The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on Friday, overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a constitutional right to an abortion.
Joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “… procuring an abolition is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.”
With the ruling, a Texas trigger law, HB 1280, passed in 2021 will go into effect in 30 days, essentially banning abortion in the state at any stage with exceptions for medical emergencies to save the mother’s life.
There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Anyone who performs abortions would face up to life in prison and fines, but patients themselves are exempted from prosecution.
State law already allows for any private citizen to file a lawsuit against anyone who “aids or abets” a legally banned abortion for up to $10,000 in damages.
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Reaction to the ruling was swift as groups on both sides of the abortion issue went public with statements.
“We are ecstatic. The Supreme Court finally remedied a terrible decision made nearly half a century ago that profoundly damaged society in America,” said Texas Alliance for Life’s Executive Director, Joe Pojman, PhD. “Legal abortions have claimed the lives of more than 62 million unborn children and have hurt countless women. That will no longer be the case in Texas.”
Abortion figures in Texas
- Number of women aged 14-44: 5,885,900
- Abortions per 1,000 women: 9.5
- Number of abortion clinics: 21
Source: Guttmacher Institute
“The Supreme Court made it clear: They are overturning Roe and Casey. This is the end of our constitutionally-protected right to abortion,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju.
“The impact on the real lives of real people will be devastating. The Supreme Court has given the green light to extremist state lawmakers who will waste no time springing into action to put in place total bans on abortion. And they won’t stop there—the anti-choice movement and its political allies have already made it clear that they want to enact a nationwide ban on abortion. This decision is the worst-case scenario, but it is not the end of this fight. The 8 in 10 Americans who support the legal right to abortion will not let this stand. There is an election in November, and extremist politicians will learn: when you come for our rights, we come for your seats.”