The decision, according to a draft leaked in an explosive ‘Politico’ exclusive and marks a radical shift in reproductive rights in the U.S.
The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to end the right to abortion in the country as it has been regulated and constitutionally protected for the last five decades. This is what emerges from the first draft of the High Court’s majority opinion obtained exclusively by ‘Politico’.
The leak points to a turning point in the history of reproductive rights in the U.S., which has immediately caused a political and social earthquake and promises to intensely mark the political life in the U.S., which faces legislative elections in November.
The text to which ‘Politico’ has had access and which it has published in full, with its 98 pages, is from February. Although nothing is definitive until the final opinion is published, and there could be changes in the text or in the votes before that publication, which is expected in the next two months, the forcefulness of the opinion written by Judge Samuel Alito and supported by four other judges of the conservative majority in the nine-member Court points to the seismic shift.
“Roe was clamorously wrong from the start,” Alito writes in a reference to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave U.S. federal constitutional protection to abortion rights. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overturned,” the opinion also reads, alluding to another 1992 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right and, while leaving states more leeway to regulate, still prevented states from banning abortion before the fetus is viable, a time usually set between 22 and 24 weeks gestation.
The opinion, resolving the case that followed the adoption of a draconian Mississippi law banning virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, asserts that “it is time to abide by the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people.” “The Constitution makes no express reference to the right to obtain an abortion,” Alito has also written, asserting that “the inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.”
The Supreme Court would thus leave the regulation of abortion in the hands of the states, which are the ones that could decide whether or not to allow it. At least 13 Republican-controlled states have laws in place that, with a ruling overturning Roe (and not eliminating just some of the protections it offered), would immediately make abortion illegal. Nine others have similar rules blocked by the courts that could be recovered if Roe is overturned, and seven more have laws ready that express the intent to do so. Sixteen progressive states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, have laws protecting abortion rights.
Alito is seconded by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and the three Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. According to ‘Politico’ progressive Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan prepare one or more dissenting opinions. The publication explains that it is unclear what position the Chief Justice of the High Court, conservative John Roberts, will take, but according to CNN his opinion would be to accept the Mississippi law but not to completely overturn Roe.
The impact of the leak is multi-pronged. It advances the political battle around abortion, which was already expected to take center stage heading into the midterms. As recently as Monday night, when several hundred pro-choice people gathered at a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, reactions from Republicans and Democrats confirmed the intensifying standoff.
For conservatives, who have been fighting abortion for decades, and in recent years have enacted increasingly restrictive laws in the states they control, it is a victory.
Democrats, on the other hand, have voiced fierce criticism. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, leaders in both houses of Congress, have issued a statement saying that if the decision is upheld it will remain “an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.” And there is a resurgence of voices calling for the passage of federal legislation protecting abortion rights, but to do so, and given that they do not have the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate, Democrats would first need to end the filibuster. At least one of their senators, Joe Manchin, is fiercely opposed to doing so.
As they always do in these cases, the left-wing political forces dedicate themselves to discredit public institutions that do not submit to their political agenda. If the sentence had been favorable to them, they would say that the Supreme Court had taken a great step in defense of freedom and democracy, and other grandiloquent phrases; but as it has been contrary to them, they disqualify the Supreme Court for being politicized and question its democratic legitimacy. Nothing new under the sun.
Leak in the Supreme Court
The leak, which although it is not the first to come out of the Supreme Court, is the largest, also shakes the reputation of the Supreme Court itself. The spokespersons of the High Court have refused to comment and numerous politicians of both parties and observers have warned of the damage caused by the fact that for the first time a draft has been made public before there is a definitive sentence, a leak that is being debated as to who could have done it and with what interests.