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How bishops around the U.S. have responded to Dobbs

USCCB Fall Meeting 2021 / CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 25, 2022 / 18:18 pm (CNA).

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision, bringing an end to nearly a half-century of nationwide legalized abortion in the U.S. 

The June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was welcomed by Catholic bishops across the country. 

Below is a selection of episcopal responses:

A statement signed by Bishops Thomas Olmsted and Eduardo Nevares, the apostolic administrator and auxiliary bishop, respectively, of the Diocese of Phoenix, welcomed the decision, saying that “our country has begun to repair the damage done to our nation by the catastrophes of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey—two Court decisions that led to the destruction of more than 60 million lives and confused our nation’s laws and moral conscience.  It is providential that this decision was released on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

The Diocese of Oakland said that “Bishop Barber joins in giving thanks and celebrating today’s ruling by SCOTUS, and notes there is much more to do.” 

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, a cardinal designate, said: “While we celebrate this decision — the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, committing time and resources to pregnancy centers, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy— in many ways, our work has just begun. We must work to ensure that California law protects the rights of the unborn.  And we must emphasize that being pro-life demands more than opposition to abortion. It demands we do everything we can to support families, to provide access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing. It means making sure parents and families have access to affordable childcare, so that being a parent doesn’t force women and families to drop out of school or leave the job market. It also means reinvigorating our adoption system … support for children and families cannot stop at birth.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago commented that “We welcome this important ruling and the opportunity it creates for a national conversation on protecting human life in the womb and promoting human dignity at all stages of life. This moment should serve as a turning point in our dialogue about the place an unborn child holds in our nation, about our responsibility to listen to women and support them through pregnancies and after the birth of their children, and about the need to refocus our national priorities to support families, particularly those in need.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois said the decision lifts “a cloud that has hung over our country for nearly a half century. There is no way to undo the tragedy of tens of millions of innocent lives lost or the decades of division sown by the Roe v. Wade decision. But, for the sake of future generations, we can now move forward with a more honest debate and efforts to advance policies and support programs that protect innocent life and promote stability and security for vulnerable mothers.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas wrote, “I’m overjoyed that the American people can determine what the public policy on abortion will be . . . I’m glad we’re back to where we were pre-1973. But the battle is not over. This is a significant victory, but now each state will have to determine what will be the public policy on abortion.”

Bishops Joseph Kopacz of Jackson and Louis Kihneman of Biloxi wrote that “Today, Lady Justice has turned her attention to the cry of the unborn child hidden in the refuge of his or her mother’s womb. Today, justice has not abandoned that unborn child and his or her capacity to feel pain, but there is still more work to be done. Together with many throughout our country, we join in prayer that states are now able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. The Catholic Church has had a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.”

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln wrote, “The fact that this decision was released on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is no coincidence. Our Lord has given us a great gift from the love of His most sacred heart. We now have to reach out to women and families who find themselves in difficult situations and love them with the heart of Jesus. We need to accompany them with our love and care, welcome them, walk with them and show them that life is good and they are not alone. Praised be Jesus Christ.”

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said that the decision “recognizes that even the most helpless and dependent human beings have a right to life and possess inherent dignity and worth … We hope that all Americans can discuss respectfully how best to support women who face crucial decisions while recognizing the dignity of the most vulnerable among us. We agree with the analysis of Pope Francis, who has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter.”

Bishop James Wall of Gallup stated: “We have been praying for this wonderful news for a long time, and today our prayers have been answered.  Praise God!”

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said that “The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a defining moment in our lifetime that fixes a legal and moral mistake, which led to decades of emotional distress, tremendous guilt, physical harm and infertility for women, and the unnecessary and cruel deaths of more than 63 million unborn babies who were denied their God-given potential because of poverty, fear or convenience. Women and children deserve better. Mothers who face unexpected or crisis pregnancies need support – financial, spiritual and emotional … We must come together to pray for the grace to deepen our appreciation for the sanctity and value of all human life from conception until natural death.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon wrote, “Our goal has never been simply to make abortion illegal. Our goal is to make it unthinkable. Our battle to protect the most fragile and vulnerable of all human life, namely the unborn child, continues on the state level, including here in Oregon.”

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville called the decision “a welcome step forward toward building a society that truly values and honors human life. Since 1973 the Catholic Church in the United States, together with many other religious and non-religious communities, has publicly expressed its opposition to the Roe v Wade decision. That decision was gravely unjust, and an unprecedented aggression against the life and dignity of the unborn child. It was sweeping in its effects, stripping away all previous legal protections for human life in the womb.”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington wrote, “We rejoice in this latest step in our journey, but our work is not done. Locally and nationally, we still have more to do to advance the dignity of human life and to make sure that the full range of life issues are adequately addressed. This includes supporting pregnant women in making life-affirming choices, providing better availability of prenatal and postnatal care for children and their mothers, advocating for affordable child care and safe schools, and advancing policies that support mothers in school and in the workforce. We must also recognize that a life-affirming ethic should also draw attention to a host of other areas that should be of great concern to humanity. This includes revoking the death penalty and caring for the imprisoned; addressing all forms of injustice, including racism; caring for the poor, the sick, elderly, and vulnerable; and advancing a greater recognition of our calling in the entire spectrum of human relationships to be brothers and sisters to one another.”

Why did Chief Justice Roberts disagree with overturning Roe v Wade?

John Roberts testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings to be Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Sept. 13, 2005. / Rob Crandall/Shutterstock.

Washington D.C., Jun 25, 2022 / 17:04 pm (CNA).

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — a case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 — in a decision Friday that fell largely along justices’ ideological lines. One justice, Chief Justice John Roberts, strayed from the pack, as he frequently does.

