New Delhi: The Supreme Court of the United States on Friday struck down a 50-year-old ruling that legalised abortion nationwide. The move comes as a setback for millions of women in the US, who will lose the legal right to abortion.
As the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v Wade decision, which made abortion legal, US President Joe Biden said it is a sad day for the court and the country. Speak from the White House, he said, “Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law.”
Biden decried the “extreme” court’s ruling, saying politicians should not be allowed to interfere with a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor. He called the decision “wrong, extreme and out of touch”.
In 1973, during the Roe v Wade case, the Supreme Court ruled by a vote of seven to two that the US Constitution protected a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Following the ruling, women in the United States had an absolute right to get an abortion in the first three months or the trimester of pregnancy. The court’s ruling had, however, allowed restrictions in the second trimester and prohibitions in the third.
Last month, a leaked draft opinion stated that the US Supreme Court has voted to strike down the abortions rights. According to the draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel A Alito Jr, a majority of the court voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade verdict.
Further, Justice Alito called it had wrongly been decided and said the contentious issue, which has invoked political debates in the US for more than a generation, should be decided by politicians, not the courts.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito wrote in the document labelled as the “Opinion of the Court”, according to the New York Times.
In Casey versus planned parenthood case, the Supreme Court had affirmed the ruling in the Roe v. Wade case. prohibiting the states from banning abortions.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” read the draft.
The apex court’s ruling means states will be able to ban abortion, and about half are expected to do so. It brings a seismic change in American law and politics, coming a few months ahead of the congressional midterm elections that will decide who controls power on Capitol Hill.
Several Republican-led state legislatures are moving to impose restrictions on women’s access to abortion and court decision along the lines of the draft could spur political battles with abortion being a contentious issue for the two parties for a long, the New York Times had reported earlier.
WATCH: US President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Supreme Court Decision