Is this still about human rights?

Leaked draft that may spell the end for Roe v. Wade


(Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Demonstrators assemble near the Supreme Court on May 3

On May 2, 2022, the general public was subject to information that may change the way people with uteri are treated in America. A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court written by Justice Samuel Alito obtained by POLITICO leaves people in disarray and in protest at state Capitols. Those who are able to get pregnant may now have to live in fear that their bodies could be policed on the basis of protecting an unborn fetus. 

Roe v. Wade was a decision made by the Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, however, overturned the Roe trimester framework in favor of a viability analysis stating that while a pregnant person is free to get an abortion the states may apply restrictions during the first trimester. 

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in the draft. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

The leaked draft opinion reflects the Court’s opinion to overrule Roe v. Wade as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This  means that it would no longer be a constitutional right to get an abortion and the states will be able to decide what laws they want to impose on abortions. Currently, thirteen states, including Texas,  have passed ‘trigger laws’ designed to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. This is  similar to the ‘heartbeat’ bill which bans abortions as early as six weeks gestation. This will overturn 50 years of precedent protecting reproductive health access for people with uteri. 

“This is going to be an unprecedented earthquake in American life,” Amelia Bonow, founder of the Seattle-based national abortion access group, Shout Your Abortion, asserted. 

This draft opinion does not solely affect people with uteri, this may affect nearly everyone’s right to privacy. 

“It would mean that every other decision related to the notion of privacy is thrown into question,” President Joe Biden stated. 

Referring to the decision in Griswold v. Connecticut which determined that the right to privacy prevents states from making the use of contraceptives by married couples illegal. As Roe v. Wade is affirmed under the 14th amendment, also used to strike down state legislation that restricts personal liberties and interests not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, like the right to privacy. If this is overturned then the use of contraceptives, interracial marriages, and the right of adults to engage in consensual sexual activity, which were all protected under due process, are now subject to question. 

Additionally, there is talk from President Biden as well as the Senate to codify Roe v. Wade. Codifying means arranging laws or rules into a systemic code, codifying Roe v. Wade means passing either a state or federal law that would affirm abortion rights. After the leak, Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to codify abortion rights. 

For now, all that has happened is the leaked draft of opinion, while their opinions may or may not change, the ruling is expected in late June or early July. Many people have already taken to the streets in protest for and against the cause. This begs the question of whether or not the law is protecting unborn fetuses or if it is just used to control others’ bodies. What we can do now is to vote whether pro-life or pro-choice voting needs to take place in order for anyone to be adequately heard.