Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court Friday, after the court overruled a constitutional right to abortion in America.
MORE: When the U.S. Supreme Court issues an opinion, that opinion becomes the law of the land.
That is the immediate effect of the high court's decision to overturn its 1973 abortion ruling known as Roe v. Wade: the right to have an abortion is no longer constitutionally protected in the United States.
But the controversy is likely to linger, and not only in the court of public opinion.
By leaving it to the states to decide whether to permit abortion, the high court ruling is expected to trigger a fresh wave of legal battles in state courts that could drag on for years.
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