Supporters of abortion rights attend a rally in Washington, DC, the United States, on May 14, 2022. (LIU JIE/XINHUA)
WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v Wade, a landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the nation nearly 50 years ago.
"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences."
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"It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives," the conservative suggested.
The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of erasing the Roe precedent altogether.
The Supreme Court's three liberal justices who dissented said that with Friday's ruling, "many millions of American women" have lost a fundamental constitutional protection
The court's three liberal justices who dissented said that with Friday's ruling, "many millions of American women" have lost a fundamental constitutional protection.
The ruling restored the ability of states to ban abortion. Twenty-six states are either certain or considered likely to ban abortion. Mississippi is among 13 states with so-called trigger laws to ban abortion with Roe overturned.
Crowds on both sides of abortion rights are gathering near the US Supreme Court on Capitol Hill with presence of riot police.
"Protesters are allowed to peacefully demonstrate, however they must follow the officer's instructions so that everyone stays safe," the Capitol Police tweeted.
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With Roe falling, more than two dozen states in the United States - primarily in the south and midwest - are expected to tighten abortion access, with "trigger bans" set to take effect automatically.
In a response, US President Joe Biden said it's "a sad day" for the nation and the Supreme Court, which is "literally taking America back 150 years."
"Now with Roe gone, let's be very clear: the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk," Biden added.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also denounced the US Supreme Court's decision, saying that it is a huge blow to women's human rights and gender equality.
"Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human right law and is at the core of women and girls' autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence and coercion," Bachelet said in a media statement.
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