A majority of the nine Supreme Court justices overruled Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe in 1992, while deciding June 24 the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. 

The court voted 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. At the same time, justices voted by a narrower margin, 5-4, to overturn Roe.

That’s because of Roberts.

Roberts stands out because justices appointed by Republican presidents — Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — are generally considered more conservative-leaning. Likewise, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, who were nominated by Democratic presidents, tend to lean liberal.

With the Dobbs case, Alito wrote the opinion of the court — or the opinion that a majority of the justices agreed to or joined. Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented from the majority. 

Roberts took a unique position: He filed an opinion concurring in the judgement, meaning he agreed with the majority’s ruling, but not necessarily their rationale or reasoning.

Roberts’ reasoning

In his 12-page opinion in the Dobbs case, Roberts said that he agreed with upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, but he disagreed that Roe and Casey needed to be overturned in the process.

“The Court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases,” he wrote. “A narrower decision rejecting the misguided viability line would be markedly less unsettling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case.”

As a case, Dobbs centered on the question, “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

Roberts took the position that this question could be answered without overturning Roe. In Roe, the court ruled that states could not ban abortion before viability, which the court determined to be 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy. Then, with Casey, the court said that states could not enforce an “undue burden,” defined by the court as “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

Roberts said that he agreed with discarding parts of Roe and Casey, particularly the “viability line,” in favor of a new standard. 

“That line never made any sense,” Roberts said. Instead, he said, a woman’s “right” to abortion should “extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose.”

In other words, instead of determining abortion based on when an unborn baby can survive outside the womb, Roberts argued that it should be based on whether a woman has enough time to obtain an abortion after realizing that she is pregnant. 

“The law at issue allows abortions up through fifteen weeks, providing an adequate opportunity to exercise the right Roe protects,” Roberts wrote, adding at another point that “there is nothing inherent in the right to choose that requires it to extend to viability or any other point, so long as a real choice is provided.”

While doing away with the viability standard, the court could have still recognized a woman’s “right” to abortion with Roe, he claimed.

“My point is that Roe adopted two distinct rules of constitutional law: one, that a woman has the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy; two, that such right may be overridden by the State’s legitimate interests when the fetus is viable outside the womb,” he said.

Roberts described what he called the “clear path” to deciding Dobbs “correctly” without overturning Roe: “recognize that the viability line must be discarded, as the majority rightly does, and leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”

Alito’s majority opinion responded to Roberts’ concurrence, saying it “would do exactly what it criticizes Roe for doing: pulling ‘out of thin air’ a test that ‘[n]o party or amicus asked the Court to adopt’.”

“The concurrence’s most fundamental defect is its failure to offer any principled basis for its approach,” the majority opinion continued. “The concurrence makes no attempt to show that this rule represents a correct interpretation of the Constitution. The concurrence does not claim that the right to a reasonable opportunity to obtain an abortion is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’

“Nor does it propound any other the­ory that could show that the Constitution supports its new rule. And if the Constitution protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, the opinion does not explain why that right should end after the point at which all ‘reasonable’ women will have decided whether to seek an abortion.”

“The concurrence’s quest for a middle way would only put off the day when we would be forced to confront the question we now decide,” the majority opinion responded. “The turmoil wrought by Roe and Casey would be prolonged. It is far better—for this Court and the country—to face up to the real issue without fur­ther delay.”

Why was Roe v. Wade overturned? Here's a look at some of the reasons given

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in Dobbs, June 24, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 25, 2022 / 11:32 am (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 issued an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the question of abortion policy to the states and to the people’s elected representatives. 

Why did the Court make this decision? Here are some of the reasons that the justices gave in the majority opinion for overturning Roe:

1. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion.

The opinion points out that abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor, the opinion says, is such a right “implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

2. Abortion is not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

Supreme Court precedent had held that any right not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” 

“The right to abortion does not fall within this category,” the court concluded. 

3. Abortion is “fundamentally different” than the subjects of related court decisions because it involves the taking of a life.

Abortion is “fundamentally different” from other decisions related to sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, the justices wrote, because it destroys what other court decisions call “fetal life” and what the Mississippi law in question describes as an “unborn human being.”

“None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion,” the opinion says. 

4. Thanks to Roe, women’s voices on abortion have not been heard.




By preventing the people’s elected representatives at the state and local levels from regulating abortion, the court argues that women’s voices — both pro- and anti-abortion — were silenced under Roe. 

“Our decision…allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office,” said the Dobbs decision.

“Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.”

5. States have “legitimate interests” in regulating abortion.

A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to a “strong presumption of validity” if there is “a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests.”

“These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development; the protection of maternal health and safety; the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures; the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession; the mitigation of fetal pain; and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability,” the decision explains.

6. Roe’s reasoning was “exceedingly weak.”

“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,” said Alito’s decision.

7. State consensus on abortion existed before Roe. 


The right to abortion was “entirely unknown in American law” until the latter part of the 20th century, said Alito’s decision. 

“Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy.”

8. The Supreme Court can’t settle the abortion debate, but legislators may. 


“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” the decision says. 

“This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling the people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the strength of our opinions, not an attempt to exercise ‘raw judicial power’.”

Roe v. Wade overturned: The scene outside the Supreme Court

Anna Lulis from Moneta, Virginia, (left) who works for the pro-life group Students for Life of America, stands beside an abortion rights demonstrator outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court's decision in the Dobbs abortion case was announced. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 17:21 pm (CNA).

Hundreds of people — both pro-life advocates and abortion supporters — descended upon the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., Friday following the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. 

The decision leaves abortion up to the states.

While emotions ran high and some pro-abortion chants were obscene, the demonstrations outside the court on Friday afternoon appeared orderly. Authorities were preparing for the possibility of unrest Friday night.

