The decision, which was expected since a draft opinion leaked in May, still hit hard.
The Supreme Court followed through on a draft opinion that was leaked in May. (Image: Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash)

The progress for which women have worked tirelessly for decades was stripped away Friday as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The landmark ruling, enacted nearly 50 years ago in 1973, had granted women the right to a safe, legal abortion. Now, total bans on the procedure will go into effect in at least half of the United States.

“This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November.”

The overturning seemed like more of a distant possibility as Republicans worked over the years to install conservative judges around the country, but it became a harsher reality after former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices on the highest court in the nation. The ruling was 6 to 3, with all three liberal justices dissenting, and all three of his appointees voting with the majority.

The decision was expected after a draft opinion was leaked to Politico in May. It goes against the popular opinion of Americans across the country — according to a recent SCOTUSPoll, about 62% of respondents opposed overturning the landmark ruling, while roughly 38% agreed.

“It’s great, it’s a blessing,” said Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, according to the New York Times. “I’ve prayed for this.”

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, since 2020, Argentina and Thailand have legalized abortion with certain limits, and Mexico and South Korea decriminalized abortion. While women will still have access to abortions in blue states in America, the country joins Honduras and Poland in tightening restrictions.

The case in question, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, had to do with a 2018 Mississippi law that banned abortions at more than 15 weeks. 

Planned Parenthood released a statement on Twitter saying the organization, which was founded in 1916, would continue fighting for reproductive rights: “We know you may be feeling a lot of things right now — hurt, anger, confusion. Whatever you feel is OK. We’re here with you — and we’ll never stop fighting for you.” 

Abortion rights have been whittled away in a large swath of states, forcing families to travel out of state where it’s legal or where appointments are available, putting severe pressure on existing clinics and disproportionaly impacting those with fewer resources. Last year, Texas banned most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allowed private residents to sue anyone who helped a woman get an abortion.

Several large companies, including Starbucks, Tesla and Yelp, have pledged to cover travel expenses for employees who need to get abortions, as have smaller employers.

The three liberal justices — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer — conveyed deep dismay at the decision.

“With sorrow — for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”