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What a Supreme Court Ruling on Roe v. Wade Would Mean for Women

If the court overturns Roe, it would represent the biggest shift in reproductive healthcare in 50 years

Demonstrators gathered outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Eric Lee for the Wall Street Journal

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it has the potential to immediately transform the reproductive lives of women in roughly half the country, and would represent the biggest shift in reproductive healthcare in 50 years.

Nearly half the states in the U.S. have passed bans on most abortions that are poised to take effect soon after the court overturns Roe—while more than a dozen others recently have moved to protect abortion rights in state laws. The Supreme Court has yet to issue a final ruling deciding whether to overturn the 1973 decision that created a federal constitutional protection for abortion. A draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and leaked Monday explicitly called for Roe to be overruled.

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