|Voting in the majority were Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a separate opinion, agreeing with the court's decision to uphold the Mississippi law but arguing that the court should not have decided the broader question of whether the Constitution protects abortion at all. The court's three liberal justices -- Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan -- filed a joint dissent.|
In a 6-3 decision (see sidebar), the Supreme Court has overturned the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade, opening the door for states to put a variety of abortions restrictions in place. The ruling – which came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization – 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.
Dobbs was a challenge to a Mississippi law, passed in 2018, that bans virtually all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. It had never gone into effect because lower courts blocked the state from enforcing the law. Today's decision reversed those rulings and upheld the Mississippi law.
The ruling in Dobbs also overturns another pro-abortion case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey – the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion.
Former President Donald Trump, who appointed three of the justices who voted with the majority, praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in an interview with Fox News. He said the decision would “work out for everybody.” He added that the decision is ”following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago,” he said, according to the channel.
Associated Press says the ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision, AP adds, also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.
Dr. Alveda King (founder of Speak for Life): "For 49 years, 'we the people' have had to endure a flawed and unconstitutional ruling from the Supreme Court that allowed unelected judges to create a national right to abortion that ultimately led to extreme actions, like late-term abortions, against the unborn. Today, the Supreme Court has rightfully overturned that decision, sending the power to regulate abortion back to the elected officials at the state level. I have longed for and prayed for this day. And I will continue to fight for human dignity for everyone – from the womb to the tomb."
Jeanne Mancini (president of March for Life): "The Supreme Court’s decision today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returns the ability to protect the unborn to the people through their elected officials at the state and federal level. This decision gives Americans the ability to protect unborn babies while supporting mothers and families, too."
Olivia Turner (National Right to Life Committee): "We understand with all our hearts that this is a day to rejoice for preborn children and their mothers. The court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the Constitution, thereby allowing the people through their own elected representatives to have a voice in this very, very important life and death decision. Unfortunately, this will mean in many places – including states like Virginia, New York and other places – abortion laws supersede pro-life laws. So, there will be a long struggle ahead to make sure we are able to elect pro-life individuals who can help us pass true protective pro-life laws."
Troy Newman (president of Operation Rescue): "Half the states will now become abortion free and millions of innocent lives will be spared from the barbaric practice of abortion. This is a human rights victory beyond all others and justifies the decades of tireless work by selfless pro-life individuals and organizations … which have worked and prayed for decades for this day."
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves: "Let's be clear: this decision will directly result in more hearts beating, more strollers pushed, more report cards given, more little league games played, and more lives well lived. It is a joyous day! …. We must remember that our work is not yet over. The pro-life movement must dedicate itself to ensuring mothers and their babies receive the support they both need during pregnancy and after. Despite what some may claim, Mississippi's objective was never simply to win a court case – it's been to create a culture of life across the country."
Tim Wildmon (president of Mississippi-based American Family Association): "To see Roe v. Wade overturned is profoundly moving. Life begins at conception and must be protected …. We are praising God that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and is sending abortion regulation back to each respective state. AFA will continue to fight to ensure each state abolishes abortion."
Tony Perkins (president of Family Research Council): "Today the Supreme Court yielded to the actual words of the Constitution and overturned the atrocity of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, once again allowing states and the Congress to pass laws upholding the sanctity of human life. Despite incredible unprecedented pressure from the pro-abortion movement, including leaking the opinion before it was officially released, the members of the Court held fast to their constitutional duty. The Court maintained its independence and in doing so, upheld its integrity and preserved the foundation of justice …. What the Court has done is an act of repentance out of which we bring forth the fruit of repentance, rebuilding a culture of life in America."
Sarah Parshall Perry (senior legal fellow for The Heritage Foundation, in an interview on Newsmax): "As a mother and as a lawyer and a constitutional scholar, it is a good day all around. I am excited by the fact that none of the votes on this particular case, this watershed case, have changed. That means that the court was not subjected to the political pressure and the public outcry that some worried might actually be the case. We've seen these justices at their private places of residence really subjected to the kind of unprecedented harassment and intimidation that is unlike anything we've seen in modern history, but the opinion itself looks largely to be precisely as it was when it was leaked first in February."
Jonathan Turley (Fox News legal contributor): "It is a huge victory for the pro-life movement. It is a victory for former President Donald Trump. A lot of presidents promise to put a pro-life majority on the Court, [but] he succeeded – and I think that's one of the reasons why many people still remain loyal to him in terms of coming through on those pledges. So, this is a victory for pro-life [but] also for President Trump."
Scott Walker (president of Young America's Foundation, former governor of Wisconsin): "Our prayers have been answered. Now that Roe v. Wade is gone, we move from the court of law to the court of public opinion. We know that unborn babies are human beings who need our protection. We must now work to influence leaders across the country to take a bold stand to defend innocent life."
Patrina Mosley (spokeswoman for Project 21 Black Leadership Network): "This is both a day to remember and a day to memorialize all the lives that have been lost. Over 60 million lives have been lost to the extinction method known as abortion – and 20 million of those were black lives. The Court's decision today begins to reverse a tragedy in our country. It is the second-greatest reversal next to slavery. Today actually says that black lives matter. We know there's been a targeting of black lives in black communities with abortion clinics for years now. So, I look forward to those clinics in those communities to become museums now."
Lisa B. Nelson (CEO of American Legislative Exchange Council): "As Justice Alito wrote in the Dobbs decision, 'The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion … and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.' As such, the Court has properly empowered the duly elected members of each state legislature with the authority to decide what is best for the citizens of their state."
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. (president of Ruth Institute): "We've won an important victory, but the war is far from over. While pro-abortion forces can no longer rely on Roe to nullify state laws, 12 states and the District of Columbia protect abortion – some, like California and New York, up to the moment of birth. Now, there will be a huge push to increase that number. Pro-life forces must be prepared to fight at the state level and in the court of public opinion."
Associated Press contributed to this story.