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The end of Roe sets up different judicial systems for men and women, a WMU sociologist argues

A young woman shouts in joy while holding a handmade sign that says "abortion is murder." Another woman is holding a megaphone
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
People celebrate outside the Supreme Court, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Washington. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The court issued its opinion Friday overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

A Western Michigan University professor who studies constitutional law said the end of Roe vs. Wade has implications far beyond abortion.

The court issued a 6-3 opinion Friday in a case involving a Mississippi abortion law.

Sociologist Ashlyn Kuersten said without Roe, women no longer have the legal right to control their own bodies since they can now be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will in states that ban abortion.

"So what we just did in this decision is we created two different judicial systems. One for men, and one for women," she said.

Kuersten added that the US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe threatens other rights grounded in the protection of bodily integrity.

"That has ramifications for women obtaining birth control, it has ramifications for consenting gay couples to have sexual relations."

In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should reconsider rulings that guaranteed the right to use birth control and marriage equality as well as a decision that struck down laws criminalizing sodomy.

Kuersten says those other laws based on bodily integrity could fall as well, leaving straight men with more freedoms than straight women and LGBTQ Americans.

Other reactions

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement calling it "a sad day for America." She also filed a motion for the state Supreme Court to immediately hear her lawsuit over the right to abortion in Michigan.

Right to Life of Michigan said the Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe are on the right side of history.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan called the decision "chilling", saying it granted state politicians free rein to dictate personal medical decisions and block access to care.