Latest news: US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

US abortion news from June 24: Joe Biden condemns top court decision overturning nearly 50 years of abortion rights.

Roe v WAde
Abortion rights advocates protest outside the US Supreme Court after its decision to overturn Roe v Wade, June 24, 2022 [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Photo]
  • The United States Supreme Court has overturned the landmark Roe v Wade decision, upending nearly five decades of abortion access in the country.
  • In a 6-3 vote, the conservative-dominated top court has ruled that the US Constitution “does not confer a right to abortion”.
  • US President Joe Biden says the Supreme Court decision marks a “sad day” for the nation.
  • Reproductive rights advocates say millions of people will no longer have access to abortion services in the US.

The live blog is now closed, thank you for joining us. Here are the updates for June 24, 2022:

Liberals seethe at senator who voted to confirm conservative justices

A US senator who cast key votes to confirm conservative Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe has drawn the ire of progressive activists for condemning the top court’s decision.

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who voted in favour of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, said the court’s decision was inconsistent with what “Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon”.

Rachel Irwin, who works for Building Back Together, an advocacy group that promotes Biden’s policy agenda, tweeted: “Susan Collins OWNS this. This is her legacy.”

Greg Kesich, an editor at the Portland Press Herald newspaper in Maine, also said: “Susan Collins could have stopped this, but she didn’t even try.”

‘We are defiant’: Planned Parenthood Ohio spokesperson to Al Jazeera

Lauren Blauvelt-Copeland, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, has said despite being heartbroken over the Supreme Court’s ruling, the group is determined to keep providing access to abortion in the state and across the US.

“We are devastated, we are heartbroken, but we are prepared, we are defiant, and we are going to fight for our access to abortion here in Ohio and across the country,” Blauvelt-Copeland told Al Jazeera. The organisation provides abortions and works with other providers in Ohio.

Blauvelt-Copeland noted that those most affected by the decision will be those “already on the margins”, such as Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ communities that already lack resources.

She added that many people will be unable to travel or leave work to access abortion care, “and therefore will have to continue pregnancies that they did not want to”.

Widespread anger at abortion rights rally in New York: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from an abortion rights protest at Union Square in New York, has said the demonstrators are expressing widespread anger at the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We’re hearing anger, anger at this decision even though it was expected … anger that this day has finally become a reality,” Elizondo said. He said hundreds were in attendance at the rally, one of several that are expected to take place in the city over the next few hours.

“What everyone keeps telling us is the same thing: they feel that they have to get out and protest so that their voices are heard out on the streets.”

US health experts say ruling ‘threatens sanctity’ of doctor-patient relationship

The leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association have condemned the Supreme Court’s decision, stressing that reproductive healthcare services “must remain with the patient and their healthcare providers”.

Overturning Roe “sanctions government interference in patient autonomy and care and threatens the sanctity of the provider-patient relationship,” Daniel McQuillen, president of IDSA, and Marwan Haddad, chair of the HIV Medicine Association, said in a joint statement.

“We also are deeply concerned that this decision will have a disproportionate impact on already marginalized communities and increase the rate of potentially life-threatening complications,” they said.

“We stand with the medical community in our steadfast commitment to protecting patients’ rights and access to health care as well as protecting providers’ ability to practice without government interference.”

NAACP in Alabama calls decision ‘egregious assault on basic human rights’

In Alabama, where a disproportionately large number of Black women seek abortions, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called the Supreme Court decision an “egregious assault on basic human rights”.

“The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP believes that the ruling today will force Alabama women to make decisions that cause women to seek healthcare in backhouses,” said Benard Simelton, the group’s state president.

Statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health show more than twice as many Black women as white women sought abortions in 2020 despite Black people making up only about a quarter of the state’s population.

Alabama’s three women’s clinics stopped performing abortions after the Supreme Court’s ruling due to concerns about being prosecuted under a 1951 state law that made it a crime to induce an abortion except to preserve the health or life of the mother.

Abortion funds see surge in donations

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, abortion funds say they have seen a surge in donations meant to help people obtain abortions.

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), which raises funds for abortion providers across the country, told Al Jazeera in an email that just after 2pm EST (18:00 GMT), the organisation’s fundraising portal had received more than 23,000 donations totalling more than $2m, with 3,300 people becoming recurring donors.

