US Supreme Court set to overturn historic Roe v Wade abortion ruling

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warns that gay marriage and civil rights may be targetted next by the Supreme Court.

A sign reading 'OUR FUTURE OUR FIGHT OUR BODIES' held at Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest.
Image: Twitter: @_anthonypeltier

On Monday night, May 2, a leaked document revealed that the United States Supreme Court has allegedly voted to overturn the historic Roe v Wade ruling, thus retracting abortion rights in the country. The draft opinion exposing the information was published first by Politico and stated that a majority on the nine-member court backed the decision.

The result of the 1973 legal battle Roe v Wade granted abortion rights to women in the US through the first trimester of pregnancy. Plaintiff Jane Roe, or Norma McCorvey as it was later disclosed, was unmarried and pregnant, and unable to get an abortion under Texas law at the time, and the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favour of her, and in favour of women’s rights. In another case in 1992, Planned Parenthood v Casey, the court further ruled that states are prohibited to impose significant obstacles on abortion before foetal viability.

However, according to the 90-page document labelled ‘Opinion of the Court’ published yesterday, these rulings are set to be overturned. Justice Samuel Alito who penned the initial draft opinion which was reportedly circulated throughout the court, wrote: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

He also stated that it was time “to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The draft opinion was dated February 10, 2022, and it must be noted that some details may have changed since then. It was drawn up following a case heard late last year regarding a challenge to abortion restrictions introduced in Mississippi, the ruling for which is expected in June or July.

The decision to overturn Roe v Wade will not be final until published by the court. The immediate impact should it come to fruition would be to end a 50-year guarantee of constitutional protection of abortion rights in the country, and it would allow each state to create its own legislation on the matter.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to the leak, warning that gay marriage and civil rights may be next to be targetted by the Supreme Court. She published a series of tweets on the matter, one of which reads: “SCOTUS isn’t just coming for abortion – they’re coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights.”

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton remarked: “This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights and lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace.”

US Senator Bernie Sanders also weighed in, tweeting: “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW.”

Protests and demonstrations from both anti-abortion and pro-choice campaigners have already broken out following the publication of the draft opinion, and the Supreme Court has yet to comment.

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