The US Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday, voting to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 ruling that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights.
This most recent case, which was heard by the court in December 2021, centered on a Mississippi law banning abortion if the “probable gestational age of the unborn human” is more than 15 weeks.
In a 6-3 vote along ideological lines, the court ruled in favor of a strict Mississippi abortion law and overturned the 50-year-old decision that was the basis for legal abortion across the United States.
Some countries have taken unprecedented steps to expand access to abortion in recent years, but international human rights groups have warned that overturning Roe v. Wade could weaken freedom for women around the world, potentially leading some nations to adopt new restrictive laws.
Ireland legalized abortion in 2019, Argentina legalized it in 2020 and Mexico’s Supreme Court voted to decriminalize abortion last year. In February, Colombia’s highest court legalized abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“Only 26 countries, representing 5% of women of reproductive age, ban or prohibit abortion altogether,” wrote Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Global Justice Center in a joint brief that said 60% of reproductive age women live in countries where abortion is available.
There are already 13 states with trigger laws that ban or severely restrict abortions immediately if Roe is overturned.
A total of 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade but medical providers in New Jersey are prepared to accept a surge of patients from across the country who seek to terminate pregnancies.
Abortion is health care that is explicitly protected in New Jersey, but advocates say there’s still more to do to improve access.
“The legal rights are protected but there are core and deep issues around access and that’s what we’re seeing in our state and what we hope to see addressed,” Alejandra Sorto, a campaign strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
Supported by donors and volunteers who have been on high alert since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in 2020, human rights activists have been planning to help women obtain abortions that can cost patients hundreds or thousands of dollars, even those who have insurance coverage.
“This is the second time this week that Supreme Court justices named by presidents who lost a popular majority of voters handed down a radically new interpretation of the Constitution,” said women’s rights proponent Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey progressive who has railed against corruption in government and inaction by Democratic establishment leaders who are addicted to money in politics.
McCormick said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should make mifepristone and misoprostol—two medications that are used together to safely terminate an early pregnancy—available over the counter.
The ruling comes after a draft decision document that signaled this outcome leaked on May 2.
A visibly angry House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the Supreme Court’s decision and vowed that Roe v. Wade would be an issue in the midterm elections.
“Today the Republican controlled Supreme Court achieved their dark, extreme goal of ripping away woman’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions. Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican party, their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedoms than their mothers,” said Pelosi.
“Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the congress to do that, but that’s their goal,” Pelosi warned. “This is deadly serious but we are not going to let this pass. A woman’s right to choose, reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November. We cannot allow them to take charge so they can institute their goal, which is to criminalize reproductive freedom.”