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Opinion
Therese Raphael

The Supreme Court Broke Roe. Now Who Picks Up the Pieces?

State bans on abortion will only compound existing health inequalities.

Abortion rights demonstrators during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

Abortion rights demonstrators during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: Bloomberg

In the now-famous leaked draft abortion ruling, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito alludes to the tsunami about to be unleashed. “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision.” 

In other words, the Court can break the half-century-old Roe v. Wade abortion settlement (and the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that reinforced it), but it will be on everyone else to pick up the pieces. The political impact — especially for the midterm elections — is hard to predict, but one consequence is entirely foreseeable: A decision to allow abortion bans will widen already stark health inequalities in the U.S.