Faculty React to the Supreme Court’s Reversal of ‘Roe v. Wade’

Following the court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, several Columbia Law faculty have been providing expert analysis and commentary in major media outlets.

Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court Building at dusk

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old landmark decision that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion.

The court ruled 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban being challenged in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and 5-4 to overturn Roe. Friday’s ruling effectively struck down the high court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had established the right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment up to the point of fetal viability. 

Columbia Law School professors Katherine M. Franke, Olatunde C. Johnson, and Carol Sanger have been interviewed by a host of media outlets to get their expert commentary and analysis on the significance and legal implications of the decision and what comes next. See excerpts below.

Katherine M. Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law

June 24


“The right to contraception and abortion in the 60s and 70s, before Roe, was often argued as an equality right—that was certainly where Justice Ginsburg came down, was to understand access to abortion as being instrumental to women’s full political and economic equality, that we can’t function equally in, say, the workplace if we can’t control our reproductive bodies—but there were others that also understood it as a liberty right.” Listen

June 24


“There will be plenty of people working for companies in [abortion restrictive] states, who agree with the laws criminalizing abortion, and could disclose that information to local law enforcement and other public officials outside of the corporate context. . . .  This will be an interesting project for corporate counsel . . . to think about how to set up funds that both support the access to health care for the employees and protect their privacy.” Read more

June 25

Bloomberg Law Podcast

“What we learned in a 24-hour period is that states have no power and no constitutional right to regulate guns, and at the same time, states have the absolute power and right to regulate women’s bodies. It makes you question what kind of citizens women are in this country after those two decisions.” Listen

Olatunde C. Johnson, Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law

Member, Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States

June 24

ABC News

“I don’t expect the legal battles to stop. This [decision] has an immediate impact on women, especially poor women and women of color. But because there is going to be such a patchwork of approaches, it is going to raise a range of legal issues.” Watch


June 25

The Globe and Mail

“It’s a major moment in which people are asking foundational questions. . . . But these were not conversations that I heard really seriously a decade ago.” Read more

Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law

June 24

NBC News

“Mental health is almost never seen as enough of a reason to justify an abortion under the laws . . . Most of the new statutes say that her death has to be a physical death, meaning that she has to be physically ill, not that she’s going to kill herself.” Read more

June 24

New York Post

“We’re going to be in a period of several years of finding out what the court says is constitutionally permissible. . . . People are going to have to tolerate a lot of uncertainty, and the uncertainty alone will influence what kind of decisions women will make.” Read more

June 26

CBS News

Dobbs also invites a new era of woman-shaming. The stigma some women felt under Roe will be intensified: There is no longer the claim that they are simply exercising a protected right. Poor women particularly will confront the calamity of unwanted pregnancies, with greater expenses, distances, and logistics.” Watch

June 27

Boston Globe

“Once privacy is discarded as a constitutional right, other rights derived from privacy are vulnerable. Despite Alito’s assurance that Dobbs has no application beyond abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas has already staked his claim: The Court, he wrote in a concurring opinion, should ‘reconsider all of the Court’s [privacy] precedents,’ specifically including contraception, same-sex relations, and marriage equality. This is grim.” Read more