While Met Gala chatter overflowed on social media Monday night, Politico released a drafted Supreme Court opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a ruling to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
That historical ruling established a constitutional right to abortion and protected a woman’s reproductive rights. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called it “a dark and disturbing morning for America” in the wake of the Supreme Court draft news, says Politico, but what does this immediately mean for abortion rights?
How Did A Supreme Court Draft Shooting Down Abortion Rights Leak?
If you think a draft of a Supreme court ruling leaking sounds unusual, you’re right. A leak of this kind of draft, which usually circulates privately and is subject to editing before a ruling, is unprecedented.
Politico said the draft was written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated in February. This was about two months after oral arguments over the December case. Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices. That line-up remains unchanged as of this week.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely–the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Does This Draft Mean Abortion Will Be Illegal?
Right away, no. The Supreme Court is expected to decide on this case in about two months. However, abortion-rights activists have been fretting that the court was leaning towards this decision. This factor is why activists are regarding the reporting by Politico so seriously.
Suppose the Supreme Court approves Alito’s draft opinion. In that case, it will rule in favor of the closely watched case in Mississippi. The state attempts to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy per news outlets. Under current law, the government cannot interfere with a women’s choice to terminate a pregnancy before about 23 weeks, when a fetus could live outside the womb.
Overturns Roe v. Wade would also mean states would be free to make abortion illegal. Nearly half of the states in the U.S. already have laws in place that would take effect immediately upon the Supreme Court ruling. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research and policy organization, sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have passed laws explicitly protecting abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Roomies, what are your thoughts on this historical Supreme Court draft leak?