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Read the Dissent From the Case That Overturned Roe v. Wade

Just like millions of other Americans following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are outraged. The liberal bloc’s dissenting opinion, written collectively, stated that: “The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them.”

In May, a draft of the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, leaked, showing that the court had voted to overturn Roe and Casey. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito wrote. 

In response the liberal justices’ dissent is nothing short of scathing, very clearly outlining their disapproval of the court’s reversal of reproductive rights and the status of women as free and equal citizens in the United States. “As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions. A State can thus transform what, when freely undertaken, is a wonder into what, when forced, may be a nightmare.”

The dissent opens with a recap of the rights that were once guaranteed to women and people who can become pregnant by landmark abortion rights cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. “Respecting a woman as an autonomous being, and granting her full equality, meant giving her substantial choice over this most personal and most consequential of all life decisions,” the justices wrote. “Roe and Casey well understood the difficulty and divisiveness of the abortion issue.” 

The liberal bloc also condemned the recent spate of laws passed by various conservative-majority states: “States have enacted laws extending to all forms of abortion procedure, including taking medication in one’s own home. They have passed laws without any exceptions for when the woman is the victim of rape or incest. Under those laws, a woman will have to bear her rapist’s child or a young girl her father’s—no matter if doing so will destroy her life.”

The closing lines, disappointed in tone, go on to acknowledge the reverberating impacts of today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”

You can read the full Supreme Court dissent here.

For more information about the fall of Roe v. Wade, and what you can do right now, click here.

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