Earlier this week a draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked. Essentially the ruling would overturn the previous rulings of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It’s left the nation in a headspin and has sparked conversation on every social media platform. If these rulings are overturned, states will have the power to ban abortions outright or in any capacity of their choosing.
Although the Court often writes multiple draft opinions by various members of the Court to help assess their official verdict, it is entirely possible that the Supreme Court could rule differently.
However, after taking it upon myself to read all 98 pages of the leaked opinion, I have a few thoughts.
First: What the fuck, Justice Alito?
As I read this, I was struck by the lack of depth and understanding of the cases presented. The Constitution is not just explicit, we have guaranteed rights that are implied. It does not matter that abortions are not in the Constitution, women aren’t mentioned in the Constitution yet here we are, fully functioning and deserving of rights.
As a member of the judicial system and as a member of the nation's highest court, Justice Alito should be embarrassed.
In his opinion, he claimed that “26 states have expressly asked this Court to overrule Roe and Casey.” This claim is almost an admission of allowing politics to play a role in his duty as a defender of our rights. And what of the 24 states that have not asked for this overturn? Depending on the states, this could easily be the majority of the nation.
He has failed to acknowledge that one of the essential duties of the Supreme Court Justice -- their sole duty -- is to uphold the Constitution and the rights of every one of us. Not just men, but all of us. If the Justices can be swayed by politics, then the Supreme Court will become illegitimate.
At the end of the day, this overturn does not just endanger those of us with uteruses. This precedent leaves an open door to allow other cases under the same or similar precedents to be overturned, and it endangers the rights of us all. If we lose Roe this is what we could also lose:
This attacks all our freedoms, not just those directly affected by this overruling. However, it's important to keep in mind how this will affect those with uteruses whether you have one or not. Because the implications of this overturn are very real and, as a woman, I am terrified for not just myself but for everyone.
We have politicians who fail to understand the risks of pregnancies and how they can permanently harm someone’s body. You see this with Sen. Ted Cruz who was held under fire in Sept. 2020 for exactly that when tweeting his political views on abortion.
"Pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease," tweeted Cruz.
He later deleted the tweet.
Maternal mortality increased in 2020, with 861 reported deaths out of a registered 3.6 million births. That statistic continues to rise each year and the likelihood of survival significantly lowers when you are a person of color, as Black women in 2020 died 2.9 times more often than white women, according to the CDC.
Additionally, between 2-10% of pregnant women will get gestational diabetes from being pregnant, according to the CDC. Pregnant individuals are at risk of infections, high blood pressure, Preeclampsia and postpartum depression, according to the National Institute of Health.
Then we have other politicians who couldn’t give two shits about how you got pregnant, so long as you stay that way. Ohio state representative Jean Schmidt said that there would be no exceptions to getting an abortion– not even for a 13-year-old child who had been raped– when dicussing the Human Life Protection Act, which allows for no exception other than medical complications to the mother.
“Rape is a difficult issue and it emotionally scars the individual,” Schmidt said. “All or in part for the rest of their life just as child abuse does. But if a baby is created it is a human life and whether the mother ends that pregnancy or not, the scars will not go away. Period. It is a shame that it happens but there’s an opportunity for that woman no matter how young or old she is to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being.”
A 13-year-old child is a child. Not a woman. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like “Well it’s already broken, might as well break it some more and see if that helps.”
Why is it okay to burden girls and women with things they cannot control? Or is it just so you can control us? Because the last time I checked, it takes two to make a baby. How about men come take some responsibility?
And why are we giving a fetus the same or more rights than the women who must carry the baby? If a fetus is a person why doesn't child support start at conception in most states? Or why can’t you claim a child as a dependent on your taxes until it’s been born?
Many, including Alito, argue that “a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.” Yet, our foster care system in the United States is terrible.
Over 23,000 foster care children age out of the system each year and 70% of girls within the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21, according to the National Foster Youth Institution. Or that half of the children in the system won't even graduate from high school, according to the National Foster Youth Institution. And what of the states failing to find permanent homes for 20,000 children in 2015, according to the National Foster Youth Institution?
What about that screams it's “easy” to find a suitable home for children within the system?
Given all the information given to you, can you honestly say that there is a reason to overturn this ruling? One that isn’t influenced by religious belief? If not, then you don’t have much of an argument to make.
A law that’s only standing is the Christian belief that a fetus is a person before it becomes viable has no place in this country. We are a country with religious freedom. This includes the freedom to not have someone else’s religion dictate what you can or can’t do.
What of the belief systems that not only allow for abortion but demand it if the woman’s life is at risk? Judaism and more publicly the Satanic Church both offer these rights to those who practice. Is the government going to strip them of their Constitutional right to practice their respective religions?
This is the time to scream at the top of your lungs and fight for your rights, because at the end of the day, there’s a chance this “guaranteed right” may no longer be guaranteed. Advocate for yourselves and advocate for others. This is all our fight and we must stay strong. Make our intentions clear to all including those who make these laws that restrict us. It is our duty to make sure our representatives actually represent us.
For the sake of our rights, speak up.