Supreme Court Wants to Overturn Roe v. Wade, Leaked Opinion Reports

Image via Dee Dwyer

Image via Dee Dwyer

Sophia Paradowski, Staff Writer

 

On May 2nd, 2022, the Supreme Court made history. For the first time since 1981, the draft of a majority opinion was leaked to the public. Every time the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) rules on a case, one of the nine justices is tasked with writing the majority opinion, a document that details why they came to their conclusion. Usually, these essays are released for public viewing after they’ve been looked over, edited, and finalized. The draft by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., however, was not; an unknown whistle-blower sent Politico, a news organization, the piece, and it was published in its unedited state. The decision was not supposed to be released to the public for another month.

 

Not only was this opinion premature, but it centers around an incredibly controversial case, Roe V. Wade. The case ruled that the right to an abortion was protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment (a clause stating all Americans have the right to privacy). For years, the morality of the case’s final decision has been debated and analyzed; some demanding it be overturned and others vehemently protecting it. Abortion, as a whole, is a subject that polarizes most of America.

 

Image via Politico

 

The issue’s sensitivity made it seem as though the three branches would never come to a compromise, but it seems that’s not the case. In the opinion, Justice Alito states that the Supreme Court has decided to overturn Roe V. Wade and allow states to individually regulate abortion based on their own legislation. For example, abortion could be completely illlegal in Oklahoma and simply restricted in California. If this were to become finalized, 26 out of 50 states are likely or certain to ban abortion, according to Guttmacher Institute, which is more than half the country. Obviously, this would be a sizable change in America’s legislation. 

 

Alito’s argument against Roe v. Wade was its “weak” constitutionality. He contended that, because the right to abortion, or any references to abortion at all, are not present in the Consitution, it is not a constitutional freedom. He also cites its lack of substantial evidence and vague definition of viable life as further reason to overturn the case: “Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court [when deciding Roe v. Wade] held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. [The Court] did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the con­stitutionally irrelevant…to the plainly incorrect” (Alito).

Image via Jamie Kelter Davis

 

The public’s reaction has been divided. Pro-choice protesters took to DC almost immediately after the draft was released, and there have been a number of “walk-outs” organized by students in various schools across the country meant to challenge the SCOTUS ruling. On the contrary, Anti-abortion leaders and representatives have condemed the advocates and spoken out against the measures pro-choice citizens have taken. 

 

While it may seem as though this issue is tearing the US in two, Americans can actually agree on more than expected. An article from All Sides reveals, “2021 data from Pew Research Center says that majorities of women (70%) and men (69%) said that they do not want Roe v. Wade completely overturned,” and that, “2018 data from Gallup (Center bias) says that 83% think abortion should be legal in the first trimester when the woman’s life is endangered, and 77% think first-trimester abortions should be legal when the pregnancy is the result of rape.” Similarly, a poll conducted by CBS News reports 52% of Republicans and 76% of Democrates would oppose a federal law outlawing abortion. Further, 80% of people belive abortion should be illegal in the third trimester (All Sides). These statistics indicate more than half the country can agree on most stances concerning abortion, meaning there might be some common ground on a topic many would assume is black or white. 

 

There is no doubt this unanticipated leak has shaken citizens across the country. It has ignited the ongoing debate over abortion rights and triggered protests, petitions, and disagreement. The only thing Americans can do now is wait to see what the Supreme Court does next.