Roe V Wade Overturn

According to a Politico report, a draft opinion suggests that the United States Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the monumental Roe v. Wade court case that legalized abortion nationwide. The decision to overrule Roe v. Wade federally would mean nearly half of the states would immediately ban abortion. At the moment, it is not clear whether the draft represents the final word of the court. It is important to recognize that court opinions often change in big and small ways during the drafting process. 

People critical of the measure have stated that people of a lower income, as well as minority women, will bear the burden of the new restrictions disproportionately. In a statement, President Joe Biden said on May 2nd, 2022 “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,”(Biden) emphasizing that he doesn’t support the draft. Biden said his administration is preparing for all eventualities for when the court ultimately rules and that a decision overturning Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November’s heated midterm elections. Biden continued, “If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said. “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.” Additionally, the Politico report represented an extremely rare breach of the court’s secretive deliberation process, and in a case of surpassing importance.

Assigned the task of writing the court’s majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority – appointed by former President George W. Bush – signed the draft. As Alito wrote in the draft opinion, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after fifteen weeks (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization), the document was labeled a “First Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court.” Before its term ends in late June or early July, the court is expected to rule on the case. In effect, the draft opinion states that there will be no constitutional right to abortion services and in turn would allow individual states to regulate abortion more heavily or outright ban the procedure altogether. Referencing the 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey – “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” Affirming that Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion but allowed states to place constraints on the practice. 

The authenticity of the draft has since been confirmed, and a spokesperson for the Supreme Court had no comment on the matter. In a comment, Politico stated “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.” Strongly suggested in the draft opinion, when the justices shortly met in private after the arguments on the case last year, at least five justices voted to overrule Roe and Casey. However, votes and opinions for the case are not final until a decision is announced or a change has been made, posted on the court’s website. Amid a legislative push to restrict abortion in multiple Republican-led states, Oklahoma being the most recent, even before the court issues its decision. 


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