Members of the Supreme Court: Seated from left are Associate Justice...

Members of the Supreme Court: Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Credit: AP/Erin Schaff

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority, in a decision released Friday, voted to overturn Roe v. Wade from 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion.

Majority opinion written by Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision ...”

“The abortion right is also critically different from any other right that this Court has held to fall within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of 'liberty' … abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called 'fetal life' and what the law now before us describes as an 'unborn human being ...'

“None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion. They are therefore inapposite. They do not support the right to obtain an abortion, and by the same token, our conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right does not undermine them in any way ...”

“Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors …  wielding nothing but 'raw judicial power' … the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people. … those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life — could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe.”

Concurring opinion by Justice Thomas

“Because the Due Process Clause does not secure any substantive rights, it does not secure a right to abortion … For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold [right of married persons to obtain contraceptives] Lawrence [right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts], and Obergefell [right to same-sex marriage]. Because any substantive due process decision is 'demonstrably erroneous' … we have a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents … Substantive due process … has harmed our country in many ways. Accordingly, we should eliminate it from our jurisprudence at the earliest opportunity.”

Dissenting opinion by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan

“Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens. Yesterday, the Constitution guaranteed that a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy could (within reasonable limits) make her own decision about whether to bear a child, with all the life-transforming consequences that act involves. And in thus safeguarding each woman’s reproductive freedom, the Constitution also protected '[t]he ability of women to participate equally in [this Nation’s] economic and social life.' Casey, 505 U.S., at 856.

"But no longer. As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions. A State can thus transform what, when freely undertaken, is a wonder into what, when forced, may be a nightmare. Some women, especially women of means, will find ways around the State’s assertion of power. Others — those with­out money or childcare or the ability to take time off from work — will not be so fortunate.”

With AP

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