Abortion rights advocates rally in Los Angeles

Abortion rights advocates have rallied in the US city of Los Angeles in defence of abortion, with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles stressing that the procedure remains legal in the state of California.

abortion rights rally in los angeles
Eleanor Wells, 34 holds a sign at a rally in Los Angeles, California [Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]

“Make no mistake: Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health centers remain open, abortion is still legal in Los Angeles and California, and we will continue to fight to ensure everyone has access to care in Los Angeles, no matter what,” Sue Dunlap, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, said in a statement.

la rally for abortion rights
Abortion rights activists took to the streets of Los Angeles on June 24 [Aude Guerrucci/Reuters]

Five key takeaways from Supreme Court ruling

In its decision, the US Supreme Court has sent the overall question of abortion legality in the US to states, removing federal protections.

Here, Al Jazeera lays out five key takeaways from the ruling.

Bernie Sanders calls on Congress to codify Roe into law

Senator Bernie Sanders has called on US lawmakers to abolish the filibuster in the Senate and codify the right to abortion into federal law.

A filibuster allows legislators to keep debate open indefinitely on a measure, thus preventing it from coming to a vote. It is now routinely used by the minority party in the Senate to block or slow down the majority party’s agenda.

“Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

New York ‘will always be a safe haven’, attorney general says

New York Attorney General Letitia James has said the state will remain “a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion” after Roe was overturned by the Supreme Court.

“I will work tirelessly to ensure our most vulnerable and people from hostile states have access to this lifesaving care,” she tweeted. “Everyone in this nation deserves the right to make their own decisions about their bodies.”

Dozens of US district attorneys say they won’t prosecute people over abortions

With numerous conservative states likely to ban abortion, some district attorneys have suggested that they will decline to prosecute people who pursue abortions.

Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP), a coalition of progressive prosecutors across the country, said in a statement that 83 elected prosecutors would refuse to prosecute those who obtain abortion care.

“We cannot stand by and allow members of our community to live in fear of the ramifications of this deeply troubling decision,” reads the statement, which called prosecutors the “last line of defence” for those seeking abortions.

The pledge was signed by prosecutors in blue states such as California and New York, but also by those in states with laws that will automatically outlaw abortion now that Roe has been overturned, such as Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

“We stand together in our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions,” they said.


Only abortion clinic in West Virginia stops performing procedure

The only abortion clinic in West Virginia has said it is no longer performing abortions.

Katie Quinonez, executive director of Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, said the Supreme Court’s ruling is making an immediate, hard-felt impact.

The state has an abortion ban law on the books that makes providing abortions a felony carrying three to 10 years of prison time. It is unclear how the state will proceed on enforcement.

“Roe has never been enough, but in states like West Virginia, it was the only thing protecting abortion access,” said Quinonez, adding that West Virginians will be forced to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to access healthcare and that marginalised communities will be hurt the most.

Biden warns broader privacy rights at risk

Biden has warned that the Supreme Court opinion that overturns access to abortion could also undermine contraception and gay marriage rights.

The president objected to a concurring opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who voted in favour of overturning Roe while also explicitly calling on his colleagues to put the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage, gay sex and even contraception cases on the table.

“This is an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on,” Biden said.

“My administration will remain vigilant as the implications of this decision play out. I’ve warned about how this decision risks the broader right to privacy for everyone. That’s because Roe recognised the fundamental right to privacy that has served as a basis for so many more rights that we have come to take for granted.”

An abortion-rights activist wears tape reading "2nd Class Citizen" on their mouth as they protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC, on June 24, 2022 [Jacquelyn Martin/AP]
An abortion rights advocate wears tape reading ‘2nd Class Citizen’ on their mouth as they protest outside the Supreme Court [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Trump takes credit for overturning of Roe

Trump has taken credit for the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it was only made possible “because I delivered as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court”.

“It was my great honor to do so!” the former US president said in a statement.

Trump appointed three of the six conservative justices who voted to overturn the landmark 1973 abortion ruling.

Democratic governors on US west coast vow to protect reproductive rights

The Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon have pledged to protect reproductive rights and help women who travel to the West Coast seeking abortions.

