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Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions 03:26

(CBSNewsTexas) - The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

Reversal of the landmark ruling from 1973 returns abortion access to the states. Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, most abortions in Texas are banned. 

A Texas Politics Project poll released in May 2022 found 54% of Texans surveyed said they oppose banning all abortions in the state, while 35% supported the ban.

A year prior to the poll, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the abortion ban if Roe vs. Wade was overturned called the Texas Heartbeat Act, and another bill aimed at further regulating the use of abortion-inducing drugs. 

The so-called "trigger law" would make performing an abortion in Texas a felony. The only exception for the law would be to save the life of the mother or if the patient risks "substantial impairment of major bodily function." Doctors breaking the law could face life in prison and fines up to $100,000. The law explicitly states a doctor's belief a patient will harm or kill herself is not enough. In 30 days the law will take effect.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, said there are at least 26 states likely to ban abortion without the protections established in Roe v. Wade.

The June 24, 2022 ruling came in a case involving a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and the court reversed the decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked the measure.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion for the court, and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a concurring opinion. The court's three liberal justices dissented.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division," he wrote in his majority opinion. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

Abbott released the following statement following the court's decision:

"The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children. Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life. Texas has also prioritized supporting women's healthcare and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child. I signed laws that extended Medicaid health care coverage to six months post-partum, appropriated $345 million for women's health programs, and invested more than $100 million toward our Alternatives to Abortion program. This critical program provides counseling, mentoring, care coordination, and material assistance, such as car seats, diapers, and housing to mothers in need.

Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers in need."

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke also released a statement. 

"The only way to overcome today's decision is to win this race for governor. The Supreme Court has sent this back to the states, and our state's current governor has outlawed abortion beginning at conception with no exception for rape or incest. If you care about protecting a woman's freedom to make her own decisions about her own body, health care, and future, join this campaign and help us win."

Royce West, D-Dallas also weighed in, saying, "Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a setback for women's rights and the right to privacy in our country. For years, I have championed a woman's right to make her own health choices, inclusive of her reproductive rights. In the coming Legislative Session, I will do everything possible to fight for Texas women and their reproductive rights. 

I will continue to analyze today's decision to determine the best legislative path forward to help Texas women. Those who believe in a woman's right to choose will need to become more actively involved by voting to send others to Austin to help me in this fight.

An attack on women's rights today, will result in attacks on the rights of others tomorrow."

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