Multiple layers of barriers and fencing — along with uniformed police officers — separated protesters from the court itself. Gathered under bright sunshine on a hot, summer day, some abortion supporters and pro-life advocates engaged in conversations with one another in the street in front of the court that was closed to traffic. Media cameras stood ready to capture any dramatic moments.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” 24-year-old Anna Lulis from Moneta, Virginia, told CNA of the lives she believes the decision will save. “I think this is a huge step forward for human rights.”

Working for the pro-life group Students for Life of America, Lulis estimated that more than 200 pro-life students were outside the court when it issued its historic 6-3 decision. But, as the day progressed, abortion activists gradually made up a large majority of the crowd.

The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. Pro-abortion demonstrators gradually made up a decided majority of the crowd as the day wore on. Katie Yoder/CNA
The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. Pro-abortion demonstrators gradually made up a decided majority of the crowd as the day wore on. Katie Yoder/CNA

Lulis carried a sign declaring, “Women don’t need Roe!” As she spoke, abortion activists led various chants with megaphones. Among the refrains: “Legal abortion on demand right f*ing now!” and “f* you, SCOTUS," using the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Colorful signs with colorful language flooded the street. “F*** SCOTUS we’re doing it anyway” one pro-abortion poster read. “You will never control my body,” said another. Some women demonstrators outraged by Friday's decision shook hangers at the court, referencing the view that overturning Roe will mean a return to illegal abortions in some parts of the country.

Abortion activists, at one point, directed their middle fingers in unison at the court building. Others took a calmer approach.

Pierrerasha Goodwin, an abortion rights supporter, stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. She intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. Katie Yoder/CNA
Pierrerasha Goodwin, an abortion rights supporter, stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. She intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. Katie Yoder/CNA

Pierrerasha Goodwin, 22, intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. An abortion supporter herself, Goodwin is originally from Chicago. Her first encounter with abortion came when she helped her 15-year-old sister to obtain an abortion. After that experience, she said, watching the country argue about abortion prompted her to learn more about the issue. 

“If you're going to stand for everyone else’s rights, and making sure that everyone is treated equal, you have to treat people with respect,” Goodwin said. “In doing that, fostering those important conversations, you get to actually listen to somebody and say, 'OK, I may disagree with you, but at least now I know why people think like that.’” 

Joseph Little, a 32-year-old Washington, D.C. native who supports legalized abortion, holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Joseph Little, a 32-year-old Washington, D.C. native who supports legalized abortion, holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA

Joseph Little, a 32-year-old Washington, D.C. native, was another abortion supporter who spoke with CNA. Disheartened by the Supreme Court ruling, Little’s sign read, “Forced Birth is Enslavement.”

Little spoke about the “need” for women to be able to choose abortion, comparing their inability to get an abortion to Black enslavement. 

On the other side of the issue was 22-year-old Edwin Garcia-Arzola from Lumberton, North Carolina, who wore a shirt that said “Young pro-life Democrat.” As a Catholic, he said, he was “proud” of the court’s decision. 

“For us, and especially for pro-life Democrats, it is very important for us because now we can take this battle to all of our states,” he said, adding that he is affiliated with the group Democrats for Life.

Kara Zupkus, the 25-year-old spokeswoman for the conservative group, Young America’s Foundation (second from left), standing with other pro-life supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case. Katie Yoder/CNA
Kara Zupkus, the 25-year-old spokeswoman for the conservative group, Young America’s Foundation (second from left), standing with other pro-life supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case. Katie Yoder/CNA

Another pro-life supporter in the crowd was Kara Zupkus, 25, a spokeswoman for the conservative group Young America’s Foundation. Members of the group were there to celebrate the court’s decision.

“We work with high school and college students to bring pro-life speakers to their campuses and host activism initiatives on campus,” Zupkas said. “To finally see our hard work pay off …. It has been just amazing.”

Puerto Rican Senate passes bill banning abortion after 22 weeks

null / Credit: Unsplash

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jun 24, 2022 / 16:40 pm (CNA).

On June 22, the Puerto Rican Senate passed Bill 693, which bans abortion on the island after 22 weeks, with several exceptions.

"Passed! Senate Bill 693 has just been approved with 16 votes in favor, nine against, one abstention, and one absent,” Sen. Joanne Rodríguez Veve, president of the Puerto Rican Senate’s Committee on Life and Family Affairs, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency.

Rodríguez was one of the main authors of the bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives. If passed there, it will go to the desk of the governor of Puerto Rico for his signature. 

The text of the legislation’s Article 2 states that “the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico declares that a licensed medical professional will not carry out a termination of pregnancy where the one conceived is in the gestational stage of viability, as defined in this law.”

Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in 1973, was still in effect the day the bill was passed, a situation that has now changed with the overturning of Roe on June 24. Abortion has been legal on the island throughout pregnancy.

In her June 22 speech before the Senate, the senator said that as a woman she identifies “with the vast majority of Puerto Rican women who, if they could, would be here, in front of this microphone, as the voice of babies in the womb, over five and a half months in gestation, which the Senate Bill 693 wants to protect.”

The senator stressed that although she believes "in the defense of life from conception," she supports Bill 693 because "it recognizes that the right to privacy of women is not absolute, but rather finds limits compared to other rights, such as the right to life expressly recognized in our Constitution.”

After noting that in some places in Puerto Rico babies of up to 24 weeks' gestation are aborted, Rodríguez said that the bill contains several exceptions in which an abortion could be obtained: if the life of mother is in danger; if the baby has a severe disability; if a fetal anomaly “incompatible” with life is diagnosed; or if the doctor determines that the conceived child of 22 weeks or more "is not viable, that is, that it could not survive outside the womb."