“California, Oregon and Washington are building the West Coast offence to protect patients’ access to reproductive care,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a video statement announcing the states’ plans along with the governors of Oregon and Washington state.

The three states issued a joint “multi-state commitment” saying they will work together to defend patients and medical professionals providing reproductive healthcare. They also pledged to “protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries, and arrests” regarding abortions performed in their states.

‘We can’t stop,’ anti-abortion activist says

Anti-abortion activist Phil Miedzinski, 58, has told Al Jazeera outside the Supreme Court that the decision to overturn Roe is “just another step” in the fight against abortion in the US.

“It’s just another step, we can’t stop what we’re doing,” Miedzinski said, stressing that the ruling shifts the power to US states to ban the procedure.

“Now we just have to go to the states … to try to get them to end it statewide.”

anti-abortion activist outside US Supreme Court
Miedzinski says the fight against abortion will now shift to US states [Jihan Abdalla/Al Jazeera]

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla from Washington, DC.

US companies pledge to help employees obtain abortions

A handful of large US corporations have said they will support employees seeking abortions who live in states that have, or could, ban the procedure.

Walt Disney, Microsoft, and social media giant Meta – Facebook’s parent company – said that such assistance will include reimbursements or stipends to pay for travel expenses for employees who may need to travel out of state for care.

Such processes could be complicated by conservative lawmakers who have pledged to crack down on travel to other states for abortions. Meta said it is assessing how it can help employees who will need to travel “given the legal complexities involved”.

For its part, Netflix said it will offer a $10,000 lifetime allowance to cover travel expenses for full-time employees and dependents seeking abortion care.

Austin says US Defense Department examining decision

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said the department is examining the Supreme Court decision and evaluating its policies “to ensure we continue to provide seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law”.

“I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our Force,” he tweeted.

The full Supreme Court decision

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe has come in the context of a legal challenge to a Mississippi state law banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi, challenged the 2018 law and had the support of the Biden administration. The legislation allows abortions when there is a “medical emergency” or a “severe fetal abnormality” but does not have an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

A federal judge in 2018 struck the law down, citing the Roe precedent, and the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 reached the same conclusion.

But the Supreme Court has now upheld the Mississippi law. Read the full ruling here (PDF).

WHO reaffirms ‘safe abortion care is essential’

Without naming the US specifically, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said “safe abortion care is essential to protect the health of women & girls everywhere”.

“Removing access to #abortion care will put more women & girls at risk of illegal abortions and the consequent safety issues that would bring,” the group tweeted.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last month warned that restricting access to abortions “drives women and girls towards unsafe ones”.

World leaders react to news of Roe reversal

Leaders from around the world have shared their thoughts on the US Supreme Court’s abortion decision, with French President Emmanuel Macron expressing “solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined” by the top court.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said the ruling ushers in “one of the darkest days for women’s rights” in her lifetime, adding that “the immediate consequences will be suffered by women in the US – but this will embolden anti-abortion & anti-women forces in other countries too”.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said that his city “stands with the women of America, whose most basic rights and freedoms are threatened by this ruling”.

See more world reactions here.

Decision may be ‘political gift’ for Biden administration: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Kimberley Halkett, reporting from Washington, has said the striking down of Roe could prove to be a “political gift” for the Biden administration amid low approval ratings.

“He’s got low marks because of the economy. Americans are angry for record-high inflation. In a way, this is a bit of a political gift,” Halkett said.

“In order to preserve these reproductive rights, [US voters] may in fact vote for [Biden’s Democratic Party] and this could be a political win. That may be another reason that Joe Biden has decided not to take executive action and hand this to the legislators and the people in November.”

Vatican praises US Supreme Court ruling

The Vatican’s Academy for Life has praised the US Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, saying it challenged the whole world to reflect on life issues.

The Vatican department also said in a statement that the defence of human life could not be confined to individual rights because life is a matter of “broad social significance”.

“The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world,” the academy said.

Top Republican welcomes decision as ‘courageous and correct’

US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has welcomed the ruling as “courageous and correct” and “an historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society”.

