Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision granting American women the right to have an abortion before the foetus can survive outside the womb (before 24-28 weeks). More than a month has passed since the shocking disclosure of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, which hinted that the court was ready to make this historic decision. The step is being referred to as a significant curtailment of women’s rights.
Women have had access to abortion rights for more than two generations, that will now be left to the discretion of individual States. According to information from the Associated Press, about 20 States have laws that limit or forbid abortions (which were overturned by Roe until Friday). After Roe was overruled, 13 states passed legislation outlawing the decision, according to a study by The New York Times.
“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 court said. Yesterday’s ruling is expected to result in abortion restrictions in around half of the states. In liberal states, abortion might continue to be legal. Currently, legislation defending the right to an abortion exist in more than a dozen states. In most parts of America, women with unplanned pregnancies may have to choose between going to a state where the procedure is still legal, purchasing abortion pills online, or getting an illegal abortion that could be perilous.