After noting that people born at 22, 23, 24, and 27 weeks were present during the debate, the senator stressed that she was speaking as a "woman rooted in the moral fiber of this people who sows life in the earth and protects life in the womb. Today I speak as a woman who mourns death and celebrates life.”

“Democracy must never be at the service of death. And today it is up to us, through the democratic exercise of the vote, but above all, from the breadth of our hearts, to defend the lives of those who cannot do it for themselves,” she concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Biden calls Dobbs decision a 'tragic error', calls on Congress to codify abortion rights

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade June 24, 2022 in Cross Hall at the White House in Washington, DC. / Alex Wong/Getty Images

Denver Newsroom, Jun 24, 2022 / 13:55 pm (CNA).

In a Friday press conference, U.S. President Joe Biden called on Congress to codify abortion access into federal law, following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade that morning. The court’s decision returned the question of abortion policy to the states, which Biden labeled a “tragic error.” 

He also said he had that day directed the Department of Health and Human Services to make abortion pills more widely available, and that he would do “everything in my power” to protect women traveling to obtain abortions.  

“It's a sad day for the court and for the country,” Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, said June 24.

Calling abortion an “intensely personal decision,” Biden went on to lament that the decision had taken away women’s “right to choose” and the “power to control their own destiny.” He claimed that with Roe gone, the “life and health” of women in the United States is now “at risk.” 

Biden has repeatedly expressed support for Roe v. Wade — which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 — despite the teaching of his Catholic faith that abortion is a “grave evil.” 

“I believe Roe v. Wade was the correct decision,” Biden stated, claiming that Roe represented a “broad national consensus” relating to the “fundamental right to privacy” that “most Americans of faith…found acceptable.” 

This is despite evidence suggesting that more than 60% of all Americans disagreed with the central holding of Roe v. Wade, according to a January Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey.

“This decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” Biden continued, claiming that “the court has done what it has never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans and had already been recognized. The court's decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences.”

“It's a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view.”

The only way to “secure a women’s right to choose,” Biden said, is for Congress to restore Roe as federal law, adding that “executive action can’t do that.” He urged the election of pro-choice legislators in the fall midterm elections.

Biden stated that he intends to provide aid to women living in pro-life states who want to travel to pro-abortion states. “If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman's exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” Biden said. 

The president also said he had directed the Department of Health and Human Services to “take steps” to ensure that mifepristone, the first drug in medical abortion regimen, is “available to the fullest extent possible.” Abortion supporters have pointed to medical abortions — which have been linked to numerous health risks — as a kind of workaround or backup plan for women to access abortion as states restrict abortion. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's most recent Abortion Surveillance report, for the year 2019, “early medical abortions” made up 42.3% of abortions that year.

Biden requested that people upset by the decision remain peaceful in their response. This comes after numerous recent incidents of vandalism of pro-life pregnancy centers across the country, which the White House condemned via a spokesperson June 15. 

“I call on everyone no matter how deeply they care about this decision to keep all protests peaceful. Peaceful. Peaceful. Peaceful. No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form regardless of your rationale,” Biden said Friday. 

Biden concluded by claiming that the decision to overturn Roe had “made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world,” despite the fact that the U.S. was previously one of only a handful of countries — including China and North Korea — that permitted elective abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. Forty-seven out of 50 European countries, independent states, and regions analyzed in 2014 either do not allow elective abortion or limit elective abortion to 15 weeks or earlier.

Dobbs excerpts: Why the U.S. Supreme Court said Roe v Wade was 'egregiously wrong'

Associate Justice Samuel J. Alito Jr. / Screenshot from YouTube video

Denver Newsroom, Jun 24, 2022 / 12:08 pm (CNA).

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, saying that previous abortion rulings were “egregiously wrong from the start” and on a “collision course with the Constitution.” Roe and other pro-abortion rights precedents were “an error that cannot be allowed to stand,” and the abortion debate must now return to the states.

The June 24 decision, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, concerned a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi under the name Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It often echoes a draft decision leaked in May that thoroughly rebuked the pro-abortion decisions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, respectively issued in 1973 and 1992 by Republican-majority courts.

Alito’s decision was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Thomas and Kavanaugh also filed concurring opinions.

Chief Justice John Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgement, in which he advocated for a more narrow ruling. All justices who backed the decision were nominated by Republican presidents. However, the decision cites President John F. Kennedy appointee Justice Byron White’s dissent in the Roe decision. 

The Dobbs case drew dissents from Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, all appointees of Democratic presidents.

Here are some key passages from Alito’s decision, followed by Robert's concurrence, rebuttals from Alito, and the dissent.

Mandatory legal abortion is overruled; the debate goes back to the states

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the decision says. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

It’s about human life: Abortion 'fundamentally different' than related court decisions   

Abortion is “fundamentally different” from other decisions related to sexual relations, contraception, and marriage because it destroys what other court decisions call “fetal life” and what the Mississippi law in question describes as an “unborn human being.”

“None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion.”

Roe v. Wade: 'Egregiously wrong from the start'

The legal principle of stare decisis, which advises that precedent should usually stand, “does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority.” 

“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,” said Alito’s decision.

Women’s voices on abortion must be heard through legislatures and the ballot box

“Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so,” said the Dobbs decision.

The states have 'legitimate interests' in regulating abortion

The majority decision said, “procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.”

“It follows that the States may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons, and when such regulations are challenged under the Constitution, courts cannot ‘substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies’.”

A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to a “strong presumption of validity” if there is “a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests.”

“These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development; the protection of maternal health and safety; the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures; the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession; the mitigation of fetal pain; and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability,” the decision explains.

