The United States Supreme Court has overturned the 50-year-old Roe v Wade ruling that granted millions of women the legal right to abortion.
The move comes as the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the state in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization case, in which the state of Mississippi argued for a new law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Roe v Wade, which was established in 1973, legalised abortion nationwide up to the point of foetal viability, which is generally accepted to be around 24 weeks into pregnancy.
The United States Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) June 24, 2022
Today is a dark and heartbreaking day in our country’s history.
The court ruled in favour of the state by a majority vote of six to three, in turn making it so individual states across North America will now be able to introduce bans on the procedure.
Half of the states in the country are already expected to introduce new restrictions or bans, with 13 states, including Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi having already passed so-called trigger laws that mean a ban on abortion will automatically go into effect following the Supreme Court's ruling.
Others will reactivate dormant laws that will in many cases make it illegal to access abortion, possibly even when the conception has resulted from rape or incest.
The ban is expected to cut access to abortions for approximately 36 million women of reproductive age in the US, according to research from Planned Parenthood cited by BBC News.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court has taken away our right to abortion and overturned Roe v. Wade, opening the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion.— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) June 24, 2022
The court has failed us all — but this is far from over. ⤵
The decision to overturn Roe v Wade is one that has long been condemned by pro-choice groups, who argue abortion should be viewed as a human right.
In a statement released following the court's ruling, Planned Parenthood wrote: "The Supreme Court has taken away our right to abortion and overturned Roe v. Wade, opening the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion. The court has failed us all — but this is far from over.
"We know what politicians want because it's already happening: to ban abortion state by state—& eventually a national ban. But, like generations before us, we'll fight for each other," the organisation continued.
Planned Parenthood is continuing to urge people who may be in need of an abortion to reach out to the organisation for support.
Weeks before the Supreme Court announced its decision, a draft opinion published on the US political website Politico revealed the court was poised to overturn Roe v Wade.
The leak itself was enough to prompt widespread protest across the US, with protests likely to continue in the wake of the confirmation.
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