Leaked Supreme Court Document Shows US Abortion Rights in Jeopardy

Published May 5th, 2022 - 08:22 GMT
Leaked Supreme Court Document Shows US Abortion Rights in Jeopardy
MoveOn and Abortion Access activists rally outside the Supreme Court of the United States to demand keep the #BansOffOurBodies on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MoveOn/AFP

A leaked Supreme Court opinion draft showing that the highest court in the United States is primed to overturn the right to abortion has sparked demonstrations across the country and sent pro-abortion politicians into a frenzy.

The opinion draft written by Justice Samuel Alito, which was obtained by the news organization Politico and published on May 2, notes that a majority of Supreme Court justices are in favor of overturning the federal right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade is the name of the lawsuit that led the Supreme Court in 1973 to establish a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The court ruled that a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of her pregnancy must be left to her and her doctor, and that the decision is legally protected by the U.S. Constitution as a right to privacy.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade it would eliminate legal protections and allow individual states in the U.S. to ban and or further restrict abortions.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference, “If Roe were to fall, abortion would probably be illegal in about half the states in the country, up to 26 states, particularly in the South, the Midwest and West.”

She added that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, “trigger” laws in 13 states would immediately take effect and put abortion bans in place. “As a result of all of this, tens of millions of women may lack access to reproductive healthcare services as soon as this summer,” Psaki said.

Without the legal protections established in Roe v. Wade some states with such trigger laws would outlaw abortions entirely, making no exceptions even in cases of rape or incest.

Thousands of people gather in Foley Square in Manhattan to show their support for abortion rights in America on May 03, 2022 in New York City. A leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito has suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a historic ruling that gives women in America the ability to legally have abortions. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP 

 

And while the leaked Supreme Court opinion draft does not mean it is guaranteed that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, it is an indicator that a majority of the Supreme Court’s justices, at least five out of nine, will vote in coming months to overturn abortion rights.

United States President Joe Biden released a statement on May 3 addressing the leaked document.

“My administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on ‘a long line of precedent recognizing the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty … against government interference with intensely personal decisions,’” he said.

Biden added that, “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”

In addition to sparking outrage from left-leaning political leaders and everyday people throughout the United States, the leaking of the opinion draft – a major breach in Supreme Court protocol – also outraged many on the political right who accused Democrats of orchestrating the leak.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the leaked opinion draft is authentic but not final, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has ordered an investigation into the leak.

 


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