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The Supreme Court, Leaks, and the Calamity of Abortion Rights: A Circus in the Making
Should the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) draft opinion stand, the overturning of Roe v. Wade would be an unprecedented blow to pro-choicers and abortion-rights activists across the United States. In addition to what is considered to be the first major SCOTUS opinion ever leaked – which is a serious problem in and of itself – overturning the 1973 case would leave organizations like Planned Parenthood and the nation’s left aisle scrambling to come up with some semblance of a solution.
As you may have seen on social media, the masses have come up with conclusions that involve women going to London for the weekend to receive an abortion, that this is a plot by men to control women’s bodies, or that perhaps we will have a kumbaya all over the country as a united nation. Well, the Rabbit Hole is more concerned about what would actually happen if Roe was to be overturned, and not so much about the semantics.
So if the draft decision stands what would be the next step? What we believe is that abortion rights would be left up to the states. Blue states such as California and New York would continue to provide access to abortion and most likely increase it over time. Many blue states are considering or are in the process of passing laws that would see an increase in abortion access. This increase would not only apply to in-state residents, but to out-of-state residents as well. Conservative states, as expected, may impose restrictions on abortion for medical emergencies, or outright ban it completely. However, what is clear is that access to abortion will be left up to the states, “…and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives”, as stated by Justice Samuel Alito on page 65 of the draft opinion. The idea that women becoming masters to the patriarchy or having all rights stripped from them are, to say it quite bluntly, idiotic and stated solely for the purpose to cause fear and action.
The topic of abortion will be a major player in this year’s midterm elections in November. Many on the left have advocated for Roe v. Wade to be codified in law. The House has passed the Women’s Health Protection Act which would guarantee the right for all women to receive an abortion. But the Democrats have failed for over a decade to enact it, even with complete control of the legislative and executive branches. Former President Barack Obama failed to pass a similar law through a Democrat-controlled Congress in the late 2000s as it wasn’t a “legislative priority.” And with a 50-50 split in the Senate right now the chances of guaranteeing abortion as a right is a monumental challenege for Democrats.
One thing that is extremely worrisome is why we know the current stance of SCOTUS: the opinion leak. Chief Justice John Roberts has recently verified the authenticity of the draft opinion, but made clear that this was not the final decision. Hesitancy to double-down on decisions after seeing the public’s response could potentially lead to Justices’ changing their opinions. The 5-4 majority of overturning Roe could easily be reversed the other way around. Doing so may result in further lawsuits about the validity of the decision. While the left has worried about women’s rights being taken away en masse, the right has seemed to be more concerned with who leaked the opinion. Several right-leaning commentators, such as Benny Johnson or Operation Rescue, have pointed in the directions of several justices of who they think the leak originated from. The fact of the matter is that no one knows who leaked this or why, and to point fingers at random people is to conduct the Salem Witch Trials all over again.
Justice Alito stated that this ruling will not solve the abortion debate once and for all. We will continue to see abortion arguments long after the midterms are over this November. The ad hominem attacks will continue, the mental gymnastics to relate pro-lifers to white supremacy will not stop, and celebrities like Bette Midler will continue to encourage no sex with men until women get the right to choose. Once again, if you are in the pro-choice or pro-life camp it is premature at this point in time to assume that the draft opinion is final. Until it is published and declared officially, nothing is concretized in law. The worst thing everyone can do is panic – and acting while panicked never leads to good outcomes.