'Monumental day for justice' as US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade

Pro-lifers in front of the US Supreme Court.(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Pro-lifers are celebrating the historic decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.

The 1973 ruling imposed abortion across the US but in a decision released on Friday, the Supreme Court concluded that there is no constitutional right to an abortion and that the matter should be returned "to the people's elected representatives". 

The Supreme Court backed the decision 6-3. 

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the decision reads.

Casey refers to the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey, which reaffirmed Roe v Wade.

Friday's ruling on Roe v Wade was handed down in response to a request made to the US Supreme Court last year by the state of Mississippi. It asked the court to overturn Roe v Wade in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organisation in a dispute over the state's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Today's ruling upholds the Mississippi ban.

"We hold that Roe and [Planned Parenthood v Casey] must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision," wrote Justice Samuel Alito.

"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."

Pro-lifers have praised today's ruling.

Christian leader Dr James Dobson said Roe v Wade was "egregiously wrong" from the start.

"After nearly 50 years, a majority of Supreme Court justices, who refused to be intimidated by threats and violence, have finally struck down Roe v. Wade," he said. 

"Roe was built on a lie that somewhere hidden in our Constitution there existed a right to destroy children in the womb. The ruling in 1973 shocked the nation and divided the country. It was an exercise in raw judicial power. History will judge it as one of the court's most shameful moments. But now the court has corrected its mistake.

READ MORE: Abortion one of the great issues facing the UK church

"Roe is dead, and, as a result, millions of innocent babies will have a chance to live and be welcomed into the world and protected by the promises of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

"All of us who fought so hard to save innocent babies and to end the exploitation of women by the abortion industry have cause to celebrate and to thank God. This is a tremendous day for our country.

"But the battle is not over. The court has taken the issue of abortion and returned it to the states. The people of each state will now have the opportunity to debate and to try to persuade their fellow citizens. Then they can reach their own conclusions on the fundamental issue of the sanctity of life and pass laws that reflect that consensus. All of us at James Dobson Family Institute will continue to be in that battle, and I pray to God you will be there, too."

Pastor Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, said, "This is a remarkable answer to the prayers of millions of people for decades.

"I honestly never dreamed in my lifetime I would see this happen.

"We do not gloat or dare say anything but praise to our God for this courageous and just decision by the Supreme Court.

"Now we must support, love and demonstrate God's grace and goodness to would-be mothers and the precious children this decision has rescued."

Former US Vice-President Mike Pence said the Supreme Court justices had "righted a historic wrong". 

"Today, Life Won. By overturning Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court of the United States has given the American people a new beginning for life and I commend the Justices in the majority for having the courage of their convictions," he said. 

"By returning the question of abortion to the states and the people, this Supreme Court has righted a historic wrong, and reaffirmed to right of the American people to govern themselves at the state level in a manner consistent with their values and aspirations.

"Now that Roe v. Wade has been consigned to the ash heap of history, a new arena in the cause of life has emerged and it is incumbent on all who cherish the sanctity of life to resolve that we will take the defense of the unborn and support for women in crisis pregnancies to every state Capitol in America.

"Having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land."

Jor-El Godsey, President of Heartbeat International, the largest network of pregnancy help centres in the US, said, "I thank God that fifty years of injustice for the unborn and fifty years of the craven politicization of women's health by big abortion activists is over."

Sam Brownback, former United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, said, "At long last—but not before the tragic loss of more than 63 million innocent lives—the Supreme Court has repudiated the mistake that was Roe v. Wade.

"America was founded upon the 'self-evident truth' that all humans are endowed with the unalienable right to life. Yet the wisdom that flowed from Jefferson's pen in 1776 was rejected almost two centuries later, when a divided Supreme Court created a constitutional right to abortion in 1973.

READ MORE: It's going to get very ugly in the aftermath of Roe v Wade

"The contentious debate that has consumed our country since has proven that the American people, the democratic process, and ultimately even the federal judiciary have been ill-served by the Supreme Court's breathtaking intervention into, and circumvention of, the public debate about abortion.

"Today's ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization is a great day for the rule of law in this country. Court decisions should be about the law as it is written, not desired outcomes. Legal scholars on the Left, including even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have criticized Roe for cutting short the policy debate on abortion by elected officials.

"Abortion is a moral issue, not a legal one. Roe was anti-democratic and today's ruling is a victory for our nation's democratic process. The people, not unelected judges, will decide its fate."

Dr Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, said, "Life has won, justice has been done, and our work to care for America's moms has just begun.

"This is the legacy of a generation of Evangelicals, Catholics and others who had the courage to engage in the public square, to vote their values, and to push against the cultural forces that would even sacrifice children to advance their agenda. We rejoice."

UK pro-lifers are also celebrating the victory. 

John Deighan, CEO of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), called it a "monumental day for justice, the rule of law and, most of all, for the US unborn and their mothers."