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June 26, 2022, 1:01 p.m. EDT

‘This is a dark day for American democracy’: Women’s groups react to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

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By Quentin Fottrell

Roughly half U.S. states now have the green light to ban or severely restrict abortion access.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it had decided in a 5-4 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade in a landmark decision that reverses a nearly 50-year-old precedent granting women the right to an abortion in all 50 states.

C. Nicole Mason, CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit that supports abortions rights, was among several women’s rights advocates who responded to the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday.

“This is a dark day for American democracy and women’s reproductive rights. Today, the Supreme Court turned back the clock on nearly a half century of progress on gender equality,” she said.

“Now, legislatures across the country are expected to quickly ban abortion, leaving women — especially low-income women and women of color — without access to critical health care services in their states and communities,” she added.

The decision fell along ideological lines, with Republican-appointed judges voting to overturn Roe and the court’s three liberals dissenting. Up to 26 U.S. states are likely to ban or severely restrict abortion over the coming hours, days and weeks .

The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda also responded critically to the Supreme Court’s decision: “Many Black women and birthing people will lose all access — for them, the cost may be their health, lives or livelihood.”

“Eliminating abortion rights in many states will be an inconvenience for women and birthing people of means — mostly white — who will be able to afford the high cost of accessing safe abortion,” the organization added.

The court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have a seismic and swift impact: 13 states have “trigger” laws designed to immediately ban abortion access in the wake of a Roe reversal; another dozen or more will do so in the coming weeks and months.

The Supreme Court opinion pertains to a case related to a Mississippi law that sought to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion will no longer be protected federally.

Abortion access and affordability  already posed a challenge  for many women, even before Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling recognizing a federal constitutional right to abortion, was overturned.

Millions of women will have to travel hundreds of miles to receive abortion care, advocates for abortion access say. Even without travel, abortions can cost between $650 and $1,200, and sometimes even more.

Some abortion opponents believe abortion is wrong under any circumstances on moral and religious grounds, while others believe it can be acceptable in cases of rape, incest or in cases when a woman’s life is at risk. 

Other female-led organizations praised the decision. “This is a great day for preborn children and their mothers,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life (NRLC), an anti-abortion organization founded in 1968.

“The Court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the constitution, thereby allowing the people, through their elected representatives, to have a voice in this very important decision,” she added.

She cited the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, appointed by President George W. Bush: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

Related:

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade: An estimated 40 million women will lose access to abortion

A quarter of abortion clinics could close if Roe is overturned, but voters say they’re more worried about the economy

Starbucks, Tesla, Amazon among companies that will cover abortion travel costs for employees

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