The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, a stunning reversal that leaves states free to drastically reduce or even outlaw a procedure that abortion rights groups said is key to women’s equality and independence. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The vote was 6-to-3. The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was the most anticipated of the court’s term, with political tension surrounding the fight over abortion erupting in May with the leak of a draft opinion indicating a majority of justices intended to end the long-standing precedent. The justices were considering a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law had not taken effect because lower courts said it was at odds with the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973 and affirmed by subsequent Supreme Court rulings.