Politico Report Reveals Possible Overturn of Roe v. Wade

Kate Markus, Life Editor

On May 2, Politico reported that the U.S.Supreme Court had secretly voted to repeal the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, removing the constitutionally-protected right to abortion and allowing states to set their own independent abortion policies and restrictions. 

Following the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, a woman’s right to abortion was protected nationally. A subsequent 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, reinforced and maintained the constitutional right to abortions.

The article released by Politico publicized a 98-page initial draft majority opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito. This draft, if finalized, would overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling. In the draft opinion, Alito states, “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion.” 

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, if Alito’s draft is officially implemented, the ruling would likely prompt 25 states to immediately ban abortion – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Any state could still legally decide to permit and protect the procedure. 

Many risks are associated with banning abortions. According to the Turnaway Study, a research project that tracked a thousand women seeking abortions in the U.S. over the course of five years, women who are denied an abortion have an almost four times greater chance of living below the federal poverty line than women who were not denied one, as well as an increased risk of serious health problems. Their children are also more likely to grow up in an abusive environment.

According to Politico’s article, four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – voted in accordance with Alito, in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.

The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – voted to maintain the federal constitutional right to an abortion and are working on dissents from Alito’s draft. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, remains unclear.

Politico’s report was a rare breach of Supreme Court secrecy, leaked by an unidentified individual. The court confirmed the authenticity of the document Tuesday, stressing it was not the final decision.