In a leaked draft opinion published by Politico, the Supreme Court of the United States sent a clear signal about the imminent likelihood of overturning Roe v. Wade and the loss of national protection for pregnant people’s right to an abortion. If Roe is overturned, 13 states have trigger laws that would make abortion illegal; 14 states would likely follow suit with their own bans once these laws go into effect. Historically marginalized communities will suffer the greatest impacts of this decision, having been the target of systemic and structural inequities for centuries.
The draft opinion is not a final ruling and abortion is still legal in all 50 states (even though, in many, it is unduly restricted by state laws); however the impact of this opinion if it becomes law would be a significant blow to the nationwide progress that reproductive rights and intersectional health care organizations have been making for over half a century.
The arguments made in this draft are a key threat to our civil liberties—as stated in the Fourteenth Amendment—not only for reproductive rights, but also marriage equality, access to contraception and many other rights related to privacy. The impact of further moving core rights and equal protection to the states’ jurisdiction is also deeply disturbing. With the history of Jim Crow, the current rise of laws restricting reproductive freedoms and voting access, and the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQIA+ laws introduced in state legislatures in the last year alone, many equity advocates have said we need to shift and build power, so policies and laws can be created that center justice, rather than rely on the courts. And, despite the recent disappointing 49-51 vote in the Senate, we need to codify into federal law a pregnant person’s right to seek an abortion by building support to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act or similar legislation.
Coalitions, advocates and community organizers are already focusing resources on candidate recruitment and support to have real representation, voter registration, activation and legislative advocacy. Since MG’s founding over three decades ago, we have been honored to work with change agents to advance reproductive health and justice, and many of the other fundamental rights under threat by the arguments and impacts of this draft opinion.
We remain steadfast in our support of the work ahead, encouraging others to raise their voices—and to support the core democratic values of advancing electoral justice and policies that center people’s health and the protections of liberty in the Fourteenth Amendment.