A huge legal and political controversy broke out in the US couple weeks ago centering a leaked draft opinion showing the United States Supreme Court’s conservative majority is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access nationwide.
- What is Roe V. Wade?
Roe v. Wade refers to the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without any government restriction. This decision involved the case of Norma McCorvey—known by the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe”—who in 1969 became pregnant with her third child. McCorvey wanted an abortion but lived in Texas, where abortion was illegal except when necessary to save the mother’s life. Therefore, her attorneys, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in U.S. federal court against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas’s abortion laws were unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the U.S. The District Court for the Northern District of Texas heard the case and ruled in her favor.
- The effect of Supreme Court’s Decision
The abortion tussle has sharply split opinion among conservatives and liberals in the US for decades. And now the most important question is, will the court confirm Justice Alito’s first draft opinion and overturn Roe? The world awaits for the answer.
Depending on the Court’s final judgment, legal abortion access could “effectively end for those living in much of the American South and Midwest, especially those who are poor”, a reporter said.
- What If Roe V. Wade Is Overturned?
“Since there is no federal law protecting the right to abortion in the US, the overturning of Roe would leave abortion laws entirely up to the states. Conservative states could bring back restrictive laws that prohibited abortions before the Supreme Court set the foetal viability standard in 1973.” Said by a reporter recently.
The New York Times estimated that, “legislatures in 22 states would almost certainly move to ban or substantially restrict access to abortion, and poorer women would bear the brunt in most cases.” Moreover, without the protection of Roe v. Wade, the number of legal abortions in the US could possibly fall by at least 14%. The availability of clinics, insurance payouts, are some of the crucial issues that many women struggle with the backing of Roe and If this legal backing goes, access could become even harder.
In the draft opinion Alito has rejected Roe as “egregiously wrong from the start”, that women have the right to terminate pregnancies up to the point of fetal viability — “must be overruled”. He then added, ““The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”
Several activists around the country along with numerous common people has started protesting against Alito’s draft in the favour of overturning Roe v. Wade. According to the majority opinion quoted by Politico, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives”.
- Staff Reporter