The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. On June 24, Justice Samuel Alito issued a majority opinion on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that did away with a constitutional right to an abortion.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization centered around a controversial 2018 Mississippi law that would effectively ban the majority of abortions in the state after 15 weeks. The U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the law in late 2019; however, in May 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court ruled that the Mississippi law is constitutional as “it satisfies rational-basis review.” The court also stated that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.” Specifically, they overruled both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey. This means that abortion regulatory laws and rights will be determined by individual states.
In their majority opinion, Alito said, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” Associate Judge Stephen Breyer, alongside Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan, voted against overturning Roe v. Wade. In a dissenting opinion, Breyer wrote, "After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had.”
This final decision has been long-awaited. On May 2, Politico published a leaked draft opinion that suggested the Supreme Court was considering overturning Roe v. Wade. The landmark 1973 ruling protected a person’s constitutional right to have an abortion until fetal viability, usually around 24 weeks. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft’s authenticity but clarified that it did not reflect the Supreme Court’s final decision. With the overturn of Roe, the United States goes back to the state-by-state patchwork of abortion laws in place before the decision took effect, meaning that abortion is legal in some states but heavily restricted or even banned in others.
After a final decision was announced, politicians and celebrities spoke out against the ruling on social media. Former First Lady Michelle Obama issued a statement that said, in part, “This horrifying decision will have devastating consequences, and it must be a wake-up call, especially to the young people who will bear its burden.”
Taylor Swift quote-tweeted Michelle’s post with her own statement. She said, “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are - that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.”
President Barack Obama also issued a statement. He said, in part, the ruling “relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues — attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Alongside the Obamas, celebrities like Finneas, Aly & AJ, and Keke Palmer among many others also quickly posted their thoughts online about the ruling.
Musicians like Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish weighed in on the ruling at the Glastonbury Festival in England on June 24. Bridgers took to the crowd during her set to get a chant started: “Are there any Americans here? Who wants to say ‘F*ck the Supreme Court’ on three?” The crowd roared in agreement and echoed her chant, to which she added: “F*ck that sh*t. F*ck America. Like, f*ck you. All these irrelevant old motherf*ckers trying to tell us what to do with our f*cking bodies.”
As the youngest headliner in Glastonbury’s history, Billie Eilish wasted no time using her platform to tell the crowd exactly what was on her mind: “And today is a really, really dark day for women in the US. I’m just going to say that as I cannot bear to think about it any longer in this moment.” She went on to perform her song “Your Power,” which speaks to standing up against abuse of power, a poignant and timely message. The rest of her set was as lively and energetic as you’d expect from the star, leaving the crowd with her appreciation: “And I love you all and I stand with you and I support you and everything that makes you who you are.”
Olivia Rodrigo also used the Glastonbury stage to condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling. During her set on June 25, Rodrigo was joined on stage by Lily Allen, and they dedicated their performance of Allen’s hit “F*ck You” to the five Supreme Court justices who voted to overrule Roe v. Wade.
“This song goes out to the justices: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh. We hate you,” Rodrigo said.
Lizzo announced on her social media platforms that she pledged $500k from her upcoming tour to Planned Parenthood and Abortion Rights. “The most important thing is action & loud voices,” she wrote on Instagram, adding that Live Nation would match her pledge, totaling the donation to one million dollars.
Prior to the final decision, celebrities like Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus publicly supported upholding Roe v. Wade. On May 13, they joined 158 other celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendes to show support for Roe v. Wade by signing their names to a Planned Parenthood ad in The New York Times.
With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, advocates for reproductive rights can continue donating to a series of organizations supporting access to safe abortions. More information about state abortion laws can be found here.
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