US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending 50 years of federal abortion rights


*this story is being updated as news comes in*

Millions in the US to lose abortion rights as it’s expected around half of states could ban abortions. 


In a devastating blow for human rights, the US court has officially (June 24) struck down the landmark Roe v Wade decision, weeks after an unprecedented leaked document suggested it favoured doing so.


The judgement is set to transform abortion rights in America, with individual states now able to ban the procedure, which half are expected to do almost immediately.


Thirteen states have already enacted so-called ‘trigger laws’ that will automatically outlaw abortion following the Supreme Court’s ruling. A number of others are likely to follow suit.


The right to have an abortion through the first trimester of pregnancy was protected nationally in 1973 following the supreme court’s landmark ruling, known as ‘Roe v. Wade’.


The court decided there is no constitutional right to abortion in a case called Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In reaching that decision, the conservative-majority court overturned Roe v Wade, from 1973.


In total, abortion access is expected to be cut off for about 36 million people of reproductive age, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organisation that provides abortions.


Currently California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C. protect abortion rights by state law and are safe states to access abortion at the time of writing.


LGBTQ+ impact.

The key to this and its broader impact is understanding that millions of American people just had, in seconds, a fundamental right, which many have known all of their lives, taken away from them.


Abortion rights are a foundational human rights issue and therefore already an LGBTQ+ issue – queer people have required access to abortions the same way straight people do.


In addition, though, it’s important to recognize that the simultaneous attacks on abortion and LGBTQ+ rights we have witnessed, both recently and throughout history, are not coincidental.


The fundamentalist Christian view that life begins at conception goes hand in hand with fundamentalist Christian views on homosexuality or LGBTQ+ identities, and the people with those beliefs are shaping the law of the land.

The same far-right who support limiting or banning access to abortion care are the same people who are also working to deny LGBTQ+ people of their rights and freedoms.


Political experts have warned that the reverse of Roe, and denying the essential humanity of allowing people autonomy over their own body, sets a precedent to other rights being called into question – from access to contraception, voting rights, gay rights, marriage equality for same-sex couples and so on.


In Roe, the Supreme Court decided that under the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy, abortion rights were protected by the constitution.

“This right of privacy…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”


Roe has historically been labelled as a “super-precedent”, meaning it was supposed to be beyond reconsideration by the courts, but now that has changed, experts warn other laws could begin to change along with it. It will be a case of seeing if the impact this decision effects other rights that fall under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Given the Republican position on LGBTQ+ rights, it virtually guarantees that those freedoms will be next in the firing line of the religious-right agenda.


LGBTQ+ Americans have already seen this in action from Republicans in positions of power this year, such as the highly-publicized ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law in Florida and similar legislation passing in other States.


Back in March it was revealed that the annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills to have been filed in the US catapulted from 41 throughout the whole of 2018 to 238 in less than three months of 2022.


Immediately after the devastating Roe decision in the US, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas takes aim at gay rights and contraception. Read more about that by clicking here