U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Abortion Right:
In a significant curtailment of women’s rights, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision giving women in America the right to have an abortion before the foetus is viable outside the womb — before the 24-28 week mark.
- It also overturned was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 case that upheld Roe.
- Abortion rights which have been available to women for over two generations will now be determined by individual States.
- Some 20 States have laws (which were overruled by Roe until now) restricting or banning abortions.
- Thirteen States have laws banning the procedure, that come into effect, now that Roe has been overturned.
- Addressing the nation, President Joe Biden called the decision a “tragic error” and a “sad day” for the court and the country. “The court has done what it has never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans,” he said.
- Biden warned officials, “state or local” ,” high or low” not to interfere in the right of a woman to travel to a State where she could have an abortion.
Roe v. Wade:
- The case, sometimes referred to simply as “Roe”, struck down laws that made abortion illegal in several states, and ruled that abortion would be allowed up to the point of foetal viability, that is, the time after which a foetus can survive outside the womb.
- Foetal viability was around 28 weeks (7 months) at the time of the ‘Roe’ judgment nearly 50 years ago; experts now agree that advances in medicine have brought the threshold down to 23 or 24 weeks (6 months or a little less), and newer studies show this could be further pegged at 22 weeks. An average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
- Foetal viability is often seen as the point at which the rights of the woman can be separated from the rights of the unborn foetus.