U.S. torn by Supreme Court's decision to strike down landmark ruling on abortion rights

(Xinhua) 09:07, June 26, 2022

With Roe falling, more than two dozen states in the United States -- primarily in the south and midwest and controlled by Republicans -- are expected to tighten abortion access, including 13 states with "trigger bans" that would immediately outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

WASHINGTON, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the nation nearly half a century ago.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences."

"It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives," the conservative suggested.

The court's three liberal justices dissented, saying that "many millions of American women" have lost a fundamental constitutional protection.

The announcement came after the Supreme Court had considered an appeal case involving a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in certain circumstances.

Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., the United States, on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Aaron Schwartz/Xinhua)

Chief Justice John Roberts did not join the majority, arguing in a concurring opinion that he would not have overturned Roe but instead would have only upheld Mississippi's law.

Crowds on both sides of abortion rights are demonstrating near the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. throughout Friday, with the presence of police in riot gear.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch reportedly notified law enforcement, first responders, and private sector partners across the nation on Friday of potential domestic violence extremist activity in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion rights.

With Roe falling, more than two dozen states in the United States -- primarily in the south and midwest and controlled by Republicans -- are expected to tighten abortion access, including 13 states with "trigger bans" that would immediately outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Governor Mike Parson tweeted Friday that Missouri "has become the first state in the nation to effectively end abortions," activating a bill ending elective abortions in the state. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge later signed a certification that prohibits abortions in the state.

Demonstrators march during a protest after U.S. Supreme Court made decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in New York, the United States, June 24, 2022. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, on Friday signed a new law strengthening abortion rights in the state, saying he was feeling "pissed, resolved, and angry."

"Women are treated as second-class citizens in this country," Newsom said. "Women are not as free as men. That's pretty damn sick."

In response to the Supreme Court's ruling, U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday that the court "expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized," calling it "a sad day for the Court and for the country."

"The Court literally taking America back 150 years," Biden said. "Now, with Roe gone, let's be very clear: The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk."

Republicans and religious conservatives celebrated what they see a victory. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose three Supreme Court picks helped solidify a conservative majority, praised its decision to overturn Roe, telling Fox News that "this is following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago."

Demonstrators protest against the Supreme Court's overturning of the Roe vs. Wade abortion-rights ruling in San Francisco, California, the United States, on June 24, 2022.(Photo by Li Jianguo/Xinhua)

The issue also caused international concern. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "the news coming out of the United States is horrific."

"My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can't imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now," Trudeau said. "No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body."

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that access to safe, legal, and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human right law and is at the core of women and girls' autonomy, and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence, and coercion.

"This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the U.S., in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights," Bachelet warned.

People protest along the Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, California, the United States, June 24, 2022. (Xinhua)

The Supreme Court is the final appellate court of the U.S. judicial system, with the power to review and overturn lower court decisions, and is also generally the final interpreter of federal law, including the nation's constitution.

The court -- in which conservatives now have a 6-3 majority over liberals on the bench -- has recently released a series of rulings as it nears the end of the current term.

Americans' confidence in the Supreme Court has dropped sharply over the past year and reached a new low in Gallup's nearly 50-year trend.

Only 25 percent of adults across the United States say they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, down from 36 percent a year ago and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014. 

(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)


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