tenet of Roe is the availability of abortions up to viability.”
Mississippi’s petition to the Supreme Court called that standard “unsatisfactory.” It also noted that fetal viability has changed over time, thanks to advances in obstetrics and medical technology.
“Tomorrow, development of an artificial womb will inevitably move the ‘viability’ line to the moment of conception,” the state wrote in its petition.
But attorneys for Jackson Women’s Health Organization said the central question of viability was already settled — by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey in 1992.
The clinic wanted the Supreme Court to affirm the Fifth Circuit’s decision, citing “nearly fifty years of precedent.” But a majority of justices ruled that Roe had been wrongly decided, returning control of abortions to states.
‘The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,’ SCOTUS opinion states
In its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court produced a sea change in U.S. abortion law.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the court stated in a syllabus included with its lengthy decision.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Two concurring opinions were also filed — one by Chief Justice John Roberts, and one by Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh.
The Roe decision was “egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided,” the court’s syllabus states.
In his opinion, Alito writes that the 1973 ruling ended a political process in which states crafted their own stances on abortion. “It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State,” Alito wrote.
When the Supreme Court granted Mississippi’s request to hear the case, it limited itself to one question: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
Alito says the court looked at several issues in deciding the case, “including whether a right to obtain an abortion is part of a broader entrenched right that is supported by other precedents.”
He wrote that the Roe decision “was remarkably loose in its treatment of the constitutional text. It held that the abortion right, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, is part of a right to privacy, which is also not mentioned.”
A state’s law regulating abortion “must be sustained if there is a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests,” Alito wrote. Those interests include “respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development,” he added, along with protecting “maternal health and safety” and other issues, such as preserving “the integrity of the medical profession” and the “mitigation of fetal pain.”
“These legitimate interests justify Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act,” Alito wrote.
Alito's opinion includes two appendices — one that lists "statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy in the States existing in 1868," and another that lists similar statutes from territories that became states and the District of Columbia.
7 persistent claims about abortion, fact-checked
Since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ruled that women have a constitutional right to end their pregnancies, proponents and opponents of abortion rights have worked to own the conversation over the issue.
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 629,898 legal induced abortions were reported across the United States.
Lingering claims circulate about abortion, including about its safety, the kinds of people who get abortions and even who supports or opposes access to abortion.
Below, seven popular claims surrounding abortion get fact-checked. Click expand for details, and read the full story here.
Claim: There is big support for ending Roe in America.
According to the Pew Research Center's polls, 37% of Americans want abortion illegal in all or most cases.
But an even bigger fraction — around 6 in 10 Americans — think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Claim: After Roe, abortions skyrocketed.
While the rate of abortions increased significantly in the decade after Roe v. Wade, it has since decreased to below the 1973 level.
Current abortion rates are lower than what they were in 1973 and are now less than half what they were at their peak in the early 1980s, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization that supports abortion rights.
In 2017, pregnancy rates for females age 24 or below hit their lowest recorded levels, reflecting a long-term decline in pregnancy rates among females 24 or below.
Overall, in 2017, pregnancy rates for females of reproductive age hit their lowest recorded levels, with 87 pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15 to 44, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Claim: Abortion is dangerous.
Pregnancy and childbirth are far more dangerous than getting an abortion, according to data from the CDC.
The annual number of deaths related to legal induced abortion has fluctuated from year to year since 1973, according to the CDC.
An analysis of data from 2013 to 2018 showed the national case-fatality rate for legal induced abortion was 0.41 deaths per 100,000 legal induced abortions, lower than in the previous five years.
The World Health Organization said people obtaining unsafe abortions are at a higher risk of death. Annually, 4.7% to 13.2% "of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion," the WHO said. In developing regions of the world, there are 220 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions.
Claim: The only people getting abortions are straight, cisgender women.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates in 2017, an estimated 462 to 530 transgender or nonbinary individuals in the U.S. had abortions. That same year, the CDCsaid, 609,095 total abortions were carried out in the country.
The Abortion Out Loud campaign has collected stories from thousands of people who have had an abortion. Included are stories from trans and nonbinary people who have had an abortion — such as Jae, who spoke their experience.
Claim: A lot of people are getting abortions late in pregnancy.
Over 90% of abortions happen in the first trimester (by 13 weeks).