“For 50 years, states have been unable to enact even modest protections for unborn children,” McConnell said in a statement.

“Not anymore. Now the American people get their voice back.”

‘Only killing women with this decision’: Abortion rights advocate

Molly Kolb, a 28-year-old teacher who lives in Washington, DC, has said the Supreme Court’s decision will have wide-reaching effects.

Abortion rights advocate outside US Supreme Court
Kolb, 28, says decision will have far-reaching effects [Jihan Abdalla/Al Jazeera]

“For the public school system, for the foster care system, for just women’s rights in general, I’m just really heartbroken,” she told Al Jazeera outside the Supreme Court, her voice breaking.

Kolb was among hundreds of mostly young women gathered outside the top court, which has been fenced off. The crowd was chanting slogans and waving signs that read, “My body, my choice” and “Shame on you SCOTUS”.

“You can only ban safe abortions in medical facilities, you cannot ban people trying to get rid of unwanted pregnancies,” Kolb said.

“And you never could – so they’re only killing women with this decision.”

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla from Washington, DC.

Biden says ‘Roe on the ballot’ in November midterms

Biden has promised to go on fighting for reproductive rights but said no executive order can guarantee a woman’s right to choose.

He urged voters to send lawmakers to Congress who will work to codify abortion rights as the law of the land.

“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot,” Biden said, referring to the upcoming midterm elections.

‘Relief, excitement’ for anti-abortion activist

Brooke Paz, 26, has said she felt a “mix of relief and excitement” when the top US court’s ruling was announced.

“It’s really hard to describe, but a bunch of us started bursting into tears and hearing those words become a reality … is an incredible moment,” Paz, who is a member of the Students for Life group, told Al Jazeera in Washington.

On the question of more people resorting to unsafe abortion practices after the ruling, Paz said, “Abortion is never safe.”

Canada’s PM Trudeau criticises ruling

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the US Supreme Court’s decision is “horrific” news for women and that no “government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body”.

“I want women in Canada to know that we will always stand up for your right to choose,” he tweeted.

‘Something that will work out for everybody,’ says Trump

Former US President Donald Trump has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago,” he said in an interview with Fox News Friday. “I think, in the end, this is something that will work out for everybody.”

Three of the six Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe were appointed by Trump.

Former VP Pence calls for abortion bans across US

Former US Vice President and potential Republican 2024 presidential contender Mike Pence has heralded the Supreme Court’s decision, saying the US anti-abortion movement is now entering “a new arena in the cause of life”.

In an interview with right-wing news outlet Breitbart, Pence, a fierce and longtime opponent of abortion rights, called on conservatives to push forward.

“We must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the centre of American law in every state in the land,” he said.

‘It makes me feel angry’: Protesters rally outside court for abortion rights

Caroline Burney, a 22-year-old who studies in Louisiana, told Al Jazeera outside the Supreme Court that the prospect of going back to the southern US state after the overturning of Roe “is really scary”.

“All my friends and I, none of us can have access to [abortion] unless we go to another state,” she said.

“It makes me feel angry that a bunch of people get to decide what I do with my life and my body,” Burney added.

Protesters outside Supreme Court
Protesters have gathered outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC [Jihan Abdalla/Al Jazeera]

Reporting by Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla from Washington, DC.

‘Historic defeat’ for women, says Seattle city council member

Kshama Sawant, a member of the Seattle city council, told Al Jazeera the Supreme Court ruling was a “historic defeat” for the “women’s movement, for working people, for anybody who wants to have a vision of a progressive society”.

“And it is a victory for the decades-long right-wing campaigns to undermine bodily autonomy of women … and it’s also a broader victory for the Right,” she said.

Sawant added that the ruling also comes despite “overwhelming and historic support” for abortion in the country.

Biden says his administration will defend right to travel to get abortion

President Biden has pledged to defend American women’s right to travel to US states to access abortion services.

“If any state or local official tries to interfere … I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” Biden said.

joe biden
President Biden condemned the Supreme Court’s abortion decision [Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

‘Sad day’ for the US, Biden says

The US president has said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade marks “a sad day for the court and for the country”.

“The health and life of women in this nation is now at risk,” Biden said.

