Understanding the overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022, declaring access to an abortion was not a Constitutional right. This decision comes following a lengthy hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization out of Mississippi.

Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

Joining Alito in his opinion were Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts.

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Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, stating, “with sorrow- for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection- we must dissent.”

The decision sent shock waves through the United States, with many protests erupting throughout the country.

However, Alito reaffirmed that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, but it is a matter to be decided by states and voters in that state.

With every state following a different set of rules, it leaves many questioning what does this mean for Georgia.

According to a press release, within hours of the Supreme Court’s reversal, the state of Georgia officially asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to reinstate the Georgia LIFE Act, better known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

“We have just filed a notice in the 11th Circuit requesting it reverse the District Court’s decision and allow Georgia’s Heartbeat Law to take effect,” said State Attorney General Chris Carr in a news release.

The Bill became prominent in 2019 when it passed. It restricted abortion up until the point a fetal heartbeat is detectable, generally around six weeks of gestation, with exceptions for rape and incest, and some medical exceptions (though there are stipulations for both, such as proper police report filing for rape and incest cases, and the cutoff is then 20 weeks.)

The bill drew much controversy, particularly from celebrities, and was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2020. Appeals were filed against this ruling; however, a stay was issued on the case until the SCOTUS’ Dobbs decision was made.

According to Senator Dean Burke, the Court of Appeals wants to have a hearing before making a ruling.

“Until the courts rule on that issue there will be no change to the current status,” Burke said.

Until the Bill is reinstated by the Court of Appeals, Memorial Hospital and Manor said nothing will change and there will be no impact on the Bainbridge community.