Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: June 24, 2022
  • Case #: 19–1392
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, GORSUCH, KAVANAUGH, and BARRETT, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., and KAVANAUGH, J., filed concurring opinions. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.
  • Full Text Opinion

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including . . . the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act provides that, except for limited circumstances, abortions shall not be performed on individuals determined to be 15 weeks pregnant. Respondents challenged the statute in Federal District Court, which granted summary judgement, finding the restriction an unconstitutional undue burden on obtaining an abortion, based on the holdings of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992). The Fifth Circuit affirmed. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Constitution does not protect the right to receive an abortion. The Court dismissed the Roe's “remarkably loose . . . treatment of the constitutional text,” and reiterated its standard for a right to be implied by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court then articulated a historical account of common law and statutory provisions up to Roe, concluding that the right to an abortion was not a protected right at the enaction of the clause, and was not deeply rooted in our Nation’s “history and traditions.” Based on “the nature of their error, the quality of their reasoning, the ‘workability’ of the rules they imposed on the country, their disruptive effect on other areas of the law, and the absence of concrete reliance,” the Court determined stare decisis was not justified, overruling Roe and Casey, eliminating the protected right to obtain an abortion. The statute satisfied the Court’s rational-basis review, being “rationally related” to a “legitimate state interest.” Reversed and remanded.

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