"Most abortions in 2019 took place early in gestation," according to the CDC. Nearly 93% of abortions were performed at less than 13 weeks' gestation.
Abortion pills, which typically can be used up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy, made up 54% of abortions in 2020. These pills were the primary choice in the U.S. for the first time since the Food and Drug Administration approved the abortion drug mifepristone more than 20 years ago.
Claim: Fetuses feel pain early in a pregnancy.
Medical researchers agree a fetus is not capable of experiencing pain until the third trimester, somewhere between 29 or 30 weeks. Despite this, 16 states have passed abortion bans based on the notion that fetuses experience pain at or around 22 weeks.
State legislatures moved to adopt 20-week abortion bans, with abortion opponents claiming fetuses can feel pain at that point. Roughly a third of states have implemented an abortion ban around 20 weeks.
But this contradicts widely accepted medical research from 2005. This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that a fetus is not capable of experiencing pain until somewhere between 29 or 30 weeks.
Researchers wrote that fetal awareness of pain requires "functional thalamocortical connections." Those thalamocortical fibers begin appearing between 23 and 30 weeks' gestational age, but the capacity for pain perception comes later.
Claim: People who are religious don’t get abortions.
The argument against abortion has frequently been based on religion, but data shows that more than 60% of people who get an abortion have some sort of religious affiliation, according to the most recent Guttmacher Institute data, from 2014.
The Pew Research Center also shows that attitudes on whether abortion should be legal vary among evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics.
What the decision means for Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana
Most abortions are or will soon be banned across the Gulf South now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Here’s the legal landscape for each state:
Alabama: In May 2019, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that banned nearly all abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman's life is threatened or there is a lethal fetal anomaly. The ban, however, was blocked by a federal judge. With Roe overturned, though, state officials say they would move quickly to challenge the federal judge’s ruling.
Currently, Alabama does not allow abortion past the 20th week of gestation unless a doctor has determined either that the fetus is unviable or that carrying the fetus to term would cause death or severe and irreversible impairment to the woman.
The state also has a pre-Roe ban on abortion that was never repealed. State lawmakers have also passed an amendment to the state constitution that recognizes the rights of the unborn. Some believe this amendment could open the door to outlaw abortion completely now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
On Tuesday,Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 342 into law, which updated the law to include exceptions for medically futile and ectopic pregnancies. No exceptions for victims of rape or incest are included. The new bill also stiffens the criminal penalties for abortion providers already outlined in state law, doubling the maximum sentences to 10 and 15 years, depending on when an abortion is performed during a pregnancy.
Mississippi: Mississippi also has a trigger law in place, but unlike Louisiana, it will require certification from state Attorney General Lynn Fitch before going into effect — one of seven states in this situation.
With Roe v. Wade overturned, Missouri's trigger ban is now in effect
In 2019, the Missouri General Assembly passed House Bill 126, which contains a so-called “trigger ban” prohibiting nearly all abortions in the state.
As KCUR’s Dan Margolies reports, that ban goes into effect as soon as the governor or attorney general certifies that Roe has been overturned, or the legislature enacts a resolution to the same effect.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨 Following the SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Missouri has just become the first in the country to effectively end abortion with our AG opinion signed moments ago. This is a monumental day for the sanctity of life. pic.twitter.com/Jphy72R4rq— Attorney General Eric Schmitt (@AGEricSchmitt) June 24, 2022
Head to KCUR.org for more
Abortions are effectively banned outright in Texas
Texas is one of 26 states that has laws in place now that would ban abortions, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization on reproductive health. Surrounding states Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana also have near-total bans in place now that Roe is overturned.
Texas already banned abortions around six weeks back in September 2021 when SB 8 went into effect, which also allowed private citizens to sue anyone helping a person access abortion care. Thousands of Texans went out of state to get abortions since then, with clinicians in Texas helping to connect patients with services. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization means all Texans seeking abortions will have to travel hundreds of miles to neighboring states like New Mexico.
Idaho's abortion ban will take effect next month
Nearly all abortions in Idaho are poised to be outlawed in 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court Friday gave individual states the right to prohibit abortion.
Doctors found violating Idaho's law would face between two and five years in prison under a felony charge. Their medical license would be suspended for six months after the first offense, and it would be permanently revoked for any following offenses.
