Controversy Strikes Over a Supreme Court Leak


Photo courtesy of Malcolm Murdoch for Creative Commons

Photo from the Women’s March on Washington D.C. Taken Jan. 21, 2017.

Kylie Mayo, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Roe v Wade is the court case that ruled, “the protection of pregnant people to have the choice of abortion without government restrictions” on January 22, 1973. 

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion going around about the end of a women’s right to choose to have an abortion since a draft of an oral argument, written by Justice Samuel Alito, about possibly overturning the decision, was leaked to the press.

The case first started back in 1970 when a woman who was under the name of Jane Roe to protect her identity, went against the Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade, which was the authoritative figure in charge of enforcing the law that prohibited abortion. 

Although the restrictions on abortion had been lifted in other states, it had been outlawed in the state of Texas unless the mother’s life is at stake.

The argument was that the abortion law in Texas violated the constitutional right to personal privacy. 

With a 7-2 rule by the sitting Supreme Court at that time, it was determined that, “In the first trimester of pregnancy, the state may not regulate the abortion decision; only the pregnant woman and her attending physician can make that decision. In the second trimester, the state may impose regulations on abortion that are reasonably related to maternal health. In the third trimester, once the fetus reaches the point of “viability,” a state may regulate abortions or prohibit them entirely, so long as the laws contain exceptions for cases when abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.” 

After Roe v Wade was settled, another case in 1992, Planned Parenthood v Casey, challenged abortion laws in Pennsylvania. 

Governor Robert Casey had wanted to add more laws that made getting an abortion in Pennsylvania a lot more complicated. These laws included getting parental consent (for minors), notifying the husband (if married), and receiving clinical information prior to the 24-hour waiting period before the procedure could take place.

The Roe v Wade ruling was asserted in this case, however, the Court did uphold the specifications made by Casey except for the notice to the husband’s condition. 

Around the afternoon of May 2, 2022, a news organization reported a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Roe v Wade decision. 

The next day on May 3, the Supreme Court released a statement referring to the leaked draft which had confirmed that it was legitimate however, “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” said the statement.

This draft is a part of the pending case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization that has been said to occur in the 2022 summer. 

Although there is no confirmation on any decision regarding this situation, many questions have been raised concerning the meaning of what would happen if the final verdict was to overturn the Roe v Wade ruling. 

Abortion would not be banned in all 50 states for starters. 

Many states that tend to be liberal, including California, have placed their own legislation giving the right to abortion to any pregnant person who lives in these certain states or can afford to travel there for the procedure. 

However, those who live in the more conservative states, like Texas, that would immediately place an abortion ban once they have the opportunity to and may not have enough funds to travel to other states would have a much harder time being able to get the procedure done. 

There is also the possibility of Congress authorizing abortion rights if there is public support for it

The pro-choice side argues that the decision should not be overturned due to the fact that this legal precedent has been taking place for almost 50 years. Many advocates have started protests since they feel strongly that the government should not be placing bans on pregnant bodies, therefore should continuously be allowed to have a choice on whether or not to have an abortion that is safe and legal.

On the opposite side, pro-life advocates were pleased to hear of the possibility of overturning the Roe decision. They support the ban on abortion and believe pregnant people should continue their pregnancy regardless of the circumstances. Many pro-life defenders have joined the pro-choice protests in counter-response. 

Senior Leslie Ochoa supports pro-life because she believes, “everyone deserves the opportunity to live life and I do not support the murder of the innocent.” She has voiced her support on social media to advocate for pro-life. 

Ochoa said, “To the people who support the opposite of what I believe in, I would ask them to research a little more on how abortions are actually done. I say this because not only do abortions end an innocent life but they also negatively impact a woman’s body and emotions.”

Senior Alyssa Dominguez supports pro-choice due to her belief in women having the right to do what they please with their bodies and has been to multiple women’s marches to advocate her opinion.

“I don’t think the Supreme Court is making a good choice overturning the Roe v Wade decision because abortion has already been legal for a long time and it is not fair to go back on a decision that has already been made,” said Dominguez.

As people wait for the case Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization to be decided this summer, many are nervous on both sides of this impending decision.