US top court ends 50 years of national abortion rights; What is Roe v. Wade ruling, explained

US Supreme Court on June 24 ended 50 years of federal abortion rights in the country which is called the Roe v.Wade ruling with a majority voting for killing the abortion law in the country. The Supreme Court overturned the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling defending the right to abortion. States can now make voluntary decisions to legislate to control or ban abortion, CNN reported.

The Court in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The court observed that there was disagreement among Americans on the issue of abortion. The court finally accepted the need to raise religious rights for 50 years. 

Roe v. Wade ruling

Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. It was on January 22, 1973, that the court decided that the constitutional right to privacy applied to abortion and its rights.

Before the 1973 case, a pregnant woman named Roe fueled an ongoing abortion debate in the United States about whether or to what extent abortion should be legal. She filed a lawsuit against Dallas Attorney General Henry Wade over Texas law criminalizing termination of pregnancy, except in cases of rape or incest or endangering the life of the mother. A similar complaint was filed with her by Dr. James Halford, of Texas, who argued that the medical system of the law was unclear and that he could not reliably determine which of his patients belonged to the permissible category. Similarly, an unpregnant woman also filed a complaint to the court citing the same reasons and she wanted to abort her pregnancy in case it is threatening to life. 

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Soon after all the critics and complaints from different people across the country, the top court heard arguments twice, and then waited until after Republican President Richard Nixon’s re-election, in November 1972. In 1973, the court’s decision came and it was in favour of Roe, ruling that the Due process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US provides a “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion. Meanwhile, the court also ruled that this right is not absolute and must be balanced against governments’ interests in protecting women’s health and prenatal life.