Roe v. Wade was 'on a collision course with the Constitution' from day one

“Roe’s constitutional analysis was far outside the bounds of any reasonable interpretation of the various constitutional provisions to which it vaguely pointed.”

“Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors, and those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people.” 

“Rather, wielding nothing but ‘raw judicial power,’ the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.”

“Casey described itself as calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe…. Together, Roe and Casey represent an error that cannot be allowed to stand.”

Abortion precedents relied on bad history and bad reasoning

The right to abortion was “entirely unknown in American law” until the latter part of the 20th century, said Alito’s decision.

“Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy.”

“The weaknesses in Roe’s reasoning are well-known. Without any grounding in the constitutional text, history, or precedent, it imposed on the entire country a detailed set of rules much like those that one might expect to find in a statute or regulation…. The scheme Roe produced looked like legislation, and the Court provided the sort of explanation that might be expected from a legislative body… What Roe did not provide was any cogent justification for the lines it drew.”

“The Constitution makes no express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, and therefore those who claim that it protects such a right must show that the right is somehow implicit in the constitutional text… Roe, however, was remarkably loose in its treatment of the constitutional text.”

“Roe’s reasoning was exceedingly weak, and academic commentators, including those who agreed with the decision as a matter of policy, were unsparing in their criticism,” said the decision. Among those it cites is Roe critic Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus who supports legal abortion.

Roe was a groundless novelty because many U.S. states banned abortion

“Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise. Indeed, abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy. This consensus endured until the day Roe was decided. Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis. It is therefore important to set the record straight,” said the Dobbs decision, before providing its own overview of the legal history of abortion.

“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions. On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.”

The Supreme Court can’t settle the abortion debate, but legislators may

“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

“This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling the people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the strength of our opinions, not an attempt to exercise ‘raw judicial power’.”

Chief Justice Roberts concurs in the judgement, but calls it ‘a serious jolt’

Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the majority, but filed a concurring opinion in which he criticized Roe but also advocated for a more narrow ruling in Dobbs.

"The Court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases," his opinion reads. "A narrower decision rejecting the misguided viability line would be markedly less unsettling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case."

"My point is that Roe adopted two distinct rules of constitutional law: one, that a woman has the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy; two, that such right may be overridden by the State’s legitimate interests when the fetus is viable outside the womb," he added at another point. "The latter is obviously distinct from the former. I would abandon that timing rule, but see no need in this case to consider the basic right."

Roberts agrees that Roe got a lot wrong

“This Court seriously erred in Roe in adopting viability as the earliest point at which a State may legislate to advance its substantial interests in the area of abortion…neither Roe nor Casey made a persuasive or even colorable argument for why the time for terminating a pregnancy must extend to viability.”

Roberts faults both majority opinion and dissent; asks whether compromise was possible

“Both the Court’s opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share. I am not sure, for example, that a ban on terminating a pregnancy from the moment of conception must be treated the same under the Constitution as a ban after fifteen weeks.”

“Here, there is a clear path to deciding this case correctly without overruling Roe all the way down to the studs: recognize that the viability line must be discarded, as the majority rightly does, and leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”

Roberts promoted “adherence to a simple yet fundamental principle of judicial restraint: If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more.”

The Dobbs justices counter: Roberts’ concurrence has ‘serious problems’

“There are serious problems with this approach, and it is revealing that nothing like it was recommended by either party. As we have recounted, both parties and the Solicitor General have urged us either to reaffirm or overrule Roe and Casey,” the majority opinion said.

And when the specific ap­proach advanced by the concurrence was broached at oral argument, both respondents and the Solicitor General em­phatically rejected it. Respondents’ counsel termed it “com­pletely unworkable” and “less principled and less workable than viability.”

“The concurrence would do exactly what it criticizes Roe for doing: pulling ‘out of thin air’ a test that ‘[n]o party or amicus asked the Court to adopt’.”

Roberts’ concurrence needed to argue on constitutional principle

“The concurrence’s most fundamental defect is its failure to offer any principled basis for its approach,” the majority opinion continued.

‘…stare decisis cannot justify the new ‘reasonable opportunity’ rule propounded by the concur­rence. If that rule is to become the law of the land, it must stand on its own, but the concurrence makes no attempt to show that this rule represents a correct interpretation of the Constitution. The concurrence does not claim that the right to a reasonable opportunity to obtain an abortion is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’

“Nor does it propound any other the­ory that could show that the Constitution supports its new rule. And if the Constitution protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, the opinion does not explain why that right should end after the point at which all ‘reasonable’ women will have decided whether to seek an abortion.”

A ‘compromise’ would only prolong national turmoil over abortion

“The concurrence’s quest for a middle way would only put off the day when we would be forced to confront the question we now decide. The turmoil wrought by Roe and Casey would be prolonged. It is far better—for this Court and the country—to face up to the real issue without fur­ther delay,” the majority opinion responded.

Dissent: Women rely on abortion as part of their self-determination, and even identity

The three dissenting justices in Dobbs emphasized the role abortion has played in American life.

“As Casey understood, people today rely on their ability to control and time pregnancies when making countless life decisions: where to live, whether and how to invest in education or careers, how to allocate financial resources, and how to approach intimate and family relationships.”

“Taking away the right to abortion, as the ma­jority does today, destroys all those individual plans and ex­pectations. In so doing, it diminishes women’s opportuni­ties to participate fully and equally in the Nation’s political, social, and economic life,” the dissent said, adding “the expectation of reproductive control is integral to many women’s identity and their place in the Nation.”

Pro-abortion rights precedents “have protected the liberty and equality of women” and reaffirmed that “the Constitu­tion safeguards a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to bear a child… the government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be.”

“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 dissent said.

