SCOTUS Finally Made it Official: Roe Is Dead

The court officially ruled to let a Mississippi law stand that bans abortion after 15 weeks—overturning decades of precedent and threatening your constitutional rights.

Mother Jones illustration; Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Well, folks, the decision is here.

As expected, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of bypassing the precedents established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey rulings and upholding a law passed by Mississippi in 2019 that bans abortion at 15 weeks. The opinion nullifies the constitutional right to an abortion and significantly weakens the right to privacy, which will likely spell more trouble ahead for contraceptive rights and LGBTQ+ rights. More immediately, 13 states have trigger laws on the books that will ban abortion immediately. (The procedure is already banned in Oklahoma, which didn’t even wait for SCOTUS to rule.)

Today’s ruling gutting abortion rights has been expected since early May, when Politico published a leaked draft of the opinion, in which Justice Samuel Alito declared, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” That sentiment stands.

The right to abortion has been on the books for half a century. But two generations of conservative legal activism primed the Supreme Court for today’s tectonic decision, and with the fall of Roe, former President Trump secured a defining moment for his far-right legacy: It was his appointees who finally tipped the balance on the court, and ensured this ruling’s majority. 

Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion fundamentally rejected the idea that Roe should remain under the doctrine known as stare decisis, the concept that protects legal precedent. “We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,” Alito writes. “Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

While Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the majority, he issued a concurring opinion that differed by saying that the majority’s argument did not require the court “to take the dramatic step of altogether eliminating the abortion right first recognized in Roe.”

The three liberal justices, writing in dissent, decried the decision for discarding “a known, workable, and predictable standard in favor of something novel and probably far more complicated,” setting states against each other, and producing innumerable legal battles to come. “The majority’s response to these obvious points exists far from the reality American women actually live,” they wrote.

“This morning, the radical Supreme Court is eviscerating Americans’ rights and endangering their health and safety,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a swiftly convened press conference. “Today the Republican-controlled Supreme Court has achieved its dark extreme goal,” she said, laying the blame at the feet of Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, accusing them of “criminalizing health freedom.”

She also warned of a nationwide abortion ban if Republicans win both houses of Congress in November.

Immediately, activists on both sides descended on the Supreme Court Friday morning to celebrate and protest. Liberal and progressive leaders across the country scrambled to pull together legal responses to ensure the continuation of the right to abortion in their states.

Read the full opinion here.

This is a breaking story. We will update this post as we digest the full legal opinion. Check back at motherjones.com for more updates on abortion access.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate