What is Roe v Wade and why is the US Supreme Court denying abortion rights?

Roe v Wade
With the overturning of Roe v Wade, it will be up to each state whether to legalize abortion.

The right to abortion in the United States comes from a landmark court decision of the 1970s, known as the Roe v Wade case.

For nearly a century, this legal decision gave the American people legal rights to access abortion services.

Now, the US Supreme Court has overturned a historic legal decision, making it mandatory for each province to decide whether abortion is legal.

Define Roe v Wade case?

In 1970, a young Texas woman named Norma McCorvey, who went by the nickname “Jane Roe” sued her right to terminate a pregnancy.

At the time, it was legal to terminate a pregnancy in Texas if there was a serious risk to the mother’s health.
Ms McCorvey argued with the defendant – Dallas County County Attorney Henry Wade – that Texas laws were unconstitutional because they were vague and violated his right to privacy.

After years of legal challenges and complaints from the American women’s rights movement, her case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court.

In 1973, the judges ruled by a 7-2 majority that Texas law was unconstitutional.
They argue that, although the US constitution does not say anything about abortion, the right to privacy does and should not go beyond human reproductive decisions.

The court ruling barred all 50 US states from restricting access to direct abortions and established a new national framework for abortions.

The new framework

As a result, the new framework stated:

  • All women in the US are entitled to abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Provinces have the right to regulate but do not prevent abortions in the second trimester
  • The government may ban abortions in the third trimester as the quality of life outside the fetus increases.

The difference was that a woman would have the right to have an abortion if the pregnancy put her life in jeopardy.

How was it overturned in Roe v Wade Case?

This year, the U.S. Supreme Court was considering a case called, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The case was against a law passed in Mississippi state in 2018, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks.

Opponents say they violate the rights established by Roe v Wade, which does not limit access to abortion until the fetus is able to function, within 24 weeks.

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of the Mississippi abortion ban, effectively ending the constitutional right to abortions of millions of Americans.

Conservative judges held a 6-3 summit in the US Supreme Court, including three judges nominated by former US President Donald Trump in hopes of overthrowing Roe vs Wade.

What about abortion now in the US after Roe v Wade Case?

It is now up to each region to decide whether women will have the right to have an abortion or not.
More than 20 provinces are expected to introduce laws that would limit or restrict access to abortions, as many already have constitutional laws or amendments.

Some states have a so-called “trigger ban” in place, so abortion is prohibited in almost all cases, once Roe v Wade is abolished.

While some politically advanced states – such as California and Washington – may continue to offer access to abortions, other law-abiding states, such as Mississippi and Arkansas, will soon make abortions illegal.

Proponents of abortion claim that this method is only available to those who have the means to travel to the provinces where it is always legal.

They say those who cannot walk will be forced to give birth or have an illegal abortion.

This decision appears to be inconsistent with the views of many Americans, as national voting strongly indicates that the majority believes the process should be legal.

A poll in late 2021 found that 59 percent of American adults believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 39 percent think it should be legal in all or most cases.

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