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Supreme Court votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing federal right to abortion

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Keenan joins the Live show to break down the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Just moments ago, we got the news that indeed the Supreme Court had overturned the landmark 1973 Roe versus Wade decision that guaranteed the federal constitutional right to an abortion on the part of American women. Even though there was a draft opinion leaked earlier this year that seemed to point in this direction, it is still a shocking shocking, shocking decision. Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan is here with the details on this, Alexis.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Hi, Julie. Yes, so just a huge, huge change in the rights of women in this country. There are 26 states that are either certain or predicted likely to go ahead and further restrict women's access to abortion in this country if this was the result. So I want to read from some of the court's opinion here. I'm still getting through it, haven't read the whole thing, but this is the gist of the holding.

The court held, the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, Roe and Casey, those are the two cases that are securing that right now, they say are overruled and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people, meaning to the states, and their elected representatives. The Court goes on to say that the critical question is whether the Constitution when properly understood confers a right to obtain an abortion.

They say that the cases that came before it, Casey and Roe, that they were based on wrong reasoning, and in fact, women do not have a federal right to an abortion. This is elective abortion that we're talking about. If we look at federal law, what that guaranteed was for women to obtain an abortion at up until the point of viability, which is generally understood to be between 24 and 27 weeks, give or take.

Mississippi's law here that was being challenged in this decision here, that law restricts all the way back to 15 weeks, so a significant limitation in how long a woman would have to decide on this decision. But many states have trigger laws in effect, meaning that if this is the result that those laws will automatically go into effect that further limit women's rights to obtain an abortion.

So such a sweeping, sweeping change in this country, and we're also going to be watching for how companies respond. And so many have already responded proactively in anticipation of this being the case, given that we did have that draft leak.

BRAD SMITH: Thank you so much for breaking this down for us, and we're seeing the protests right now too.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, I just want to say a couple-- I mean, some of those companies saying that they would, for example, pay for their employees to cross state lines, for example, if abortion became illegal in their states. Those protesters that you mentioned have been standing by outside the Court in anticipation of this decision. Interestingly, it doesn't look like there is much activity at this point.

But also keep in mind that this is ahead of a weekend where pride celebrations are scheduled for here in New York City and other cities around the country. Those celebrations obviously meant to be celebrations of LGBTQ plus pride. Now, May turn even more political in the wake of this kind of a decision. And even though it's quiet now, I predict it's not going to stay quiet there outside of the Supreme Court building as the news spreads of this decision, which again, it's difficult to overemphasize how big a decision this is.

And I think we just need to take a moment to emphasize that-- I mean, 1973 is when this happened. Before that, you did have some women crossing state lines. You had women getting illegal abortions, for example, to their health detriment, and in fact, sometimes to their fatalities in some cases. This is also an area where globally it has gone in the other direction. And we have seen in some countries that had outlawed abortion then making it legal in some cases. I mean this is really quite a reversal.

BRAD SMITH: The other question too that this raises as well is for the Biden administration who has pushed back against Supreme Court packing, does this kind of reinvigorate some of the calls from the base that put the administration into office to now relook at the Supreme Court? Because you've had a reversal of this decision, you've had the gun reversal as well here in New York this week.

JULIE HYMAN: Yesterday, yeah.

BRAD SMITH: This is really skewed now towards a Supreme Court that doesn't necessarily have a defense, at least in these rulings of the course of this week that it is unbiased in its political leanings. And so with these decisions that have come through, does that once again raise these calls to be that much louder towards the president's desk as well?

ALEXIS KEENAN: Sure. And look, this issue is such a hot button issue. And we have midterms coming up. And so there's been a lot of speculation about how this decision, the gun decision would impact midterms. So we could see some people move across the fence in that respect. But this is just-- to Julie's point, this is just such a sweeping change for this country.

We've talked on the shows a lot about the idea that companies perhaps will now use benefits for travel, for picking up expenses tied to the ability to seek out an abortion if one is not available in your state, that will maybe be something that companies will use to attract talent. I mean, it's even too early I think almost to get there and to talk about that.

But that is the direction that things are going. And we've seen it already before this decision even came out, before the leak came out, but this is just such an overwhelming change. And I do think we need to take a minute to just absorb it, and I will keep reading into the decision.

Another thing that the Court talked a lot about in the draft and it's here in the opinion too is they use this reasoning that the right to abortion or seeking out abortion is not well rooted in the country's history, sort of in its essence. And that is questionable, I think, because women have been seeking out elective abortions in all types of fashions going back hundreds of years even before our Constitution was formed. So one could argue that maybe that is a strange reasoning, but it's certainly in there, but that's one of the things that the court was looking to is that it needed to be deeply rooted in order to be a fundamental constitutional right for women here.

BRAD SMITH: We're monitoring continuing coverage of not just of course, the ruling here but the protests as well that are seemingly formulating at this point in time. Thank you for joining us on set to really break this down and look through some of the legality of all of this and where we move forward from here as well, and where we go next honestly. Thank you so much, Alexis.