After a leaked draught judgement showing the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked on Monday, Democrats in Congress have a new sense of urgency. The draught judgement, first reported by Politico, depicted the court eliminating the right to legal abortion, causing an instant rippling effect as advocates redouble their efforts to pass legislation codifying the right to abortion into law.
In the past, deliberations on contentious cases were haphazard. As draught opinions circulate, justices can and do change their votes, and key decisions can be subject to many versions and vote-trading, sometimes until only days before they are announced. The court’s decision will not be final until it is published, which is expected to happen within the next two months.
In states with mixed political power, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, the possibility of reversing established abortion rights has already surfaced. California and Colorado are pressing for abortion access to be protected in state constitutions, which is a more powerful step than enacting legislation. Because they expect women seeking abortions to cross state lines, Connecticut and Washington state have already taken steps to protect providers from potential litigation.
Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 3, 2022
It is a fundamental right for a woman to make her own health decisions. We must protect the right to choose and codify Roe v Wade into law.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) May 3, 2022
Late Monday, Politico reported on a leaked draught majority opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, signalling that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a constitutional right to abortion.
The 67-page draught opinion, which was reportedly written in February, finds that Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey are unconstitutional.
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The disclosure came a little over six months before the midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats maintain their razor-thin congressional majorities for the next two years of President Joe Biden’s presidency.
Abortion has been one of the most controversial subjects in American politics for nearly half a century.
On the left, there will almost certainly be major protests by women — and men — in support of abortion rights, and the draught ruling could motivate them to vote in a midterm election year when Democrats are facing significant electoral challenges.