Recently, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government does not have the right to make laws regarding what a woman can do with her body, but instead, the states should make those laws. Since Roe was decided in 1973, several other cases that affected the original ruling were decided.
The instant case was brought because a Texas statute banned abortion unless it was necessary to save the mother’s life. Justice Blackmun wrote a decision that stated abortions were a privacy interest. That decision was based on Griswold vs. Connecticut, a 1965 case that gave a woman the right to decide to keep the baby or terminate the pregnancy.
Because the Court decided that abortion was a fundamental right under the Constitution, it ruled that pregnancies had three trimesters wherein a woman could choose to abort during the first trimester. The state could regulate abortions in the second trimester but not ban them. In the third trimester, when the fetus was viable, the state could choose to outlaw abortions. Justices White and Rehnquist wrote separate dissents that stated that the people and state legislatures should make laws regarding abortions – not the Court.
In 1992 in Casey vs. Planned Parenthood – nearly 30 years later, the Supreme Court changed the rule but kept the trimester ruling as found in Roe.
In 2007, in Gonzales vs. Carhart, the Supreme Court ruled that a federal statute that banned partial-birth abortions would stay in place.
Previously, the Court based Roe on rights under the Constitution. However, in Dobbs, the Court determined that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.” The Court determined that the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to “liberty” does not protect an individual right. In Roe, the Court determined that a combination of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments gave a woman the right to have an abortion.
The Casey decision was based only on the theory that abortion was a right as protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, abortion is a health decision that should be governed by health and safety measures, not the Court, among other factors. In short, the U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government the right to regulate abortion or other health decisions, as that is a right left to the states.
The overturning of Roe vs. Wade did not ban abortions. It only gave each state the right to make its legislation regarding abortions. California has very lenient laws regarding whether a woman can have an abortion. Thus, unless California changes its rules, it is unlikely that any woman will have to travel to another state for an abortion.
If you believe a medical professional violates your rights or have questions and concerns about your rights to access certain healthcare procedures, including abortion, contact Michael Burgis & Associates for more information.