The US Supreme Court has ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shredded half a century of constitutional protections on one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life.
The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v Wade” decision that enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion, saying that individual states can now permit or restrict the procedure themselves.
“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,” the court said.
In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said “abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” he said.
This development represents a victory of 50 years of struggle against abortion by the religious right but the anti-abortion camp is expected to continue to push for an outright nationwide ban.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 13 states have adopted so-called “trigger laws” that will ban abortion following the move by the Supreme Court.
Ten others have pre-1973 laws that could go into force or legislation that would ban abortion after six weeks before many women even know they are pregnant.
Women living in states with strict anti-abortion laws will either have to continue their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion or obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where the procedure remains legal.
The ruling was made possible by the nomination of three conservative justices to the court by former Republican president Donald Trump — Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The case before the court was a Mississippi law that would restrict abortion to 15 weeks but during the hearing of the case in December, several justices indicated they were prepared to go further.
Reports say, since the latest abortion ban, barricades have been erected around the court to keep back protesters — after an armed man was arrested on June 8 near the home of conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh.
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