The Supreme Court Has Struck Down Roe v. Wade

Roughly half of U.S. states have indicated they will now ban abortion.

supreme court building in d.c.
(Image credit: Getty)

Forty-nine years after it became the law of the land, the landmark Roe v. Wade decision—a Supreme Court ruling that made access to safe and legal abortion a constitutional right—has been struck down. Ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the Roe precedent in a 6-3 decision, essentially allowing individual states and jurisdictions to pursue bans on abortion. In other words, reproductive freedom is no longer a constitutionally protected right across the United States.

"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 decision reads.

A draft of the decision had been leaked to Politico in May, causing widespread uproar. President Biden noted prior to the decision that he was considering executive orders with the goal of protecting reproductive freedom in the wake of the decision, though Vox notes that an executive order could not directly challenge the ruling.

More than a dozen states already have "trigger laws," designed so that if Roe falls—as it now has—abortion bans immediately go into effect in the state. Roughly half of U.S. states have indicated that they plan to ban abortion in the wake of the decision.

"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," wrote Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”"

The full decision can be read here.

Jenny Hollander
Digital Director

Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books on February 6, 2024.