The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established abortion as a constitutional right.
The opinion by six of the Court’s nine justices will allow each state to set its own abortion laws, leading to a patchwork of access throughout the country. The result is expected to lead to an uptick in the number of women traveling for abortions or unsafe abortions in states where the medical procedure will now be banned or heavily restricted.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the justices wrote.
The decision opens the way to total bans on abortion. Such bans are now likely in 15 states. Florida falls in a category of five statees where abortion may be (or will be) restricted: Florida this year enacted a law banning abortion after 15 weeks. That law goes into effect on July 1.
Neighboring Georgia enacted a ban on abortion after just six weeks (as did South Carolina and Ohio). The decision was blocked by a court, but that block is now nullified.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent in the case.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” it began.
Twenty-two states have laws that would restrict when and how a patient can terminate a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health and rights organization.
Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin are among the 10 states that have pre-Roe abortion bans that will now take effect. Thirteen states — including Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have laws enacted since Roe that will be “triggered” by the court’s decision.
A dozen states, including Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington, have laws that would protect abortion access up to the point of viability, usually 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont have laws that protect abortion access throughout a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
–FlaglerLive and Florida Phoenix