WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in the 6-to-3 decision, one of the most momentous from the court in decades.
Bans in at least eight states swiftly took effect after they enacted laws meant to be enforced immediately after Roe fell. More states are expected to follow in the coming days, reflecting the main holding in the decision, that states are free to end the practice if they choose to do so.
The decision, which closely tracked a leaked draft opinion, prompted celebrations and outcries across the country, underlining how divisive the topic of abortion remains after decades of uncompromising ideological and moral battles between those who see making the choice to terminate a pregnancy as a right and those who see it as taking a life.
The outcome, while telegraphed both by the leaked draft opinion and positions taken by the justices during arguments in the case, nonetheless produced political shock waves, energizing conservatives who are increasingly focused on state-by-state-fights and generating new resolve among Democrats to make restoring abortion rights a central element of the midterm elections.
Protests swelled across the country on Friday evening. Outside the Supreme Court, thousands of abortion rights supporters demonstrated alongside small groups of celebrating anti-abortion activists, who blew bubbles. Throngs spilled into the streets in large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, and smaller crowds gathered in places like Louisville, Ky., and Tallahassee, Fla.
Speakers at some rallies exhorted abortion rights supporters to take their anger to the polls during the midterm elections in November, a point echoed by President Biden, who said the court’s decision would jeopardize the health of millions of women.
“It is the realization of extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Biden said.
The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the ruling.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voted with the majority but said he would have taken “a more measured course,” stopping short of overruling Roe outright. The court’s three liberal members dissented.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, concerned a law enacted in 2018 by the Republican-dominated Mississippi Legislature that banned abortions if “the probable…
Read More: Roe v. Wade Live Updates: Protests and News