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US Supreme Court’s Abortion Rule And The Game Of Political Power

US Supreme Court’s Abortion Rule And The Game Of Political Power

US Supreme Court's Abortion Rule And The Game Of Political Power

The nation is on edge as we await the decision of the US Supreme Court on overturning the momentous Roe v. Wade ruling that pregnant women have the right to abortion with excessive government restrictions. The landmark decision gave power to a woman over her own body and the right to choose her own future.

Per Politico, Justice Samuel Alito has written an initial draft majority opinion that has been circulating in the court that finds the Roe v. Wade decision unconstitutional. In a document labeled “Opinion of the Court,” Alito wrote  “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start…We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” The news has leaked to the public and created quite the stir while we wait to hear a final decision on whether this will be confirmed.

Justice Clarence Thomas and all three of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the court, which includes Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, along with Alito voted to overturn the precedent. The leak was an extreme breach of court protocol. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that he is opening an investigation into how this document was leaked to the public. President Joe Biden stated it would be a “radical decision” if the Supreme Court followed through with the decision and the landmark case legalizing abortion was overturned. Activists have already hit the streets to march and protest the news.

A little historical context for you all…

Roe v. Wade is a 1973 case that resulted in the US Supreme Court decision that the constitution protected a pregnant woman’s right to choose if she wanted an abortion without excessive government restrictions. Doe v. Bolton was another 1973 US Supreme Court case that ruled the Georgia laws regulating abortion were unconstitutional as they violated the right to privacy implicitly stated in the Fourteenth Amendment. Georgia abortion laws required women to obtain approval from personal physicians, two consulting physicians, and from a committee at the admitting hospital. As if that wasn’t tedious enough, only specific cases were permitted to receive abortions such as women who were raped, whose lives may be in danger from the pregnancy, or those whose fetuses were likely to be permanently malformed. The 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision amended Pennsylvania laws that required informed consent and a 24-hour wait period prior to the procedure. The laws also required a minor to obtain the consent of one parent and a married woman had to indicate she notified her husband about the intent to abort. These changes allowed for expecting mothers to have their choice protected and remain private.

Coincidentally, or perhaps conveniently, The draft was leaked ahead of a Mississippi ruling that bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, this would bring into question whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional. Just a day after the leak, Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt signed the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act which prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The act is modeled after the bill passed in Texas last year which bans abortions after the fetal cardiac activity is detected and it requires enforcement from civilians rather than government officials. Stitt has openly stated that he would sign any anti-abortion laws that come his way.

What are the consequences?

If this draft is finalized it will lead to a shift in American politics and law. If overturned, states that do not protect safe abortions may see an influx of women crossing state borders to have an abortion. There may be a rise in many more dangerous methods of black market abortions or home remedies that increases the risk for the mother. And as usual, this will hurt communities of color at a much larger rate as there are high rates of abortion in Hispanic and Black communities and higher rates of poverty. It is also a method of keeping those in poverty remain in poverty.

Per the NY Times, the typical patient having an abortion is poor, unmarried, in their late 20s generally with some college education, and usually has children already. These women, as well as some transgender and nonbinary individuals who can become pregnant, are usually early in their pregnancy and want to focus on being a better parent to the children they already have rather than bring home another child. The people who want to legislate abortion and regulate the matter say that they are pro-life. But they only talk about the life of the baby before it’s born, and not about the life of the baby after it’s born.

 The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights, reported that 25% of women will have an abortion by the end of their childbearing years. However, the amount of people having abortions has dropped significantly in the past 30 years due to effective contraceptives and less unprotected sex among teenagers so fewer unwanted or unintended pregnancies. Per the Guttmacher Institute, more than 20 states could restrict or ban abortions after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Some states such as Colorado and New Jersey are stepping up to the plate and passing laws that support people from other states who have restricted abortion laws.

A woman’s right to her body, equality, and privacy, all these fundamental rights will be mere namesakes as the concept of abortions in America becomes a political power game.

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