The Supreme Court has overturned its 49-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout the US, upholding a Mississippi law banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy – and leaving the issue up to each of the 50 states.
The decision was handed down weeks after a draft version of the opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico – sparking outrage and protests across the country.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in that leaked decision, adding that “its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
Alito was joined in his opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Democrat-appointed Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
While recent polling has found the majority of Americans wanted Roe v. Wade to be upheld, the decision will allow 22 states to implement total or near-total abortion restrictions.
Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Ahead of the decision, Democrats in Congress attempted to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law, but the bill failed to clear a test vote in the evenly split Senate, only garnering 49 votes last month.