Health & Fitness

Roe v. Wade in Jeopardy

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.Share on Pinterest
Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., early on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images
  • A newly leaked document shows that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade in an upcoming decision.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement saying that the draft is authentic.
  • But he said it does not reflect the final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A leaked document published on Politico Monday shows that the U.S. Supreme Court may be set to overturn Roe v. Wade in their landmark ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this summer.

The document, a draft created in February by Justice Samuel Alito, essentially claims there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

If this draft reflects the court’s final decision, the federal right to a safe, legal abortion will end, and each state will decide on the legality of abortion.

Twenty-six states are poised to immediately enact abortion restrictions the moment Roe falls. This may occur through trigger bans that will be enacted the moment Roe falls and laws from the pre-Roe era that had been nullified by the ruling, there are additional bans that have been put in place after Roe was enacted like the Texas law that bans abortions after 6 weeks. The impact these sweeping restrictions will have on people seeking an abortion will be immense.

Experts point out that by banning a right to abortion it can affect a person’s mental health, physical health, in addition to their families, and livelihoods.

The Court’s final decision on Roe is expected in June.

Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement Tuesday saying that the draft is authentic but that it does not reflect the final decision by the court.

Although the document was an early draft, legal experts believe it shows where the majority stands — and that Roe is likely to fall when the official decision is made.

Roberts called the leak an “egregious breach” of the court’s trust and claimed the court’s final decision would not be influenced by the leak.

“I think he’s right — it is an egregious breach of trust — and it needs to be gotten to the bottom of,” Jared Carter, first amendment expert and professor at Vermont Law School, told Healthline.

An investigation into the leak will launch this week.

Justice Samuel Alito, who crafted the draft, wrote that the right to an abortion is not written in the constitution anywhere — which, Carter says, is a problematic form of analysis — and that the right to an abortion is not part of our country’s histories and traditions.

Alito also pointed out that, historically, states have prohibited abortions in the United States and that Roe, at the federal level, is the outlier. “It created something out of whole cloth, according to Justice Alito’s draft,” Carter said.

Per the draft, states should be able to develop their own rules on access to abortion.

Such a ruling would have huge implications for people seeking abortions across the country. Research has shown that when people are unable to access abortion care, they experience higher rates of poverty, mental illness, and financial instability.

There are 26 states poised to ban or restrict abortion if Roe were to be undone. This includes 13 states that have laws that would immediately ban abortion if Roe falls.

Carter suspects the leaked draft could make states more emboldened to take action.

“What we are likely to see is what we expect to see, and that is…many states doing away with the right, making it virtually impossible for women in that state to get an abortion,” Carter said.

Progressive states, including Vermont and California, are passing constitutional amendments enshrining Roe v. Wade in state constitutions.

Restricting access to abortion care does not mean that people no longer need care.

Pregnant people will have to travel further and jump through more hoops to get care. Wait times at clinics in critical access points will grow.

Many will have to delay how soon they are able to get an abortion, which increases the costs associated with an abortion and put them at risk for health complications.

The day after the document was leaked protests in favor of abortion access popped up across the nation including in San Francisco and New York.

Carter says there is no question that the leak has an impact, but it is unclear if it could affect the final decision or not.

“The institution of the court itself has been shaken, and there’s no way the court can’t react to that,” Carter said.

The leaked document was an early draft, but it does reflect the majority view of the case — that Roe will, most likely, fall.

As many already expected, it is highly likely we will see a reshaping of the constitutional right to abortion.

“It is likely we may see the right disappear entirely at the federal level,” Carter said.

Roe is likely on the ropes, Carter added.

What are the odds that the court may flip its decision and uphold Roe? “I think pretty low,” Carter said.

A leaked document published on Politico Monday shows that the U.S. Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade in the landmark ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this summer.

While the document is an early draft that is expected to undergo revisions, legal experts say it likely reflects what the justices will ultimately decide: that Roe will fall.

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