(The Hill) – The Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion and handing states authority to drastically limit or ban the procedure.
The decision by a majority of conservative justices to fundamentally reshape American society by overturning the landmark 1973 precedent is certain to ignite a political firestorm and yield a complex patchwork of state laws that will effectively block large swathes of the population from terminating unwanted pregnancies.
The ruling upholds Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which directly clashed with Roe’s requirement that states permit abortion up to the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks. More than two dozen states, primarily in the South and Midwest, are expected to tighten abortion access as a result of Roe falling, including 13 states with “trigger bans” set to take effect automatically or through minimal effort by state officials.
For conservatives, the toppling of Roe marks the crowning achievement of a carefully orchestrated and well-funded movement that for decades has sought to elevate reliable allies to the Supreme Court and erase federal protections under Roe that conservatives have long considered an infringement of states’ rights.
The blockbuster decision comes after a stunning breach of Supreme Court secrecy last month led to the public release of a draft version of the opinion, offering a glimpse at the coming dismantlement of abortion rights, as well as the likely upheaval over a ruling that most Americans said they would oppose.