Adopted in 2020, Idaho’s trigger law will only allow abortions in cases of rape, incest and if the mother’s life is at-risk. But there are caveats to those exceptions.
22 states are poised to ban or restrict abortion. Others moved to protect access
Access to legal abortion could soon end for more than 100 million Americans, including those living in nearly every Southern state and large swaths of the Midwest.
Twenty-two states are poised to immediately ban or acutely curtail access to abortions with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group in favor of abortion rights. The landmark 1973 decision had guaranteed women's right to seek an abortion for nearly 50 years.
So-called "trigger laws" are taking effect and will automatically ban or curtail abortion in 13 states. Most were enacted during the Trump administration, after conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed to the Supreme Court.
In another nine states, pre-Roe abortion bans can once again become enforceable, or more recent bans that had been blocked by courts can now take effect.
In effect, abortions could soon be illegal or next to impossible to access in these 21 states, with a combined population of more than 135 million people — a major change from today's environment, where all 50 states have at least one operating abortion clinic.
In response, many Democratic-led states have enacted laws to shore up abortion rights at the state level.
Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., have laws protecting access to abortion, according to Guttmacher. Four states and D.C. "have codified the right to abortion throughout pregnancy without state interference," the group notes, while 12 others "explicitly permit abortion prior to viability or when necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person."
California, Oregon and Washington state also recently moved to expand financial support for abortion access.
What happens next? Here's what life without Roe might look like
As the Supreme Court prepared to issue its decision overturning Roe, NPR spent weeks speaking to experts and activists about what will likely happen after the ruling. Here's some suggested reading.
What will this mean for health care and access to services?
Kristyn Brandi, an OB-GYN and family planning doctor who is also the board chair for Physicians for Reproductive Health, and NPR health policy correspondent Selena Simmons-Duffin answered some of your most common questions here.
Here are insights from two reproductive health care providers about the options available to pregnant people in anti-abortion states, and how to find a safe clinic.
Medical and legal experts say the decision could have implications for other types of care, including birth control and fertility treatments. Plus, read up on how medication abortion works and what the end of Roe could mean for it.
And it's important to remember that this decision doesn't just affect cisgender women.
What about possible legal implications?
Dozens of states already passed trigger laws that could end access to legal abortions for many Americans. Here's what enforcement could look like. Also, the removal of federal abortion protections could spark new legal fights between states.
Liberal politicians and activists have publicly speculated thatother landmark Supreme Court rulings, like those legalizing same-sex marriage and birth control, could be on shaky ground. Since the release of the draft ruling Democrats have sought to make the abortion debate about more than just abortion, hoping to jolt voters into action as the November midterms approach.
What will daily life look like?
As NPR's Joe Hernandez has reported, here's what a future without Roe could mean:
- More than two dozen states have laws that could restrict or ban abortion soon after the Supreme Court overturns Roe, according to Guttmacher. One type of statute, called a "trigger law," is designed to take effect after a Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe. Some states also still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books that they could begin enforcing again. Other laws express the intent of states to crack down on abortion if permitted by the Supreme Court.
- States that continue to allow abortion could see an influx of patients seeking care. For example, after Texas enacted its roughly six-week ban on abortion last year, some residents began to get abortions out of state. In the final four months of last year, Planned Parenthood clinics in states near Texas reported a nearly 800% increase in abortion patients from Texas compared to the same period in the prior year.
- Women of color will bear the brunt of further abortion restrictions. According to The Associated Press, Black and Hispanic women get abortions at higher rates than their peers. Women of color also experience higher poverty rates and could have a harder time traveling out of state for an abortion, the AP said.
- Limits on abortion access can lead to negative long-term health effects. A major study from the University of California, San Francisco found that women are harmed by being denied abortions. The women surveyed who gave birth had economic hardships that lasted for several years, were more likely to raise the child alone, and were at higher risk of developing serious health problems than those who were able to have abortions.
- Some blue states already are taking steps to enshrine the right to abortion in state law. From Colorado to New Jersey, Democratic governors have signed laws protecting reproductive rights and announced their intention to be able to provide abortion services to people who live in states where the procedure is restricted.
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, reversing Roe v. Wade, the court’s five-decade-old decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority,” the court’s conservatives wrote in their majority opinion. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
The three liberals dissented.