Explainer: US Supreme Court abolished half a century old abortion right; here’s what’s Roe vs Wade and what this will mean for abortion rights in the US

The US Supreme Court on Friday abolished a landmark case that was the basis of legal abortions in the states for nearly 50 years. Ruling in favor of a Mississippi abortion law, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. With this ruling, 50 years of reproductive rights in the US comes to an end.

The Court’s ruling has been indicated via a leaked document; however, this does not decline the concern of the citizens and the impact it will have on them.

What is Roe v. Wade?


On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right granted to women in a historice 1973 ruling called Roe v. Wade. Through this abortion was legalised across the states.

Who are Roe and Wade?


In 1969 when Jane Roe was pregnant for the third time, she sought to have an abortion. Jane Roe was the pseudonym for Norma McCorvey who lived in Texas, was then 22 years old, was unmarried and was also unemployed.
Her case was argued on December 13, 1971 and was reargued on October 11, 1972. Finally on January 22, 1973 the Court ruled in favor of Roe. It was for her legal battle many women could exercise their right to abortion.
However, by the time the Supreme Court had made a final decision, Roe had already given birth and had placed her infant daughter for adoption.
Who is Wade? Hendry Wade was the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Technically, Roe sued him when she sought the right to abortion.
Hence the case is referred to as Roe v. Wade.
What happens now?


On June 24, 2022 in a 6-3 ruling a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks was upheld.
The current ruling is based on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, as reported by AFP, 13 US states have adopted laws that will ban abortion following the move by the Supreme Court whereas 10 others have pre-1973 laws that when goes into legislation would ban abortion after six weeks; even before many women even know that they are actually pregnant.
Women living in the US which have the strict anti-abortion laws who won’t be having the legal right to exercise for abortion will not be left with other options too. They will either have to continue with their pregnancy without their will, undergo an illegal abortion or even obtain abortion pills. As a last option, they might have to travel to another state where the procedure remains legal.
“I am heartbroken today”
On the Supreme Court ruling, Michelle Obama took to Instagram her thoughts. “I am heartbroken for people around this country who just lost the fundamental right to make informed decisions about their own bodies.”
“I am heartbroken that we may now be destined to learn the painful lesson of a time before Roe was made the law of the land- a time when women risked losing their lives getting illegal abortions. A time when the government denied women control over their reproductive functions, forced them to move forward with pregnancies they didn’t want and then abandoned them once their babies were born,” she has written.
“I am heartbroken – for the teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won’t be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state controls her reproductive decisions; for the mother of a nonviable pregnancy who is now forced to bring that pregnancy to term; for the parents watching their child’s future evaporate before their very eyes; for the health care workers who can no longer help them without risking jail time,” she writes and expresses her pain for the young girls who had to put so many things at risk due to this decision of the Court.
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Companies reach out to women employees
After this consequential decision of the Court came to the fore, US companies have marched forward to help women employees.

Amazon has said it will pay up to $4,000 yearly for non-life threatening medical treatments, including elective abortions.

OTT streamer Netflix has offered travel reimbursement for those US employees and dependents who travel for medical treaments like cancer, transplants, abortion included its health plans.

Riding service provider Uber says its insurance plans in the US cover reproductive health benefits, including pregnancy termination.

Meta Platforms Inc has said it intends to offer travel reimbursement for employees who need to use them for reproductive services.

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