Supreme Court Looking To Overturn Roe V. Wade, Draft Opinion Leaked

A leaked document from SCOTUS written by Justice Alito looks to reevaluate abortion rights’ place in the Constitution


Mollie Banstetter

Protesters quickly took to the steps of the Supreme Court after the news of the possible overturning of abortion rights broke.

Mollie Banstetter, Layout Editor of The Ledger

Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that ensures reproductive rights for Americans, is facing repudiation in the nation’s highest court. It was uncovered Monday night, May 2 via a leaked draft opinion procured by Politico, that the court is currently debating over the decision and its relevance in the Constitution.

The document was drafted in February of 2022. It states that the “opinion of the court” wants to return to the time when the states got to decide their citizens’ reproductive rights, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade. 

The leaked document was a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, in it he states, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

The dissenting opinion is currently being drafted as the court has not come to a final and published decision, meaning the drafts are subject to change and so are the votes of the justices. 

The Supreme Court released a statement saying, “Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

Although Roe v. Wade is still standing, states have restrictions on abortion, availability varies by state. Missouri has “severely restricted” abortion according to Planned Parenthood’s research. The state has insurance restrictions, requires parental consent, and has a 72-hour (3 days) waiting period. For comparison, Planned Parenthood states abortion is accessible in Missouri’s neighboring state Illinois. The only restrictions are that insurance restricts coverage for the procedure along with parental notification before the procedure, rather than parental consent. 

Before the Supreme Court sided with Roe in the 1973 case, 30 states had completely banned abortion, 16 states only allowed abortions in certain circumstances, and four states allowed it. The decision not only gave women the constitutional right to regulate their own bodies, but it also barred states from banning the procedure before “fetal viability.” This term refers to the point in a fetus’s life where it can survive outside the womb. Although the time frame is not universally agreed upon, many consider fetal viability to be around 23-24 weeks, which is about the five-month mark. 

The leaking of the opinion draft was an unprecedented event and has never been publicized before in recorded modern American history. It is unclear exactly what the toll and consequences of this will be, but it is certain to intensify the debate as some groups are getting closer to their goal, and some are getting further.