“It’s a sad day for the court and for the country,” Biden said at the White House. He urged voters to make it a defining issue in the November elections, declaring, “This decision must not be the final word.”

The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion that had stood for nearly a half-century. The decision by the court’s conservative majority overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, AP reports.

The ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.

Both sides predicted the fight over abortion would continue, in state capitals, in Washington and at the ballot box. Justice Clarence Thomas, part of Friday’s majority, urged colleagues to overturn other high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and the use of contraceptives.

Pregnant women considering abortions already had been dealing with a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas. Clinics in at least five other states — Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin and West Virginia — stopped performing abortions after Friday’s decision.

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