Ending Roe means ‘forced pregnancy’ and ‘forced birth,’ dissenting justices say

“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,” said the dissent.

In its view, the court majority says “that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs. An abor­tion restriction, the majority holds, is permissible whenever rational, the lowest level of scrutiny known to the law. And because, as the Court has often stated, protecting fetal life is rational, States will feel free to enact all manner of re­strictions.”

“The majority would allow States to ban abor­tion from conception onward because it does not think forced childbirth at all implicates a woman’s rights to equal­ity and freedom. Today’s Court, that is, does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and the path of her life.”

Dissenting justices back abortion of disabled unborn

“So too, after today’s ruling, some States may compel women to carry to term a fetus with severe physical anomalies—for example, one afflicted with Tay-Sachs disease, sure to die within a few years of birth,” said the dissent.

Dissent cites ‘hard’ cases of rape, mother’s health or life endangered

The dissent warned of states which “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.”

“States may even argue that a prohibition on abortion need make no provision for protect­ing a woman from risk of death or physical harm,” the dissent added. “Across a vast array of circumstances, a State will be able to impose its moral choice on a woman and coerce her to give birth to a child.”

Fears of national legal bans on abortion

“Most threatening of all, no language in today’s decision stops the Federal Government from prohibiting abortions nationwide, once again from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest,” said the dissent.

Are the principles of legal abortion at the core of American freedom?

“Roe and Casey were from the beginning, and are even more now, embedded in core constitutional concepts of individual freedom, and of the equal rights of citizens to decide on the shape of their lives,” said the dissent. “Those legal concepts, one might even say, have gone far toward defining what it means to be an American. For in this Nation, we do not believe that a government control­ling all private choices is compatible with a free people.”

Personal freedoms a ‘Jenga tower’ at risk from Dobbs

The dissent praised the Roe decision’s concept of “personal liberty” Fourteenth Amendment protections for individual decisions about marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing and education.

“The Court’s prece­dents about bodily autonomy, sexual and familial relations, and procreation are all interwoven—all part of the fabric of our constitutional law, and because that is so, of our lives. Especially women’s lives, where they safeguard a right to self-determination.”

The majority’s claim that contraception is not endangered is an unwarranted effort to “pick and choose.” The dissent also invoked precedents ending bans on interracial marriage and same-sex “marriage,” saying that these too represented constitutional protections for private decisions.

In the dissent’s view, the majority decision claims to be able to “neatly extract the right to choose from the constitutional edifice without affecting any associated rights. (Think of someone telling you that the Jenga tower simply will not collapse.)”

Dissent sees ‘balance’ in now-overturned pro-abortion rights precedents

For the critics of the Dobbs decision, Roe and Casey recognized both “the state interest in protecting prenatal life” and that “a woman’s freedom and equality are likewise involved.”

“In the first trimester of pregnancy, the State could not inter­fere at all with the decision to terminate a pregnancy. At any time after that point, the State could regulate to protect the pregnant woman’s health, such as by insisting that abortion providers and facilities meet safety requirements.” After fetal viability, “the State could ban abortions, except when neces­sary to preserve the woman’s life or health.”

For dissenting judges, America’s framers are limited but also progressive

Appeals to original intent or other precedents of history are misguided for several reasons, including because originally women were not recognized as full citizens, the dissent said.

The framers of American law “understood that the world changes. So they did not define rights by refer­ence to the specific practices existing at the time. Instead, the Framers defined rights in general terms, to permit fu­ture evolution in their scope and meaning. And over the course of our history, this Court has taken up the Framers’ invitation. It has kept true to the Framers’ principles by applying them in new ways, responsive to new societal un­derstandings and conditions.”

In the dissent’s view, “applications of liberty and equality can evolve while re­maining grounded in constitutional principles, constitu­tional history, and constitutional precedents.”

Dissent sees more conflicts to come, on abortion and other laws

“Can a State bar women from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? Can a State prohibit advertising out-of-state abortions or help­ing women get to out-of-state providers?” the dissent asked. “Can a State interfere with the mailing of drugs used for medication abor­tions? The Constitution protects travel and speech and in­terstate commerce, so today’s ruling will give rise to a host of new constitutional questions. Far from removing the Court from the abortion issue, the majority puts the Court at the center of the coming “interjurisdictional abortion wars.”

Dissenters say facts are on the side of legal abortion

“Subsequent legal developments have only reinforced Roe and Casey,” said the dissenting justices, who argued “no subsequent factual developments have un­dermined Roe and Casey.” Abortion law under Roe was more aligned with that of other countries,

“Women continue to experience unplanned pregnancies and unexpected developments in pregnancies. Pregnancies continue to have enormous phys­ical, social, and economic consequences,” they said, particularly faulting “abysmal” health outcomes in Mississippi, the state which brought the case.

“Roe and Casey con­tinue to reflect, not diverge from, broad trends in American society. It is, of course, true that many Americans, includ­ing many women, opposed those decisions when issued and do so now as well. Yet the fact remains: Roe and Casey were the product of a profound and ongoing change in women’s roles in the latter part of the 20th century,” said the dissent.

The justices predicted “profound” disruption from overturning Roe: “Abortion is a common medical procedure and a familiar experience in women’s lives. About 18 per­cent of pregnancies in this country end in abortion, and about one quarter of American women will have an abortion before the age of 45.”

This is a developing story.

LIVE UPDATES: Bishops, leaders and companies react to Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision

Pro-abortion protestors outside the Supreme Court after the historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. / Katie Yoder / CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 11:11 am (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday released its long-awaited judgment in a pivotal Mississippi abortion case — a 6-3 decision that overturns the Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood decisions that legalized abortion nationwide. Here is the latest developments:

Note: Times are EDT.

