America is slowly descending into chaos as more and more rights are being abolished. The so-called world superpower has now clearly abolished the right of a female on her own body and sent the whole world into shock and dissent. There are rallies of disapproval all over the country and all because of one decision by the Supreme Court.
WHAT IS ROE VS WADE CASE?
In 1970, Jane Roe (a fictional name used in court documents to protect the plaintiff’s identity) filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, where she resided, challenging a Texas law making abortion illegal except by a doctor’s orders to save a woman’s life. In her lawsuit, Roe alleged that the state laws were unconstitutionally vague and abridged her right to personal privacy, protected by various constitutional amendments. Norma McCorvey dramatically altered the course of events without intending to. All she had wanted was an abortion. She was a poor, uneducated, unskilled, alcoholic, drug-using twenty-one-year-old woman who had already given up two children for adoption and, in 1970, found herself pregnant again. But in Texas, as in all but a few states at that time, abortion was illegal. McCorvey’s cause came to be adopted by people far more powerful than she. They made her the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit seeking to legalize abortion. The defendant was Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney. The case ultimately made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, by the time McCorvey’s name had been disguised as Jane Roe. On January 22, 1973, the court ruled in favour of Ms Roe, allowing legalised abortion throughout the United States.
The following were the changes that occurred; In the first trimester of pregnancy, the state may not regulate the abortion decision; only the pregnant woman and her attending physician can make that decision. In the second trimester, the state may impose regulations on abortion that are reasonably related to maternal health. In the third trimester, once the fetus reaches the point of “viability,” a state may regulate abortions or prohibit them entirely, so long as the laws contain exceptions for cases when abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.
WHAT WERE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS CASE?
As quoted by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt in their book Freakonomics
" As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade—poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get—were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v. Wade, these
children weren’t being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic, distant effect: years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet."
SO WHAT DID THE US SUPREME COURT DO?
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women's constitutional right to abortion, a decision condemned by President Joe Biden that will dramatically change life for millions of women in America and exacerbate growing tensions in a deeply polarized country The Supreme Court decision on Friday was immediately met with celebration and anger. Crowds gathered in cities like Washington, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles as many states enacted abortion bans and clinics stopped offering the procedure. The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of erasing the Roe precedent altogether.
The reverberations of the ruling will be felt far beyond the court's high-security confines - potentially reshaping the battlefield in November's elections to determine whether Biden's fellow Democrats retain control of Congress and signalling a new openness by the justices to change other long-recognized rights.
The decision will also intensify the debate over the legitimacy of the court, once an unassailable cornerstone of the American democratic system but increasingly under scrutiny for its more aggressively conservative decisions on a range of issues. The ruling restored the ability of states to ban abortion. Twenty-six states are either certain or considered likely to ban abortion. Mississippi is among 13 states with so-called trigger laws to ban abortion with Roe overturned.
The justices, in the ruling written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, held that the Roe decision that allowed abortions performed before a fetus would be viable outside the womb - which occurs between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy - was wrongly decided because the U.S. Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.
Women with unwanted pregnancies in large swathes of America now may face the choice of travelling to another state where the procedure remains legal and available, buying abortion pills online, or having a potentially dangerous illegal abortion.
"It's a sad day for the court and for the country," Biden said at the White House. "The court has done what it has never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans."
Empowering states to ban abortion makes the United States an outlier among developed nations in protecting reproductive rights, the Democratic president added.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
"Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of the taken decision is certain: the curtailment of women's rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,"
As a result of Friday's ruling, "from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs," the liberal justices added.
The ruling empowered states to ban abortion just a day after the court's conservative majority issued another decision limiting the ability of states to enact gun restrictions.
The abortion and gun rulings illustrated the polarization in America on a range of issues, also including race and voting rights.
Overturning Roe was long a goal of Christian conservatives and many Republican officeholders, including former President Donald Trump, who as a candidate in 2016 promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse Roe. During his term, he named three to the bench, all of whom joined the majority in the ruling.
Asked in a Fox News interview whether he deserved some credit for the ruling, Trump said: "God made the decision."