The Threat Towards Abortion Rights

The threat of Roe v Wade being overturned has never been higher, leaked Supreme Court draft reveals


Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The name “Jane Roe” was a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, where she is seen on the steps of the Supreme Court with her lawyer Gloria Allred, in 1989.

In 2020, many people rallied against Louisiana’s law decimating access to abortion access at the U.S. Supreme Court, reflecting the United State’s past on abortion laws.

On May 2nd, the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to Politico, who obtained an initial draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito. Roe v. Wade is the 1973 court decision that ruled restrictive state regulation of abortion as unconstitutional. Alito writes in the draft, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” and, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

The final ruling has not been published though, meaning that the Justices could change their votes as draft opinions circulate. Previously, there have been changes in votes just days before a decision is revealed. This was drafted in February, and it is unclear if there have been changes to it since then.

Samuel Alito, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who voted against Roe v Wade, in the recent draft leak, met with Republican Senator Richard Burr, in 2005 when Alito was nominated.

Along with Justice Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett had all voted in alliance with Alito in the conference in December. The three Democratic-appointed justices, who are Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, have been developing a counter to the Republican vote, according to Politico. The Senate is set to vote on advancing a Democratic-led bill ensuring protections for legal abortions. Though the vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act only has 49 senators expected to support it, which is below the 60 vote requirement to defeat a Republican filibuster. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the only one of the 50 Democratic senators to oppose the bill, according to NBC News. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., a Democrat with conservative views on abortion rights, said he would vote yes to advance debate on Women’s Health Protection Act. In a statement to New York Times, Casey said, “In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision draft overturning Roe v Wade, and subsequent reports that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate will introduce legislation to enact a nationwide six-week ban, the real question of the moment is: do you support a categorical ban on abortion?

Despite Senator Robert P. Casey Jr being a Democrat who has been known for his right-wing views on abortion rights, Casey has recently expressed how he is standing against the Supreme Court’s potential overturning of Roe v Wade.

During my time in public office, I have never voted for–nor do I support–such a ban.” Though as of May 11th, the vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed in the Senate.

In response to the Women’s Health Protection Act failing in the Senate, President Joe Biden lashed out at the Republicans in the Senate in a statement released by the White House, “Once again–as fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court–Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that affirmatively protects access to reproductive health care. This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack–and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people.” Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the Senate’s failure to address the issue of overturning Roe v Wade, as well. In regards to the Senate, Harris told ABC News, “Sadly, the Senate failed to stand in defense of a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. And let’s be clear: The majority of the American people believe in defending a woman’s right to choice, to decide what happens to her own body, and this vote clearly suggests that the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on this issue.”

The clinic is a place where you can go for all of your health issues as a high schooler, which may be restricted in the future based on the Supreme Court ruling, if abortion is mentioned.

Along with the potential ban on abortions, could bring bans on contraceptives. Many conservative states and lawmakers have been quick to state that they were planning to ban certain types of contraception. Louisiana, if the Supreme Court decision is passed, has stated that they would classify abortion as a homicide. Methods such as Plan B, IUDs, and more, would have the possibility of being restricted, Cathren Cohen, a scholar at UCLA Law Center, told NBC News. In Tennessee, Senator Marsha Blackburn denounced Griswold v Connecticut, which expanded access to contraception for unmarried people.

In response to the threat to Roe v Wade, abortion rights activists have been working to provide access to those in need, such as spreading the word about abortion pills and working in support of traveling to states where it will be legal to perform an abortion. States in support of Roe, such as Washington, New York, and California, have been preparing to help people from all states seeking for a safe abortion.

Though this draft doesn’t represent a final decision in this case, the vote is still up in the air.