Vision Logo

The Roe v Wade Overruling Explained

by | Mon, Jun 27 2022

Text size: A- A+

The Original Roe v Wade Ruling

Roe v Wade was the landmark legal case from 1973 in which the US Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for individual states to excessively restrict access to abortion.

The basis for the ruling, which many have questioned over the years, all hinged on a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution which reads, “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Their argument was, the protection of “liberty” mentioned within that clause, ensured a citizen’s right to privacy.

Therefore, the criminalisation of abortion by an individual state – such as Texas – was seen by them to be a violation of a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court Justices at that time decided, access to abortion without excessive government regulation was a fundamental right granted by the constitution.

This ruling prohibited all states from banning abortion outright, and since 1973, tens of millions of pregnant women have chosen to end the lives of their unborn children.


Roe v Wade Overruled

Last Friday, the US Supreme Court made the historic decision to overrule Roe v Wade by a 5-4 majority.

The Court’s opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito says, “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including… the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

It goes on to say, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion, “the purported right to abortion is not a form of ‘liberty’.”

Authority over abortion legislation has now been returned to the individual states.

Following the ruling, Justice Thomas suggested the Supreme Court should now revisit other cases also based on “due process of law” clauses – such as those which legalised same-sex relations, same-sex marriage, and the use of contraception.


The Nation Reacts

The overruling of Roe v Wade is expected to intensify tensions in an already divided nation.

While the announcement sparked protests from pro-abortion activists, there was much rejoicing among the pro-life community.

Once the ruling was handed down, 13 US states immediately enacted ‘trigger laws’ which automatically ban or restrict access to abortion.

Five states so far have banned abortion outright, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and South Dakota,

South Dakota Governor, Kristi Noem took to Twitter, saying “we have prayed for this day, and now it’s here. Legislative leaders and I have jointly announced plans for a special session to save lives and help mothers this year.”

As abortion clinics shut down across a number of states, Lila Rose from pro-life group Live Action, Tweeted: “there are children who were scheduled to die today that will live instead.”

Pro-life advocate Allie Beth Stuckey wrote, “what incredible mercy of God. Roe v Wade has been a scourge on our nation for 50 years.”

Pastor Greg Laurie took to Twitter to write, “countless lives have been saved by this decision. Thank God! Now more than ever before, the church must prioritize caring for mothers and children”.

Former President, Donald Trump told Fox News “God made the decision.”

In stark contrast, addressing the nation, current President Joe Biden described the Supreme Court’s decision as “a tragic error”, and urged voters to elect Senators in November who support pro-abortion laws.

A number of companies also announced they would pay for their employees’ travel costs if they chose to seek an abortion interstate, including Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook’s parent company Meta, Disney, Netflix, Nike, Uber, Airbnb, Alaska Airlines and Paypal.

Pro-life centres and churches around the US have been warned to brace for possible attacks or vandalism from pro-abortion activists, over the coming weeks.