The fight is underway across America after a draft opinion from Justice Samuel Alito was leaked. It showed that the conservative-dominated Supreme Court might be on the verge of overturning the landmark ruling of Roe v Wade. This ruling made access to safe and legal abortion a constitutional right back in 1973. The Court found that a set of Texas statutes criminalizing abortion in most instances violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.
Norma McCovey (Jane Roe) was the plaintiff in the case against Hanry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. An opinion piece by Justice Harry A Blackmun stated that only a “compelling state interest” justifies regulations limiting “fundamental rights” such as privacy and that legislators must therefore draw statutes narrowly “to express only the legitimate state interests at stake.”
Since then, there have been many challenges to this ruling but to this point, all have come up short of overturning the ruling. But over the past years, the Supreme Court has taken a new shape. The confirmations of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett have given the conservative movement a 6-3 advantage. That advantage has led to much speculation about what changes may lie ahead for America.
The leaked draft opinion has led some to say this was an egregious breach of trust that damages the Court. Chief Justice Roberts called the leak a betrayal and an affront to the Court. This led him to direct the Marshall of the Court to launch an internal investigation into the source of the leak. Unfortunately, this is new ground for the Marshall, and how this proceeds is yet to be determined.
Across America, abortion rights protesters rallied in cities around the United States, vowing to fight to ensure that abortion remains a legal option for women nationwide. People have gathered in cities like Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, and more. They have gathered on the steps of the Supreme Courts in New York, Texas, Nevada, and California to name a few.
Last year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban. This is one of many Republican-led states that have enacted laws or are set to enact laws to limit or eliminate abortion. Some are trying to make laws that will not only restrict abortion, but some want to have laws with no exceptions to rape or incest. “Trigger laws” have been passed in 13 states that would go into effect if Roe v Wade is overturned. Some of these states will add fines, the punishment of jail, and even make it a felony punishable with prison time for assisting in an abortion.
The cries for a woman’s right to be able to choose what to do with her body have begun. The arguments from both sides have some merit but they also have many that oppose those views. Where does the line get drawn as to when a fetus is viable? How do you tell a woman that if she is raped or if the fetus poses a threat to her life, she cannot have an abortion?
There has been the argument that those in power are just trying to control a woman and that laws telling men what to do with their bodies would never be mentioned, much less be put in place.
But the fight is about more than just abortion. If Roe v Wade is overturned, will that lead to more changes in our country as we know them? Will the right go on the offensive to change LGBTQ laws? How about same-sex marriages that have become commonplace?
The Supreme Court will rule sometime this summer on Roe v Wade and that ruling may be the beginning of a wave of changes that could change America for decades to come. One thing is certain, the fight has just begun.
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