The Supreme Court concluded on Friday that Americans no longer have a constitutional right to abortion, reversing Roe v. Wade and erasing reproductive rights that have been in place for almost five decades.
A majority of the justices said in the court’s most closely watched and contentious case in years that the right to terminate a pregnancy was not contained in the language of the Constitution or in the nation’s history.
The ruling was written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito for a 6-3 majority.
The decision immediately turns the emphasis of one of the country’s most polarizing topics to state capitols: Republican lawmakers are certain to restrict abortion in almost half of the states, while Democratic-led states are likely to strengthen abortion laws. In other words, access to abortion will be virtually completely determined by where a person lives.
Though not unexpected, the court’s judgment was a political and cultural earthquake, changing millions of Americans’ relationship with the government.
While conservatives will applaud the decision, it will almost surely spark protests, new challenges, and accusations from the left that the nation’s highest court, apparently above the party divide, is just as political as the other branches of government.