The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ends 50 years of federal abortion rights.
The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion put in place nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overrule Roe v. Wade. The outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.
It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.
Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned.
Joining Alito in the 5-3 vote were Thomas and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett. The latter three justices are Trump appointees. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — the diminished liberal wing of the court — were in dissent.
“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” they wrote, warning that abortion opponents now could pursue a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”
Six out of 10 Americans — 61 percent — say they support abortion rights, including 88 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents and a third of Republicans. Another 34 percent of Americans overall, including 63 percent of Republicans, oppose abortion rights.