The US Supreme Court has overturned the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, ending the right to abortion access for millions of women across America in a single, historic moment.
The court released its opinion on the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation on Friday morning, with the justices ruling 6-3 in favour of a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy.
All six conservative justices voted to uphold the state’s abortion restriction and, in the process, five – excluding Chief Justice John Roberts – voted to strike down the 1973 Roe ruling which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey ruling which had further cemented that right.
In their historic decision, the nine-person court has effectively backpedaled on the reproductive rights of the American people by 50 years and placed the power over women’s bodies in the hands of the states.
Abortion instantly became illegal across several Republican-led states including South Dakota, Louisiana and Kentucky after they implemented “trigger laws” to ban the procedure as soon as Roe was overturned.
In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and Casey were “egregiously wrong” and “must be overruled”.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” he wrote.
“Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.
“And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
In the dissent, liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan blasted the decision.
“With sorrow – for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection – we dissent,” they wrote. “It is truly sad.”