Yesterday evening, a draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, purportedly authored by Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, was leaked to the public. According to the draft, which was published by Politico, a majority of the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
It is imperative to understand that a leaked draft is nothing more than exactly that — a draft. Today, abortion is still legal in the United States and we must continue to defend this right without wavering in our resolve.
But it is also clear that we are at a crisis moment for abortion access. If this draft opinion is formalized and issued in its current form, it will decimate the right to access abortion care in the United States and roll back the fundamental rights of all people in this country. An estimated twenty-six states are poised to move quickly to ban abortion, leaving more than 36 million women of reproductive age — and other people who can become pregnant — without abortion access. Thirteen states have laws already in place to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned.
The draft’s argument is breathtaking in its sweeping dismissiveness of the decision’s impact on pregnant people, and those who might become pregnant, across the country. It discounts and largely ignores the inherent sexism and racism that is embedded into an analysis that could result in forced pregnancies and denying people the ability to make their own decisions about if and when to start a family. While the draft over-simplistically argues that the decision about abortion access “needs to be returned to the people’s representatives,” it would do so by eviscerating a constitutionally protected right that has been in place for decades, and would only add to the politicization of abortion. We should also be clear that overturning Roe v. Wade will not bring an end to the attack on abortion; rather, this is only the next step of a broader agenda by extremist politicians to push for a nationwide total ban on abortion at the federal level that they have wanted all along.
Abortion access has been under attack for decades, and it is not the only one of our fundamental freedoms at risk. Our right to vote, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, and a host of protections are being targeted across the country. Many of these attacks will fall immediately and disproportionately on BIPOC communities who already feel the effects of abortion bans and restrictions. These efforts spring from this country’s legacy of white supremacy and discrimination, a legacy that overturning Roe v. Wade will perpetuate and continue.
The draft also makes clear with stark clarity the devastating impact of the increased politicization of our nation’s courts. This decision undermines the integrity of the Supreme Court and its precedent in favor of an ideological agenda pushed by politicians who have sought to stack the courts with judges willing to put politics before adhering to the rule of law.
The decision of this court, dominated by justices hostile to our freedoms, will not stop people from needing abortion care. No person in this country– regardless of age, race, zip code, income, immigration status or ability– should ever be denied the right to make a personal medical decision. We will keep fighting to ensure that everyone can exercise that most fundamental right.
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About the National Partnership
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.