The Supreme Court on Friday it revoked the legal right to abortion in the United States, returning the ability to regulate the procedure to states, more than half of which have pledged to ban it. The decision in Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization explicitly annuls the 1973 historical case Roe against Wadewhich guaranteed the right to abortion, prior to fetal viability, throughout the country.
“Detention: the Constitution does not confer the right to abortion; Roe and Casey are annulled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives, “Judge Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. The decision was 6-3, with the three liberal judges of the court disagreeing.
The decision, which will immediately trigger the arrival of “activating laws” in 13 states, has been anticipated since a draft was leaked in May. As it comes into force, it promises to reverse 50 years of profound changes in the lives of women in the United States, and in the structures and well-being of families, created by Roe.
Since the early 1970s, the marriage rate for American women has halved and their college degree has quadrupled. The number of women who have no children has more than doubled, and the number of women who stop working because they are raising children is half what it was.
Put more simply: over the past 50 years, thanks to access to legal and safe abortion, women have been able to make decisions that have reshaped their lives. Now that Roe has been canceled, some of these options and some of these vital pathways may no longer be available.
“The ability to determine the timing of her motherhood is a pillar of the modern family,” says Philip N. Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, who argued in The New Republic in May that abortion rights are a fundamental component of democracy. “Abortion rights are fundamental to women’s progress and are part of a package of self-determination and autonomy that is fundamental to women’s lives.”
It is important to state in advance that the Roe The January 1973 decision does not represent a single moment when all access to abortion in the U.S. changed, as if a switch had been turned. Before Roe, the decision had been in the state legislatures, as it will be again. In the late 1960s, 11 states loosened what had been total bans on abortion to allow for occasional exceptions, after scrutiny by some kind of medical committee, for rape or incest, or to preserve the life of the women. More importantly, in 1970, Washington, DC, and five states — Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York, and Washington State — legalized abortion, both for their own residents and for any well-to-do woman. to get there.
What happened in these states during the three years before the Roe The decision provides economists and social scientists with a natural experiment on the effects of legal access to safe abortion. The states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington were evidently difficult to reach; for the most part, only its residents benefited from legalization there. But California, New York, and Washington, DC were population centers served by many transportation routes. National data for the time are incomplete; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began counting abortions in 1969, but only about half of the states participated. These state data show that abortions increased after local legalization and then decreased Roe he legalized them throughout the country. The natural conclusion is that women initially went to states where abortions were available, but they no longer had to do so afterwards. Roe.