Supreme Court leak shows Roe v. Wade likely to be overturned


Photo courtesy of Victoria Pickering (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Protesters gathered outside of the Supreme Court on May 3 after the leaked draft revealed majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade.

An initial majority draft concerning the overturn of Roe v. Wade from the Supreme Court was leaked in a Politico report late on May 2. Never before in modern history has a Supreme Court decision come out as a leak. Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, stated that a women’s right to an abortion was protected by the United States Constitution. Written by Justice Samuel Alito, the leaked draft stated that Roe v. Wade will most likely be overturned come this June. Should this happen, the decision of whether or not to outlaw abortion would fall to each state individually, with no federal precedent. From a functional standpointnothing is likely to change in New Jersey in terms of abortion access and restrictions. However, 26 states have abortion laws on the books or on the way that would most likely come into play if Roe v. Wade is overturned. These laws could outlaw abortion with no exceptions.

People opposed to the overturn are also worried that overturning Roe v. Wade could have consequences past criminializing abortion. Because the basis of the case and the overturn is “right to privacy” and it is an unenumerated right in the Constitution, critics worry about what will happen with other cases that also concern the right to privacy. Many are worried that the logic used to overturn Roe v. Wade could be used to bring many other cases to court such as Obergefell v. Hodges (the case that legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level). Legal experts are divided as to whether this anxiety is warranted.

Although this is a draft opinion, it is unlikely that any of the justices will change their decisions significantly. Wherever people fall on the political spectrum or whatever their particular opinion on abortion, the Supreme Court’s pending decision, expected in late June, is poised to change the future of abortion rights in America.

Photo Credit: “Rally after the leaked Supreme Court opinion” by Victoria Pickering is licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)