Leaked Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn abortion rights

On May 2, Politico, obtained a leaked initial opinion draft written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. calling for the 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark case, that granted women across the United States the right to an abortion, to be overturned. 

In 1973, The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe in a 7-2 decision, stating that the 14 amendment protects women’s rights to have an abortion as a right to privacy. The case has prevented the passing of many strict abortion laws in individual states over the years. If this case is overturned then individual states will have the ability to pass laws restricting or even banning the right to an abortion.

The leaked draft was written for the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Th case focuses on a law in Mississippi that was passed in 2018 called “Gestational Age Act” which prevents women from getting an abortion after 15 weeks’ gestational age. The case challenges this new law citing it as unconstitutional as seen in Roe v. Wade. 

In the draft written on Feb. 10, Alito argues that the constitution doesn’t mention anywhere about abortion or the right to an abortion being protected by the 14 amendment. 

“The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions…,” said Alito. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The draft is not the official decision and is subject to change at any time. The final opinion is expected to be released during summer 2022. 

“I think this would really impact people of color, Indigenous people, and people from rural and low-income communities who don’t have access to health care or preventive measures..,” said Isabela Acosta, the health, sex and body politics educator at Cal Poly Humboldt Women’s Resource Center. “It’s going to create a cycle of poverty and it’s gonna keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich because a rich person can go and get an abortion anywhere but somebody with a low socioeconomic status can’t, they don’t have the means and the access to do that.”

Every year 4.7–13.2% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion procedures according to the World Health Organization. The inability to access safe abortion options puts women in danger as under the table abortions are very high-risk. 

Currently, the U.S Supreme Court has a conservative majority which puts Roe v. Wade in an uneasy position. If it is ultimately overturned then this can possibly create a ripple effect of more issues to come.

*Update: On May 3, Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts said in a statement, “Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

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