4:22 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly releases a statement after the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

“In a post-Roe world, the Knights will continue to be there for mothers and their children, and we will continue to proclaim the dignity of every human life.”

Read the full statement here.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki shares his reaction to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the video below.

3:21 p.m.

Bishop Robert Barron shares his reaction to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"Friends, today is a time to rejoice as we celebrate the Supreme Court's decision to overturn “Roe v. Wade,” a deeply unjust law that has resulted in over 60 million lost lives."

2:00 p.m.

The Pontifical Academy of Life shares their statement regarding the Supreme Court's decision.

“The court's opinion shows how the issue of abortion continues to arouse heated debate. The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world,” the Vatican academy wrote.

“The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights, but instead is a matter of broad social significance. After 50 years, it is important to reopen a non-ideological debate on the place that the protection of life has in a civil society to ask ourselves what kind of coexistence and society we want to build,” it said.

Major companies in the U.S. announce they will cover travel costs for employees to get an abortion in another state if the state they live in has banned abortions. Companies include Disney, Comcast, Paramount and Netflix among others.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston shared his statement in regards to the Supreme Court's decision.

"For all of us who have spoken, written, worked, marched, and prayed to reverse Roe v. Wade, today's Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is deeply significant and encouraging. This decision will create the possibility of protecting human life from conception; it calls us to recognize the unique burden faced by women in pregnancy; and it challenges us as a nation to work together to build up more communities of support -- and available access to them -- for all women experiencing unplanned pregnancies."

Read the full statement here.

12:50 p.m.

President Joe Biden gives press conference regarding the Supreme Court's decision.

He says, "Keep all protests peaceful. Violence is never acceptable. Threats are not speech. Stand against violence in any form, regardless of your rationale”

12:30 p.m.

Outside the Supreme Court.

Hundreds of people packed together in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., following the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Most pro-life supporters have left the court. It’s mostly abortion supporters in front of the court now. Abortion supporters are chanting “Legal abortion on demand right f*ing now!” and “f* you, SCOTUS.”

There are Lots of colorful signs, many with profane language: “F*** SCOTUS we’re doing it anyway.” Some abortion supporters are giving the middle finger to the court building.

11:00 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference.

She said, "Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party & their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers. Radical Republicans are now charging ahead with their crusade to criminalize health freedom."

"A woman’s fundamental health decisions are her own to make, in consultation with her doctor & her loved ones – not to be dictated by far-right politicians. While Republicans seek to punish & control women, Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law."

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Diocese of San Francisco in California issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

"The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.” Never have the words the Rev. Martin Luther King, the great prophet of human rights in the 20th century, rung more true. This historic Supreme Court decision would not have happened without fifty years of patient, loving, hard work by people of all faiths and none in diverse fields including social service, religion, law, medicine, culture, education, policy and politics. But our work has just begun. The artificial barriers the Supreme Court created by erecting a so-called Constitutional right out of thin air have been removed. The struggle to demonstrate we can build a culture that respects every human life, including mothers in crisis pregnancies and the babies they carry, continues. We must redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, as well as to offer mercy to those suffering the after-effects of the abortion experience. Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us.

Read the full statement here.

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini reacts to the historic decision.

“For nearly fifty years, the Supreme Court has imposed an unpopular and extreme abortion policy on our nation, but as the annual March for Life gives witness to, Roe's allowance of abortion-on-demand, up-until-birth has never represented where most Americans stand on life! Today, the ability to determine whether and when to limit abortion was returned to the American people who have every right to enact laws like Mississippi's which protect mothers and unborn babies after 15 weeks — when they have fully formed noses, can suck their thumb, and feel pain. We are so grateful to the countless pro-life people of goodwill who contributed and sacrificed to make today possible – including the millions of those who have marched for life over the years - and we recognize that this is just the beginning of our work to advance policies that protect life. We will continue to march until abortion is unthinkable because equality begins in the womb.”

CatholicVote President Brian Burch shares his reaction.

"We are energized by this historic moment and resolve to work ever more diligently toward building a culture of life that respects the dignity of both mother and child. The Court today has merely allowed state legislators to begin the important task of supporting women in need, and protecting their vulnerable children from the grisly practices of the abortion industry. We urge state legislatures along with our federal representatives to move quickly to enact broad protections for women and children, and support for pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and programs that offer real choices for women to keep and love their children.”

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States marks an important moment for our nation, lifting a cloud that has hung over our country for nearly a half century. There is no way to undo the tragedy of tens of millions of innocent lives lost or the decades of division sown by the Roe v. Wade decision. But, for the sake of future generations, we can now move forward with a more honest debate and efforts to advance policies and support programs that protect innocent life and promote stability and security for vulnerable mothers. Much work remains to be done on both fronts, and that work will now necessarily have more of a local focus, particularly in our own home state of Illinois. Importantly, these efforts must include prayer and concerted efforts to preserve peace in the face of recent violence, intimidation, and criminal vandalism against churches and government officials.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver releases his statement regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has been a dark cloud over our country and has played a role in tens of millions of pre-born babies dying. In this life, we will never know the unrepeatable gifts they would have brought to our families, communities, and world."

Read the full statement here.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops release their statement in regards to the Supreme Court's decision.

“This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born."

The full statement can be read here.

You can find the full statement from Bishop Michael Barber of the Diocese of Oakland in California here.

Read the Catholic University of America's full statement.

11:17 a.m.

Missouri becomes the first state to end abortions.

Reaction from the New York State Catholic Conference.

"We give thanks to God for today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born." Read the full statement here.

10:20 a.m.

The Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in a historic 6-3 decision.

The opinion, in the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is widely seen as the Supreme Court’s most highly anticipated and consequential ruling since Roe. It not only overturns Roe, the landmark 1973 abortion case, but also Casey v. Planned Parenthood, a 1992 decision that affirmed Roe.

