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US Supreme Court Overturns Major Reproductive Health Ruling

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 06/24/2022 - 16:31

With six votes in favor and three against, the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that established the constitutional right to abortion. The decision could make abortion illegal in 22 US states.

In May 2022, this court decision was leaked through a draft written by US Justice Samuel Alito, where he called for Roe v. Wade to be overruled" because they were egregiously wrong, the arguments exceptionally weak and so damaging that they amounted to an abuse of judicial authority."

In the official decision, Alito, writing for the majority, said any state regulation of abortion is presumptively valid and "must be sustained if there is a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought it was serving legitimate state interests,including respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development." In addition, he said, states are entitled to regulate abortion to eliminate "gruesome and barbaric" medical procedures; to "preserve the integrity of the medical profession.” 

Alito was joined in that judgment by the five of the other Republican-appointed justices, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts, “whose support for overturning Roe had long been in doubt,” according to CNBC. 

Democrat-appointed judges Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in a dissenting opinion to the ruling “today’s Court, that is, does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and the path of her life.”

According to NPR, with this overruling, more restrictions are likely to follow. 

Comprehensive abortion care is included in the list of essential health care services published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020. Comprehensive abortion care includes the provision of information, abortion management and post-abortion care. Lack of access to safe, affordable, timely and respectful abortion care and the stigma associated with abortion, pose risks to women’s physical and mental wellbeing throughout their lives.

“Inaccessibility of quality abortion care risks violating a range of human rights of women and girls, including the right to life; the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to benefit from scientific progress and its realization; the right to decide freely and responsibly on the number, spacing and timing of children; and the right to be free from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment,” says the WHO

In Mexico, abortion has been recognized as a Constitutional right, but of the country’s 32 states, only eight—Mexico City, Colima, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Baja California, Sinaloa, Guerrero and Tlaxcala—legally allow the interruption of pregnancy during the first 12-13 weeks of gestation, or later if there is a danger to the life of the mother or malformations in the fetus.

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst