Roe v. Wade, the court’s pioneering 1973 decision that established abortion as a constitutional right, was overturned by the United States Supreme Court on Friday (June 24) by a 6-3 majority. The ruling, a preliminary version of which was obtained by “Politico” on May 3, will fundamentally alter how women live in America. About half of the states in the nation will enact nearly complete abortion bans.
ROE v. WADE
The 22-year-old plaintiff, Norma McCorvey, is referred to in the case as simply “Roe” on occasion. Wade was the defendant and the district attorney for Dallas County (Texas) at the time. In “Roe,” abortion was declared legal up until the point of foetal viability, that is, the time after which a foetus can survive outside the womb and that laws outlawing it in some states were overturned.
At the time of the “Roe” decision, nearly 50 years ago, foetal viability was approximately 28 weeks (7 months); experts now concur that medical advancements have lowered the threshold to 23 or 24 weeks (6 months or slightly less), and more recent studies suggest that this may even be as low as 22 weeks.
About 40 weeks are usually required for a pregnancy. The point at which the rights of the woman and the unborn foetus can be divided is frequently referred to as “foetal viability.” Commonly, the beginning of a person’s most recent menstrual period is used to determine how long a pregnancy is.
Pre-viability timelines give women very little time and opportunity to make a decision to abort because many people don’t realise they’re pregnant until the sixth week.
This metric is used in abortion laws all over the world, but opponents of abortion claim that it was chosen at random by lawmakers and the court in the “Roe” case. Details of the ruling were not immediately available, but according to a draught opinion obtained by “Politico,” the opinion’s author, Justice Samuel Alito, rejected “Roe” as “egregiously wrong from the start” and declared that “Roe” and “Casey,” a 1992 landmark abortion ruling by the court that reaffirmed “Roe’s” main tenet that women have the right to terminate pregnancies up to the point of foetal viability.
The overturning of “Roe” leaves abortion laws entirely up to the states because there is no federal law protecting the right to an abortion in the US. Restrictive laws that forbade abortions before the Supreme Court established the 1973 foetal viability standard are likely to be reinstated by conservative states.
According to an earlier prediction by The New York Times, legislatures in 22 states would “almost certainly” take action to outlaw or severely restrict access to abortion, with poorer women typically bearing the brunt of these actions. According to research based on the results of the closures of abortion clinics in Texas between 2013 and 2016, the number of legal abortions in the US could decrease by at least 14% without the protection of “Roe”
Abortion In India
Abortion is legal in India up until 20 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The limit on abortions was increased to 24 weeks through a 2021 amendment, but only for specific groups of pregnant women, such as rape or incest survivors, and even then, only with the consent of two licenced physicians. There is no time limit for abortion in cases of foetal disability, but this is permitted by a medical board made up of specialised doctors that was established by the governments of the states and union territories.
Around 16 nations around the world have outright bans or even criminal laws against abortion. However, a number of countries with a Catholic majority, including Ireland and Mexico, decriminalised abortion in the past ten years.