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Supreme Court opinion leaked in abortion rights battle; Here’s what it says

This map by the Guttmacher Institute shows states that are certain or lilkely to have active...
This map by the Guttmacher Institute shows states that are certain or lilkely to have active abortion bans if Roe v. Wade is overturned.(Guttmacher Institute)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 12:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 2:19 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Roe. v. Wade has been the law of the land for decades. The U.S. Supreme Court case and the court’s decision gave women in America access to abortion as a constitutional right in 1973.

Since then, the issue has been debated across the country, particularly in recent years as opponents of abortion have made it harder for women to get an abortion by restricting access. Roe v. Wade expressly protects a pregnant person’s right to choose to have an abortion. But now, it’s under review by a supermajority conservative Supreme Court, and reports suggest it could be struck down.

A draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion indicates that the high court is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade with a 6-3 vote. The opinion was drafted earlier this year and was somehow leaked by an unknown person. News outlet Politico obtained the draft and published it on Monday. It shows the court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document, which said this:

(You can read the full document below.)

Opinion of the Court Roe v. Wade draft item 2
Opinion of the Court Roe v. Wade draft item 2(SOURCE: Politico)
Opinion of the Court Roe v. Wade draft item 1
Opinion of the Court Roe v. Wade draft item 1(SOURCE: Politico)

A link to the full document is below the poll.

At the center of the pending case is a 2018 Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi’s attorney general directly asked the court to not only uphold the law but overturn Roe v. Wade, saying states should have more power over abortion access. Now, the Supreme Court has allowed a Texas law banning abortions at six weeks to stay in place until the lawsuit is resolved. Officially, we won’t know the outcome until the summer and the draft could change.

Louisiana would be one of the states also affected by the court overturning Roe v. Wade.

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Click here to read the full Supreme Court draft document uploaded by Politico to Document Cloud.

While Roe v. Wade made abortion constitutionally protected in the United States, the procedure had long been legal and practiced in the U.S. and the New England colonies from approximately 1600 - 1900. An article published at the National Library of Medicine goes in-depth about the history of the procedure:

“During the colonial period, the legality of abortion varied from colony to colony and reflected the attitude of the European country which controlled the specific colony. In the British colonies abortions were legal if they were performed prior to quickening. In the French colonies abortions were frequently performed despite the fact that they were considered to be illegal. In the Spanish and Portuguese colonies abortion was illegal. From 1776 until the mid-1800s abortion was viewed as socially unacceptable; however, abortions were not illegal in most states. During the 1860s a number of states passed anti-abortion laws. Most of these laws were ambiguous and difficult to enforce. After 1860 stronger anti-abortion laws were passed and these laws were more vigorously enforced. As a result, many women began to utilize illegal underground abortion services. Although abortion was legalized in 1970, many women are still forced to obtain illegal abortion or to perform self-abortions due to the economic constraints imposed by the Hyde Amendment and the unavailability of services in many areas.”

Further, it says:

“Throughout the colonial period and during the early years of the republic, the abortion situation for slave women was different than for other women. Slaves were subject to the rules of their owners, and the owners refused to allow their slaves to terminate pregnancies. The owners wanted their slaves to produce as many children as possible since these children belonged to the slave owners. This situation persisted until the end of the slavery era.”

While Chief Justice Roberts did confirm the authenticity of the documents, it doesn’t mean that’s what will be in the final version. Meanwhile, Justice Roberts is seeking an investigation into the leak.

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