Law360 (June 24, 2022, 10:22 AM EDT) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday upheld a Mississippi abortion ban and overturned the constitutional abortion right established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, setting the stage for a widespread rollback of abortion rights in many statehouses around the country.
The Supreme Court approved 6-3 a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, well before a fetus is considered viable. Restrictions on abortion before viability are unconstitutional under the 1973 decision in Roe. Five justices agreed with Mississippi that Roe was wrongly decided and nullified its holding that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for the majority overturning the constitutional right to abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote separately, saying that while he would uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban, he would not entirely overrule Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe.
Writing for the majority, Justice Alito said that abortion is not protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause because it is not part of what he called the nation’s historical understanding of “ordered liberty.” As Justice Clarence Thomas did in the previous day’s gun rights ruling, Justice Alito unearthed criminal abortion statutes and prosecutions dating back to medieval times and the Reconstruction Era to support his argument.
“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted