Not only does today’s Supreme Court decision mark a major regression in social progress, it carves a path for further institutional backslides

The idea that the passing of time results in societal progress seems indisputably logical, especially as it relates to society at large. After all, with each passing moment, the collective resource of knowledge expands. Now, we’re at a point where inherent human rights require little effort to develop baseline understandings of; with hundreds of centuries of human experience to learn from, massive scientific developments, and the growing ease with which we can access information, any form of disrespect of these rights becomes increasingly inexcusable.

Today, such a digression happened with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. With Roe’s protections, 26 states are anticipated to outlaw abortion, meaning millions of people will be unable to safely end unwanted pregnancies in their home state, and will oftentimes be forced to make a decision between having children they don’t have the resources for, risking the consequences of illegally performed abortions, or risking their own wellbeing by taking the termination of their pregnancy into their own hands.

Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, women, poor people, and people of color will disproportionately bear the consequences of this decision, which marks not only a step back, but also carves a path for further regressions—a path that some in power have already eagerly encouraged movement towards. “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, referring to decisions on contraception, gay sex, and same-sex marriage.

“The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation,” liberal justices wrote in their dissent. “They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decision making over the most personal of life decisions.”