BY Fred Lucas, Ken McIntyre

The Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade ruling Friday with a 6-3 decision in a Mississippi case that returns the issue of abortion to the states after nearly 50 years.

The high court’s dramatic and historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not a surprise to either side of the abortion debate, since a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico in early May.

“This is a great day in American history, especially for the millions of children whose innocent lives will be spared from the horrors of abortion in the years to come,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a written statement. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

Roberts added, in part:

For too long, Roe v. Wade has poisoned our courts, our culture, and our laws. Today’s decision corrects the grave constitutional error of Roe v. Wade—and finally gives the American people, through their elected representatives, the power to fix America’s extreme abortion laws and enshrine protections for the unborn in law.

The leak of Alito’s draft opinion May 2 prompted rowdy protests outside the homes of some Supreme Court justices, as well as what police said was a California man’s failed assassination attempt on Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  Conservatives condemned local and federal prosecutors for failing to enforce laws against intimidation of federal judges.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand across the nation, replacing restrictions that previously were determined state by state.

In December, the high court heard arguments in Dobbs, a case centered on a Mississippi law prohibiting a woman from getting an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state’s abortion law largely is in line with those of most Western European countries.

Alito was joined in the majority opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Thomas and Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions, as did Roberts.

Filing a dissenting opinion were Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer, who is retiring after this term.

The high court’s 6-3 decision doesn’t mean a national ban on abortion, as many pro-abortion activists have suggested. Some states, including New York and California, have laws that allow late-term abortions.


However, about half the states have abortion restrictions on the books, while about 20 passed laws expanding abortion in recent years.

“The injustice of Roe has finally come to an end, and the momentum to protect life in law is finally on the side of innocent preborn children and their mothers who deserve our help,” Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said in a written statement.

“Roe v. Wade has been a cancer growing in our Constitution resulting in more than 63 million deaths,” Hawkins said. “Today, the court has cut it out, and that’s a win. Now we get back to building up a health society, affirming life for women and their children, born and preborn.”

Jennifer Anderson, executive director of The Heritage Foundation’s grassroots partner, Heritage Action for America, released a statement saying in part:

This victory for life is but the first step in our fight for the unborn. State and federal lawmakers will once again be free to advance protections for life. American public opinion has advanced with science –mothers have been able to see ultrasounds and hear their baby’s heartbeat at six weeks. Recognizing that, over the past 50 years Americans have steadily become more passionate about protecting life, and the 26 states with protections for life already in place reflect the desire of the American people to defend unborn babies.

Now, other states must follow the lead of governors in South Dakota, South Carolina, Florida, and Nebraska in calling for special sessions and new legislative initiatives to protect life, and our federal representatives should join the states in enacting new protections for life.

In a joint statement Friday morning, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and a coalition called the Liberate Abortion Campaign rejected any threats of violence over the Supreme Court’s official decision in Dobbs.

“We reject the tactics and threats of groups that use destruction and violence as a means to an end,” Planned Parenthood and the other pro-abortion groups said. “They do not speak for us, our supporters, our communities, or our movement. We are committed to protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive freedoms through peaceful, non-violent organizing and activism.”

This is a breaking news story and is being updated.