Home General News 10 key quotes from Justice Alito’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

10 key quotes from Justice Alito’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

by Patricia R. Mills

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The Supreme Court on Friday issued its long-awaited and previously leaked opinion, overturning Roe v. Wade — effectively ending recognition of a constitutional right to abortion and giving individual states the power to regulate and restrict the practice.

The ruling came in the Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centered on a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Republican-led state of Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to strike down a lower court ruling that stopped the 15-week abortion ban from taking place.

Justice Samuel Alito penned the opinion. Here are 10 of the key quotes from Alito’s opinion.


10 key quotes from Justice Alito's opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

Alito details how abortion was viewed pre-Roe

“Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every state. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy, was regarded as unlawful, and could have serious consequences at all locations. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By adopting the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow. ”

Roe’ egregiously wrong’ deepened division

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Alito argues against confusion 14th Amendment with their views

“In interpreting what is meant by the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to “liberty,” we must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what that Amendment protects with our ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy. That is why the Court has long been “reluctant” to recognize rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution.”

Anti-abortion protesters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the Court’s landmark abortion cases.
(AP )

Alito dismisses the claim decision will lead to reversals on same-sex marriage and contraception.

“Finally, the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. But we have stated unequivocally that ‘[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.’ We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed ‘potential life.'”

The Court is not allowed to impose its owit’stheory of life’ on the Nation.

“Our opinion is not based on any view about whether and when prenatal life is entitled to any rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic human right—to live—until an arbitrary point in pregnancy has passed. Nothing in the Constitution or our Nation’s legal traditions authorizes the Court to adopt that ‘theory of life.'”


Alito says Roe’s decision ‘usurped’ power.

“Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided; Casey perpetuated its errors. Those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people. Rather, wielding nothing but “raw judicial power,”… the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.”

Roe ‘relies on an erroneous historical narrative’

“Roe .found that the Constitution implicitly conferred a right to obtain an abortion, but it failed to ground its decision in text, history, or precedent. It relied on a false historical narrative; it devoted great attention to and presumably relied on matters that have no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution; it disregarded the fundamental difference between the precedents on which it relied and the question before the Court; it concocted an elaborate set of rules, with different restrictions for each trimester of pregnancy, but it did not explain how this veritable code could be teased out of anything in the Constitution, the history of abortion laws, prior precedent, or any other cited source. Its most important rule (that States cannot protect fetal life prior beforeility’) was never raised by any Opinion of the Court party and has never been plausibly explained.”

Alito emphasizes the democratic consequences of Dobbs.

“Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. Notably, the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.”


Alito says he does not know how the US will respond to Dobbs.

“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 would happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly. We, therefore, hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”


The opinion concludes.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit each state’s citizens from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

Fox News Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital, focusing on immigration. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

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