“State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effect today, jeopardising the health of millions of women.”

Decision ‘especially dangerous’ for religious minorities: Muslim advocates

Muslim Advocates, a civil rights organisation in the US, has raised alarm about the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it “is especially dangerous to those belonging to minority religions like Islam”.

“How far down this path the court will go is not certain, but the rise of anti-Muslim government acts like the Muslim Ban and state adoption of anti-sharia legislation has shown that Muslims are especially targeted by those moved by paranoia and misrepresentation,” the group said.

“When that paranoia is combined with state power, the results can be devastating to the civil and human rights of all Muslims in this country.”

In their words: US Supreme Court justices’ records on abortion

Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and John Roberts, the court’s chief justice, voted in favour of Friday’s decision.

The justices have had a lot to say about abortion over the years.

See a sampling of their comments here.

US attorney general says Justice Department disagrees with decision

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has said the Department of Justice “strongly disagrees” with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” Garland said in a statement, stressing however that the decision “does not eliminate the ability of states to keep abortion legal within their borders”.

“We recognise that travelling to obtain reproductive care may not be feasible in many circumstances. But under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal. Moreover, under fundamental First Amendment principles, individuals must remain free to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states,” he said.


Poor, marginalised will be most affected: Progressive Democrats

What happens when women are denied access to abortion?

When Ann walked into her doctor’s office six years ago, she expected to schedule an abortion. Instead, the college graduate in her early 20s learned she was between 23 and 25 weeks pregnant. With California’s cutoff set at about six months, she was turned away.

“I was told flat-out that there was no other option,” Ann, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, told Al Jazeera. “I remember crying, gasping. It was such life-changing news that I was not expecting to get.”

Without access to the abortion she wanted, she carried the pregnancy to term. At eight months, she developed severe eclampsia, experienced seizures, and nearly died. “Where we’re going as a country with abortion access,” she said, “there’s going to be more people like me.”

Read more here.

Twenty-six US states ‘certain or likely’ to ban abortion: Guttmacher

Twenty-six US states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion now that Roe has been overturned, the Guttmacher Institute reproductive rights group has said.

“Without Roe, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion to the fullest extent possible, including 13 states that have ‘trigger’ laws in place that will automatically enact bans—some within days or even hours of today’s decision,” Herminia Palacio, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Decades of research consistently show that abortion bans and restrictions don’t reduce unintended pregnancy or demand for abortion, and they certainly do not help people improve their health.”

‘Catastrophe’: Rights groups slam top court decision

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other rights groups have slammed the decision, saying millions of people will no longer have access to abortion in the US.

“Today’s decision is a gender, racial and economic justice catastrophe with deadly consequences. Women and people who can become pregnant have been forced into a second-class status,” the ACLU said on Twitter.

“Today marks a grim milestone in the history of the United States,” Tarah Demant at Amnesty International USA also said in a statement. “Millions of people who can become pregnant in the United States now face a future where they will not be able to make deeply personal choices that affect their bodies, their future, and the well-being of their families.”

‘Radical Supreme Court’ endangering Americans’ rights: Pelosi

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has condemned the decision by the Supreme Court, saying the health and safety of people in the US were at risk.

“This morning, the radical Supreme Court is eviscerating Americans’ rights and endangering their health and safety. But Congress will continue to act to overcome this extremism and protect the American people,” Pelosi told reporters.

“Today the Republican-controlled Supreme Court has achieved their dark, extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.”

Anti-abortion activists celebrate outside top court in Washington, DC

Anti-abortion activists have gathered to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. The crowds erupted in cheers as news of the ruling spread.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Emma Craig, 36, of Pro Life San Francisco.

“Abortion is the biggest tragedy of our generation and in 50 years, we’ll look back at the 50 years we’ve been under Roe v Wade with shame.”

A celebration outside the Supreme Court, June 24, 2022 [Steve Helber/AP Photo]

US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

The US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that granted the right to abortion for nearly 50 years in the US.

In a decision released on Friday, the country’s top court ruled in a Mississippi case that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion”. The justices voted 6-3, powered by the court’s conservative supermajority.

Read the full decision here (PDF).

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live coverage of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade abortion ruling.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies