Roe v. Wade: What Happened in the Supreme Court

President Joe Biden announced on May 3 that while the overturn of Roe v. Wade has not been finalized, the American people must vote for elected officials who support abortion rights this November to protect their Fourth Amendment Right to Bodily Autonomy. 

A draft for the overturn of the 1973 Supreme Court decision ruling protecting women’s rights to an abortion without excessive government involvement was leaked on May 2. 

President Joe Bien released an official statement early the following day, “We do not know whether this draft is genuine or whether it reflects the Court’s final decision.” 

The Supreme Court has now confirmed the authenticity of the leak. 

This is only the first draft of the Court’s opinion that was written back on Feb. 10. The overturn of Roe v. Wade may not even be presented in June, however, this does not bring ease to many Americans across the nation. 

On the night of the leak, The U.S. Supreme Court was blocked off by metal fences around the perimeter. Within a few hours, thousands of protesters were on-site surrounding the entrance demanding their abortion rights, and how far the government would be willing to strike down on more individuals’ rights to their bodies. 

“Illegal abortion means unsafe abortions,” Kimberly Mohaeir spoke with the Washington Post on May 3 just outside the Supreme Court among thousands of Pro-choice protesters. “[this] means women, [and] anyone who can get pregnant is going to die.” 

Mohaeir is an abortion provider in Virginia and has seen an increase of clients coming in out of state, some of who fly in just two hours before their session and leave on a plane right after. Mohaeir is very aware that as much as she tries to help the people she meets, there’s a disproportion in who can access proper resources. 

“I’m concerned that specifically, minority women do not necessarily have the same wealth … I’m concerned people are going to start taking this into their own hands.” 

“We will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe” President Biden declared in his statement release and promised that he will work to pass into law the original court decision. 

In 1969 “Jane Roe” (Pseudonym name used in court) was Norma McCorvey. She was a Texas resident who, at the time pregnant, was not able to get an abortion in her home state. The law prohibited abortions unless the woman’s life was at risk due to the pregnancy, which was not the case for Roe. 

Roe took her district attorney, Henry Wade, to court to declare that her choices among her body were not a matter of the state and violated her constitutional privacy rights. 

On Jan. 22, 1973, The Supreme Court ruled 7-2, in favor of Roe and this became a milestone in the process of how the government could interfere with a woman’s pregnancy. 

It declared that within the first trimester of pregnancy, three months, there could not be government involvement in the woman’s decision on proceeding with pregnancy. 

In the second trimester, the government could regulate but not ban abortion, and in the third trimester, states can interfere with the proceedings of abortions. 

The late Justice Harry Blackmun presented the majority opinion at the ruling, “Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and predilection”

The debate over abortion rights has continued long after Roe v. Wade and before the leak on May 2. Former President Donald Trump feels he may have had some credit for the possible overturn. 

The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) spoke with Trump in his Florida home on May 4 stating, “Well, a lot of people are very happy about that … So some people maybe say it’s my fault and some people say, ‘Thank you very much.'”

During his presidency, Trump had voted in three Supreme Court Justices, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. All who stated wouldn’t be opposed to overturning Roe. 

Each Justice was asked about the case of Roe v. Wade at their confirmation hearings, and if they would consider the possibility of an overturn. All three were not completely opposed to the idea. However, all three did deny how they would vote right on the spot, believing it would showcase biased opinions that were not properly settled in court. 

A breakdown of the three Supreme Court Justices’ confirmation hearings was summarized by and published on May 9. 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was the most outspoken on her Catholic beliefs during her hearing in Oct. 2020, “the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.” Barrett expressed, “I can’t pre-commit or say yes, I’m going in with some agenda, because I’m not.” Barrette answered Sen. Dianne Feinstein. 

Justice Barrett concluded that if Roe v. Wade’s case was presented to the Supreme Court then she would look at the possibilities if it is, “ not a case that everyone has accepted”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was very persistent in his statement that “Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed many times.” In Sept 2018 Sen. Feinstein had asked him about his previous statements on Roe v. Wade during his confirmation. 

“Of course. I listen to all arguments … And some arguments are better than others. Precedent is critically important. It is the foundation of our system.” Justice Kavanaugh answered Senate Feinstein. 

Precedent is by definition something that has been previously decided, in this case, Roe V Wade, and is looked back on when making future decisions. 

Finally in Mar. 2017 Justice Neil Gorsuch also stated Row was a “precedent” but not a “super precedent” during his confirmation. 

The University of North Carolina School of Law defines, “Super precedents are those constitutional decisions in which public institutions have heavily invested, repeatedly relied, and consistently supported over a significant period of time”

“If I were to start telling you which are my favorite precedents or which are my least favorite precedents or if I view precedent in that fashion, I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I have already made up my mind about their cases,” Gorsuch explains he would not be a fair judge in showcasing his biases before proper reevaluation of a case decision. 

On May 13, CNN provided a list of which states, plus D.C, will continue to protect abortion rights even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

Those sixteen states are; California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced,​​“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights,” in a Sacramento news conference held on May 11. If the overturn is finalized, Gov. Newsom wants California to be a “Sanctuary” for those in and out of state. 

“A new health reproductive plan… dedicating an additional $57m to prepare for an influx of people from other states seeking abortions.” as The Guardian summarized on May 12. 

For residents of California, Gov. Newsom has already signed a bill On Mar. 22 into law to make abortions cheaper. “banning private insurance plans from charging co-pays or deductibles for the procedure.” as the Guardian described the

The AP News explained that the bill “will also slightly increase monthly premiums for patients and their employers.” However, the elimination of those fees will be remarkably less than the monthly premiums. 

Image courtesy of Adam J. Dewey/NURPHO/AP-CNN

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.