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Reproductive rights of American women in jeopardy?

A leaked draft of a majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito indicates that a majority of the justices could be inclined to strike down Roe vs. Wade

Sabrangindia 04 May 2022

abortion rights
Image Courtesy:healthline.com

On May 2, an exclusive report by Politico revealed that the US Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe vs. Wade, a historic case that had granted reproductive freedom to women, particularly with respect to abortion rights. Politico published a leaked initial draft of the court’s majority opinion that showed how a majority of the court’s justices were against the decision in the landmark 1973 case and also a subsequent decision in 1992 in the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey case.

Politico published the initial draft where the majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito writes, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and in the document labeled as Opinion of the Court says, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

A Conservative majority?

At present the Supreme Court has nine justices. While Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are seen as conservative and had reported with fellow conservative Alito, the justices with more liberal views (all Democratic appointees), namely Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are reportedly penning dissenting opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts's opinion on the matter is not known. However, he has ordered an inquiry into the leak.

It is noteworthy that in the US, Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President and their appointments are for life. Barrett, Cavanaugh and Gorsuch are Trump appointees. It is also alleged that Cavanaugh and Gorsuch may have misrepresented their stand on Roe vs Wade in order to get appointed.

Legislative push against choice?

Abortion laws differ from state to state in the US, and conservative states make it almost impossible for women to get safe abortions, forcing many to seek out quacks and unsafe back-alley clinics. Some states like Mississippi are inclined to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy or less than four months.

There are also conservative groups that have been lobbying to ban abortions in cases a heartbeat is detected, which happens between 5 to 6 weeks of gestation. Given how most pregnancies are not detected that early, the proposal by these conservative groups virtually bans abortions outright. This is why the Texas abortion law was deemed controversial.

In fact, shortly after the leaked document’s contents became public, Oklahoma banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Peaceful protests across the US

The revelation by Politico has sent shockwaves across the United States with women’s rights groups and activists highlighting how overruling these two landmark judgments would set women’s reproductive freedoms back and ultimately endanger their lives.

“Let's be clear: This is a draft opinion. It’s outrageous, it’s unprecedented, but it is not final. Abortion is your right — and it is STILL LEGAL,” tweeted Planned Parenthood, the organization that has been at the forefront of ensuring women have access to safe birth control measures including safe abortions.

 

 

 

Many also pointed out how maternal mortality rates were higher among women of colour, particularly black women, showcasing how reduced access to safe abortions could impact black women the most.

Peaceful protests were organised in different cities, where women got together to demand their rights, stating unequivocally that safe abortions were a part of healthcare for women.

 

 

 

President and Vice President stand by women’s rights

The outrage even led to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issuing statements in support of women’s rights.

Taking to Twitter President Biden said, “The draft opinion calls into question the fundamental right to privacy — the right to make personal choices about marriage, whether to have children, and how to raise them. These are fundamental rights for Americans — a critical part of who we are.”

 

“The rights of all Americans are at risk in this draft opinion. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life,” tweeted Harris, adding, “This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have.”

 

Meanwhile, some states, predictably those that are led by Democrats, are working to ensure women’s reproductive rights are not violated. “California will not stand by as women across America are stripped of their rights,” tweeted the Office of the Governor of California.

 

There are now increasing concerns about how the filibuster that is being used to target women’s reproductive rights, could now be used to target other key landmark judgments pertaining to affirmative action, same-sex marriage etc. In fact, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have urged that the country rethinks the filibuster altogether:

 

Related:

Allegation of rape need not be proved to allow abortion of fetus under MTP Act: MP HC
Who will decide how many children an Indian woman should bear?
Parliament passes Bill to extend abortion deadline to 24 weeks

Reproductive rights of American women in jeopardy?

A leaked draft of a majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito indicates that a majority of the justices could be inclined to strike down Roe vs. Wade

abortion rights
Image Courtesy:healthline.com

On May 2, an exclusive report by Politico revealed that the US Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe vs. Wade, a historic case that had granted reproductive freedom to women, particularly with respect to abortion rights. Politico published a leaked initial draft of the court’s majority opinion that showed how a majority of the court’s justices were against the decision in the landmark 1973 case and also a subsequent decision in 1992 in the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey case.

Politico published the initial draft where the majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito writes, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and in the document labeled as Opinion of the Court says, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

A Conservative majority?

At present the Supreme Court has nine justices. While Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are seen as conservative and had reported with fellow conservative Alito, the justices with more liberal views (all Democratic appointees), namely Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are reportedly penning dissenting opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts's opinion on the matter is not known. However, he has ordered an inquiry into the leak.

It is noteworthy that in the US, Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President and their appointments are for life. Barrett, Cavanaugh and Gorsuch are Trump appointees. It is also alleged that Cavanaugh and Gorsuch may have misrepresented their stand on Roe vs Wade in order to get appointed.

Legislative push against choice?

Abortion laws differ from state to state in the US, and conservative states make it almost impossible for women to get safe abortions, forcing many to seek out quacks and unsafe back-alley clinics. Some states like Mississippi are inclined to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy or less than four months.

There are also conservative groups that have been lobbying to ban abortions in cases a heartbeat is detected, which happens between 5 to 6 weeks of gestation. Given how most pregnancies are not detected that early, the proposal by these conservative groups virtually bans abortions outright. This is why the Texas abortion law was deemed controversial.

In fact, shortly after the leaked document’s contents became public, Oklahoma banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Peaceful protests across the US

The revelation by Politico has sent shockwaves across the United States with women’s rights groups and activists highlighting how overruling these two landmark judgments would set women’s reproductive freedoms back and ultimately endanger their lives.

“Let's be clear: This is a draft opinion. It’s outrageous, it’s unprecedented, but it is not final. Abortion is your right — and it is STILL LEGAL,” tweeted Planned Parenthood, the organization that has been at the forefront of ensuring women have access to safe birth control measures including safe abortions.

 

 

 

Many also pointed out how maternal mortality rates were higher among women of colour, particularly black women, showcasing how reduced access to safe abortions could impact black women the most.

Peaceful protests were organised in different cities, where women got together to demand their rights, stating unequivocally that safe abortions were a part of healthcare for women.

 

 

 

President and Vice President stand by women’s rights

The outrage even led to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issuing statements in support of women’s rights.

Taking to Twitter President Biden said, “The draft opinion calls into question the fundamental right to privacy — the right to make personal choices about marriage, whether to have children, and how to raise them. These are fundamental rights for Americans — a critical part of who we are.”

 

“The rights of all Americans are at risk in this draft opinion. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life,” tweeted Harris, adding, “This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have.”

 

Meanwhile, some states, predictably those that are led by Democrats, are working to ensure women’s reproductive rights are not violated. “California will not stand by as women across America are stripped of their rights,” tweeted the Office of the Governor of California.

 

There are now increasing concerns about how the filibuster that is being used to target women’s reproductive rights, could now be used to target other key landmark judgments pertaining to affirmative action, same-sex marriage etc. In fact, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have urged that the country rethinks the filibuster altogether:

 

Related:

Allegation of rape need not be proved to allow abortion of fetus under MTP Act: MP HC
Who will decide how many children an Indian woman should bear?
Parliament passes Bill to extend abortion deadline to 24 weeks

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