The Dobbs opinion was written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined the opinion. Thomas and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgement. Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.

This is a developing story.

Unrest after Dobbs? Here's what's happening.

An armored police vehicle is positioned on the plaza between the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court after the court handed down its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. / Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 11:03 am (CNA).

Police with riot gear arrived outside the Supreme Court at around 11:30 a.m. on Friday, just hours after the court released the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which returns the regulation of abortion to the states.

Although activists on both sides of the abortion topic have been raising their voices outside the court, as of midday June 24 there have been no reports of violence in response to the ruling

On May 30, a group called Jane’s Revenge released a call to action “Night of Rage,” in which they called for people to “come out after dark” and “make your anger known” on the night of the Dobbs decision. They selected 8 p.m. for “actions nationwide to begin.”

Pro-life pregnancy centers have come under attack since early May, with the words “Jane’s revenge,” or something similar, being left at the site of the vandalism. The attacks began after the Dobbs draft decision was leaked to the press. In recent months, many churches, especially Catholic ones, have come under attack from pro-abortion individuals as well. 

After the leak in May, a pro-abortion group called Ruth Sent Us began calling for its followers to disrupt Catholic Masses. Many local Churches issued guidance to parishes to prepare for possible disruptions.

A memo from the Diocese of Stockton shows that the diocese is directing its clergy, parish staff, religious, and pastoral center staff to prepare for possible disturbances to churches. 

A June 24 risk advisory from the Archdiocese of Boston, sent before the Dobbs decision’s release, shows that the archdiocese is taking similar precautions. 

“We would like to emphasize that there have been no direct threats received; however, we encourage all parishes and institutions to elevate their awareness and be prepared by taking the following precautions,” the advisory says.  

The archdiocese is calling on parishes and institutions to ask for guidance and increased patrol outside weekend Masses from their local police departments. 

The archdiocese is also advising parishes to train their staff to deal with protesters and develop an advanced plan for potential violence or vandalism. The advisory says parishes should remind all staff to call 911 for any concerns regarding violence or vandalism.

The archdiocese is also directing parishes to “Discuss your communication plan with ushers and greeters in the event they need to notify the pastor or police of an emergency situation.”

Other guidance from the archdiocese tells parishes to “assess your location” and identify doors that don’t lock or are unlocked at certain hours. Parishes are called to consider video security cameras on the exterior of churches where there is possible vandalism risk. The archdiocese is also asking parishes to create protocols, “where possible,” for screening visitors. 

This is a developing story.

UPDATED: 6 things to know about Roe v. Wade, Dobbs v. Jackson and the Supreme Court

Pro-life and pro-abortion advocates outside of the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, March 2, 2016. / Catholic News Agency

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 24, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a historic case on Dec. 1, 2021 that directly challenged Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. And on June 24, 2022, the court issued its ruling, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and returning the question of abortion policy to the states.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. What was the case about?

The case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involved a 2018 Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. “Dobbs” stands for Thomas E. Dobbs, who serves as the state health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health. Jackson Women’s Health Organization provides abortion in Jackson, Mississippi, and is the only abortion clinic in that state.

The case centered on the question of “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb. The case challenges two landmark abortion cases that Mississippi calls “egregiously wrong”: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

2. Why did the case challenge Roe and Casey?

In Roe v. Wade, the court ruled that states could not ban abortion before viability, which the court determined to be 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy. Nearly 20 years later, the court upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The 1992 ruling said that while states could regulate pre-viability abortions, they could not enforce an “undue burden,” defined by the court as “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, the subject of the Dobbs case, bans abortion weeks before the point of viability.

“Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes,” Mississippi argues in its brief. “Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.”

3. Who argued the case before the court?

Three people spoke before the justices in December 2021. Scott G. Stewart, the solicitor general of Mississippi, was given 35 minutes to represent the state. For Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Julie Rikelman, litigation director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, was given 20 minutes. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar had 15 minutes to argue in support of Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

4. How can Americans hear or read the arguments that were made? 

The Supreme Court website offers an audio recording and transcripts of the arguments.

5. What did the Court rule in June?

The Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey in a historic 6-3 decision released Friday that brought a sudden and dramatic end to nearly a half-century of nationwide legalized abortion in the U.S. 

"Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority," the opinion states. "We now overrule these decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives."

The decision does not ban or criminalize abortion, nor does it recognize an unborn child's constitutional right to life. But in one stroke, the court’s action sweeps away entrenched legal barriers, created and strictly enforced by the federal judiciary, that for decades have blocked states like Mississippi from heavily restricting or prohibiting the killing of unborn children in the womb.

The ruling marks a watershed moment for the Catholic Church and the wider pro-life movement in the United States, which have painstakingly sought Roe’s reversal since the landmark 7-2 decision was handed down on Jan. 19, 1973.

6. What happens now?

In more than a dozen states, abortion is now completely illegal, with a few exceptions, while several other states in the country have passed laws to protect abortion within their borders.

Abortion has the potential to be a major issue in the November elections in the U.S., but early polling suggests economic problems such as inflation may play more of a role. 

There have already been attempts in the Senate to pass a codification of Roe v. Wade into federal law, but so far these have failed, with Democrat Joe Manchin joining all the senate Republicans in opposition. Political observers have speculated that even if Democrats abolished the filibuster rule — which requires 60 votes to break a filibuster from the minority — they may still not have enough votes to pass a codification of Roe v. Wade. 

Plus, there is a chance that, in light of the Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court could strike down a federal law attempting to codify abortion rights. 

Part of a continuing series examining the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a direct challenge to the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion throughout the United States. This story has been updated since its original publication on Nov. 30, 2021.