A majority of the Supreme Court has privately voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, in keeping with a leaked draft opinion from February that was published by Politico. Here’s a have a look at the history of the landmark decision and the case from Mississippi now being decided by the court
What’s Roe v. Wade?
Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 that established a constitutional right to abortion.
Roe struck down laws barring abortion in several states, declaring that they might not ban the procedure before the purpose at which a fetus can survive outside the womb.
That time, referred to as fetal viability, was around 28 weeks when Roe was decided. Due to improvements in medicine, most experts now estimate fetal viability to be about 23 or 24 weeks.
The case is usually colloquially referred to easily as “Roe,” the plaintiff’s listed name. It was actually a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who was 22 and pregnant when she became an abortion rights advocate. She later joined the anti-abortion movement, and revealed in a documentary months before her death that she had been paid to accomplish that.
The name “Wade” refers back to the defendant Henry Wade, who was the Dallas County district attorney on the time.
Roe is a well-liked decision — polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans are not looking for the Supreme Court to overturn it.
What’s the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization?
The Mississippi case is centered on a state law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and was intended to be a direct challenge to Roe. It was enacted in 2018 by a Republican-dominated state legislature.
Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, sued over the law, which barred abortions about two months sooner than Roe and later decisions allowed.
Due to a right away legal challenge, the law didn’t go into effect. If it had, health care providers who violated it could have had their medical licenses suspended or revoked.
The Supreme Court appeared poised to uphold the Mississippi law after it heard arguments in December, though on the time, the six-member conservative majority appeared to be divided about whether to maneuver forward with overruling Roe entirely.
What’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey?
Planned Parenthood v. Casey is one other landmark Supreme Court decision from 1992. It affirmed Roe’s central tenet — that ladies have a constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies until fetal viability.
What wouldn’t it mean for abortion access if Roe is overturned?
Greater than half of U.S. states would likely or almost actually ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe, in keeping with an evaluation from the Guttmacher Institute that was updated in April. That number includes several states which have passed so-called trigger laws, which might robotically ban all abortions without Roe.
Depending on exactly how the court might word such a call, legal abortion access could effectively end for those living in much of the American South and Midwest, especially those that are poor, in keeping with a Latest York Times evaluation from 2021. A cascade of restrictive abortion laws has already been proposed in Republican-led states.
One other strategy to understand who might be most affected by overturning Roe is to contemplate who’s getting abortions in the US. The everyday patient is already a mother, poor, single, in her late 20s, and really early in her pregnancy.
Overturning Roe would further cement the US’ status as a worldwide outlier on abortion. Based on the Center for Reproductive Rights, just three countries — Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua — have tightened abortion laws since 1994.