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U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson knocks down Roe v. Wade, returns abortion issue to states

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Norvilia Etienne, of Students for Life, holds a sign outside the Supreme Court of the United States May 3, 2022, the day after a draft of the court's opinion was leaked signaling that the court was leaning toward overturning Roe v. Wade. (CNS photo/Rhina Guidos)

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe and Casey rulings in its decision in the Dobbs case on Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks.

The court rejected the Roe v. Wade abortion rights case, ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that the question of abortion should be returned to the states.

Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett formed the majority. Chief Justice Roberts concurs in the judgment.

Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.

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

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., a Catholic, is pictured in a 2010 photo at the Supreme Court building in Washington. (CNS photo/Larry Downing, Reuters)

“There is nothing in the Constitution about abortion, and the Constitution does not implicitly protect the right.”

The dissenters criticize what they describe as the majority’s “cavalier approach to overturning this court’s precedents.”

The opinion closely resembles a leaked initial draft of a court opinion obtained by Politico and published online the evening of May 2.

The draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said Roe “was egregiously wrong from the start” and that “Roe and Casey must be overruled.” Casey v. Planned Parenthood is the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe.

Alito’s opinion said the court’s 1973 Roe decision had exceptionally weak reasoning “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,” he wrote.

He also said abortion policies should be determined on the state level.