What is Roe v. Wade And Why The New Abortion Verdict Puts US On Edge? Explained

The United States Supreme Court on Friday overturned the ‘Roe v. Wade’ verdict, that made abortion a constitutional right in the country. What’s The News?Also Read – LGBTQ Students Would Get New Protections Under Joe Biden Plan

Washington: The US Supreme Court on Friday, in a widely anticipated decision, ended the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court’s landmark 1973 judgment. Friday’s outcome will allow individual states to more heavily regulate, and is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Also Read – Biden to Call For 3-Month Suspension of Gas And Diesel Taxes

What Led To The Verdict?

The ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump, according to an article by Associated Press. Also Read – Joe Biden Nominates Indian-American Dr Arati Prabhakar As Top Science Advisor

Abortion foes cheered the ruling, but abortion-rights supporters, including President Joe Biden, expressed dismay and pledged to fight to restore the rights.

The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

What Does ‘Roe V. Wade’ Refers To?

Roe v. Wade is the name of the lawsuit that led to the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The majority opinion found an absolute right to abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Who Were Roe and Wade?

Jane Roe was a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas. By the time the US Supreme Court ruled in her favor, McCorvey had given birth to a girl whom she placed for adoption.

Henry Wade was the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. It was his job to enforce a state law prohibiting abortion except to save a woman’s life, so he was the person McCorvey sued when she sought the abortion.

After her death, biographer Joshua Prager said McCorvey made her living giving speeches and writing books on both sides of the abortion debate and was coached by both sides. She had conflicted feelings about each, he said, but was consistent on one point: supporting abortion through the first trimester.

What Did The Court Decide In 1973?

The plaintiff alleged that Texas law was unconstitutionally vague and violated her constitutionally protected right to personal privacy. The question before the U.S. Supreme Court was: Does the Constitution recognize a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion?

Justice Harry Blackmun delivered the opinion for the 7-2 majority, finding that it did indeed — although that protection had to be balanced against the government’s interests in protecting women’s health and “the potentiality of human life.” The conservative-leaning court said a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of her pregnancy must be left to her and her doctor.

How Have Later Decisions Altered Abortion Rights In America?

Blackmun was still on the court in 1992, when it heard Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a challenge to Pennsylvania abortion laws that included a 24-hour waiting period. The conservative-leaning court unexpectedly upheld the right to abortion —while also making it easier for states to impose regulations.

Three conservative justices — Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter — co-authored the court’s main opinion in the 5-4 decision, writing: “The woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe vs. Wade. It is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce.″

Neither side on the abortion issue was pleased with the ruling. Since then, conservative states have been chipping away at abortion rights with laws that have engendered many more court challenges, including a recent Texas law that bans most abortions after about six weeks.

How The New Ruling Puts Women At Risk?

Laws against abortion put many women in US at risk of back-alley abortions outside institutional care. For women in the relatively liberal Democratic states, and for women elsewhere who have the means to travel to a clinic, abortion may still be accessible. However, poor women, especially in many Republican states, may find traveling to other states for in-clinic abortions to be an impossible challenge.

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