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Roe Vs Wade: The US Supreme Court Is Striking Down Right To Abortion And Privacy
The US Supreme Court is moving to dismantle the fundamental right to privacy in an individual’s life on reproductive health, sexual intimacy, and marriage. This will not set the stage for the upcoming midterm elections in November 2022
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The Right to abortion has become one of the most contentious social issues in the United States. For fifty years this right has been enriched by the US Supreme Court ruling Roe Vs. Wade 1973. However, after this there have been legal challenges to Roe vs. Wade and state governments have enacted a slew of legislation whittling away at the landmark ruling and making it more difficult for women to exercise this right. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that without the protection of Roe vs. Wade 26 states in the United States are likely to ban abortion.
On December 1, 2021, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case about a blatantly unconstitutional Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion.
On Tuesday, May 2nd, 2022, at midnight the website Politico published a leaked and draft decision by the US Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade a landmark judgment that has governed abortion in the US for the past 50 years. Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the draft. The language used by the drafter of the leaked document Justice Samuel Alito indicates according to legal scholars that the court is looking not just to overturn Roe vs. Wade which would immediately make abortion illegal in 26 Republican ruled states but to set the stage for a Republican majority congress some time in the future to ban all abortion and contraception.
Furthermore, legal scholars such as Professor Laurence Tribe opine that the judgment overturning access to abortion will pave the way for overturning Lawrence vs. Texas that invalidated sodomy law across the United States, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every State and United States territory and Obergefell v. Hodges making same-sex marriage legal. The US Supreme Court is moving to dismantle the fundamental right to privacy in an individual’s life on reproductive health, sexual intimacy, and marriage. This will not set the stage for the upcoming midterm elections in November 2022.
Neeta Misra is based in Washington DC and heads Businessworld’s Policy Matters a global initiative that focuses on public policy for vulnerable communities.