Supreme Court Overturns Roe, Marriage Equality Is Next Target

The U.S. Supreme Court (2021)
The U.S. Supreme Court (public domain)

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its own historic Roe v. Wade ruling which made abortions legal in the U.S. And yes, the ruling is pretty much what we’ve been expecting for months.

The decision, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, will lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.

It’s important to note that we got here in great part thanks to Donald Trump, who promised to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling. The three liberal justices all dissented.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) pointed out that two of those justices, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, testified under oath in their confirmation hearings they believed Roe to be settled law.

Legal abortion will now be banned in nearly half of the country. Thirteen states have ‘trigger laws’ in place that will prohibit abortions in anticipation of today’s ruling. Those laws will go into effect in about a month.

The decision is widely out of step with how Americans fell. A recent SCOTUSPoll showed 62.3 percent of respondents opposed overturning Roe v. Wade. Just 37.8 percent of respondents believed the Supreme Court should do so.

You can read the history of cases that led to today’s terrible ruling here at the New York Times.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded with this statement explaining why today’s ruling shows how LGBTQ rights at risk:

“The message here is clear and distressing: Americans are losing protected access to abortion, a constitutional right they have valued for nearly fifty years, and other rights to personal liberty are at risk too.

“The anti-abortion playbook and the anti-LGBTQ playbook are one and the same. Both are about denying control over our bodies and making it more dangerous for us to live as we are. Both divide our country into free and less free, the opposite of what the United States should be.

“Our bodies, healthcare and our future belong to us, not to a meddling politician or extremist Supreme Court justices, and we will fight back.”

It’s worth noting that in his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas calls for reconsidering the 2015 Obergefell decision which made same-sex marriage legal across the country.

From Thomas’s concurring opinion:

The Court’s abortion cases are unique, see ante, at 31–32, 66, 71–72, and no party has asked us to decide “whether our entire Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence must be preserved or revised,” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 813 (opinion of THOMAS, J.).

Thus, I agree that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Ante, at 66.

For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.