The Dispatch: More from CWR...

BREAKING: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in historic abortion decision

Katie YoderShannon Mullen   By Katie YoderShannon Mullen for CNA

(Image: Steven Frame/Shutterstock)

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 08:24 am (CNA).

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade in a historic decision released Friday that brings a sudden and dramatic end to nearly a half-century of nationwide legalized abortion in the U.S.

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.

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

The decision does not ban or criminalize abortion, nor does it recognize an unborn child’s constitutional right to life. But in one, breathtaking 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.

In the process, the decision ushers in a new era of abortion politics in the U.S., with the battleground now shifting to state legislatures. Those democratically elected bodies are now free to debate and regulate abortion as they see fit, as happened throughout American history before the Supreme Court federalized the issue.

At the same time, 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.

“America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said in a joint statement following the opinion’s release.

“This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life,” the Catholic bishops continued. “We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision.” Gomez is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Lori is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Today’s decision is also the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies that truly support families,” the statement continued.

“We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good in our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be numbered among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nation’s history.”

Decision conforms to leaked draft

The outcome of Dobbs came as little surprise, since the final opinion substantially resembled a draft written by Alito in February that was leaked to the press on May 2.

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, directly challenged both decisions, because it bans abortion weeks after 15 weeks, well before the point of viability.

“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 inflamed debate and deepened division,” the opinion states.

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

This is a developing story.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 6907 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. With the understanding that so much more in battle lies ahead, we thank you Dear Lord in this very special moment for the Gift of Life.

    Praise be to God!

  2. God bless the SCOTUS for overturning Roe. Now the states and the people must consider a question the Court failed to address: In civilized society, does any state have the authority to legalize the murder of innocent humanity? By “humanity” I mean biological human beings. Many of the most horrific “legal” abuses of human rights in modern history were the result of government simply withdrawing full legal “personhood” from its victims. Personhood status comes and goes with the clouds of bigotry, casting their dark shadow upon Blacks at one time, Jews another, and most recently upon the child in the womb.

    Is it biological humanity that has inalienable human rights, or is it just those upon which the government currently deems worthy of legal personhood?

    The Nuremberg Trials condemned the notion that there could be such a thing as legal murder. Its prosecutors treated “legal” abortion as a crime against humanity. Defendants who demonstrated that they had done nothing illegal under Nazi law were hanged anyway. Why? Because if inalienable human rights don’t apply to ALL humanity there is no such thing as inalienable human rights

    Considering how quickly the murder of the child in the womb was “legalized” after the Nuremberg Trials, one must conclude that civilized humanity must explicitly declare in their state constitutions that it is ALL of biological humanity that possesses inalienable human rights, not just those upon which the state currently bestows legal personhood.

    We either get that done now or condemn our children and grandchildren to a very uncivilized world where the dark clouds of bigotry may cast their shadows upon them, leaving them helpless.

    The state has no authority whatsoever to bestow or withdraw the inalienable right of humanity in civilized society. It can only protect them.

    • John Paul the II said something to the effect that if a society does not protect its most vulnerable, it will not survive.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. BREAKING: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in historic abortion decision – Via Nova Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.