Although Roe v. Wade has provided a constitutionally guaranteed right to abortion, reproductive rights in the United States have always been on shaky grounds. But after the Supreme Court’s official decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (one of the most critical abortion rights cases since Roe) these fragile rights are poised to shatter in dozens of states across the country. People all over the internet are dealing with a wide range of feelings — fear, anger, frustration, worry, and more — and they’re using Twitter to express their heavy emotions. These tweets about the SCOTUS decision on Roe all point out the bleak reality.
The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was passed down on June 24, and the court held: “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” It was a 6-3 vote ending the federal right to abortion as it upheld the Mississippi law banning the right to an abortion after 15 weeks. Justice Samuel Alito penned the majority opinion, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett also in the majority. (Chief Justice John Roberts filed a separate opinion agreeing with the court’s decision to uphold the Mississippi law, but argued the court shouldn’t have made a broader judgement overturning Roe v. Wade.)
In his majority opinion, Justice Alito wrote: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Alito argued past abortion rulings didn’t bring an end to the abortion debate and that “abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’” The decision, per Alito, “return[s] the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan filed a joint dissent as the power to regulate abortion goes back to the states. “For half a century, [Roe and Casey] have protected the liberty and equality of women ... The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be,” the dissent begins.
Acknowledging the decision, the dissenting justices wrote, “Today, the Court ... says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”
The final paragraph of the dissent reads: “With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
While the court’s decision is disheartening for millions of people across the country, it by no means comes as a surprise. On May 2, the court’s initial draft decision on the case was leaked online and published through Politico, and the document decisively overturned Roe in a five-to-four majority vote. People all over the internet took to Twitter to express their frustration.
Now that the Supreme Court has released its official decision, dozens of states across the country are poised to ban abortion outright. As of June 2022, 13 states have “trigger laws” which ban most or all abortions the moment Roe is overturned. Dr. Herminia Palacio, Guttmacher Institute President and CEO, said in a June 24 statement that 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion. The Guttmacher Institute is a research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights globally, according to its Twitter account. Palacio said her statement that “while [Roe was] imperfect in its ability to protect reproductive rights, as evidenced by the steady erosions of these rights in many states, Roe enabled tens of millions of people in the United States to decide their own future and protect their well-being.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in, in part, in a June 24 statement: “This decision is the worst-case scenario, but it is not the end of this fight. The 8 in 10 Americans who support the legal right to abortion will not let this stand. There is an election in November, and extremist politicians will learn: when you come for our rights, we come for your seats.”
You can also donate to organizations in support of abortion rights if you’re looking for ways to help leading up to the election.