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The US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade: Here's what the impact will be

Concerns about Roe v. Wade were first raised after a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked.

A woman upset about the abortion decision outside the Supreme Court today
A woman upset about the abortion decision outside the Supreme Court today
Image: AP/PA Images

IN A LANDMARK ruling this afternoon, the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade case, which had enshrined legal abortions across all 50 states.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade scraps almost 50 years of precedent after the case was decided in 1973.

The ruling is set to fundamentally change the landscape across the US, with half the states in the country now likely to ban abortion outright.

Concerns about the courts plans to overturn Roe came in early May, when a draft opinion was leaked to Politico and showed that a majority of judges were behind the decision to strike down the case.

The final wording of the opinion was similar to the draft opinion and was in reference to a case that challenged Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, in a case that is known as Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation.

The decision today states:

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who is a conservative judge and was appointed by former President George W Bush, delivered the opinion on the case.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito says.

“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.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, what is set to change in the immediate future?

Immediate impact

With the constitutional right to abortions overturned, it is now down to individual states to legislate whether or not they want to allow abortions.

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The US Centre for Reproductive Rights expects that 24 states will now try and completely ban abortions.

These 24 states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

However, this may not happen immediately as some states will have to pass legislation to either outright ban abortions or heavily restrict access to them.

There are several states that do have built-in protections for abortion rights and that will likely continue to offer abortions.

For women living in states who will or have banned abortion, they will either be forced to travel to another state that offers abortion services or to order abortion pills from outside their state.

This is likely to cause a drop in abortions overall. Pro-choice campaigners argue that many of the women who get abortions are more likely to be poor, and have pointed out that long distance travel can be extremely costly in the US.

Amnesty International also say that the ruling will force women to seek unsafe abortions.

“People will be forced to give birth. They’ll be forced to seek unsafe abortions. This is the outcome of a decades-long campaign to control people’s bodies,” said Tarah Demant, Interim National Director for Programs, Advocacy and Government Affairs for Amnesty International.

For all the developments on this story, you can follow our liveblog here.

About the author:

Tadgh McNally

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