The Supreme Court of the United States is determined to annul the right to abortion that the same court enshrined in 1973 in the historic sentence of the case Roe against Wade. This follows from an initial draft published on Monday night by the newspaper Politico. It is signed by Judge Samuel Alito and reflects a predominant opinion of the magistrates that make up the court.
The text leaves no room for doubt: the Supreme Court, which has a conservative supermajority unprecedented in decades (six against three), considers that the precedent set by the 1973 ruling (and confirmed in the case Planned Parenthood contra Casey, 1992) deserves to be knocked down. “[La sentencia de] Roe I was terribly wrong from the start,” writes Alito. “His motivation for her was exceptionally weak and that decision has had detrimental consequences. Far from achieving a national consensus on the issue of abortion, Roe y Casey they fueled the debate and deepened the division.”
The document known today is a draft; the final ruling is not expected until early July, and, while highly unlikely, at this time the balance on the court could still change. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito’s argument reads. “It is time to heed the fundamental norm and return the issue to the elected representatives of the people.”
the exclusive of Politico has generated a great impact in Washington, both because of its content —abortion is the most persecuted topic under study this year by specialized reporters in the Supreme Court—, and because there is no evidence that a draft of these characteristics has ever been leaked while a case was being studied. Who does this leak serve is an issue that has also immediately ignited the debate.
In practice, the derogation implies the freedom of States to decide on the reproductive rights of 166 million women. And some do not plan to waste any more time: when the final ruling arrives, the laws promulgated throughout the country by Republican governors in recent months will take effect immediately.
More than 20 States are waiting for the decision to change their rules. The latest to sign up has been Oklahoma, whose House of Representatives last Thursday approved a strict rule that prohibits abortion after the sixth week of gestation, before most women know they are pregnant (it is a carbon copy of a Texas initiative, known as the law of the heartbeat, in reference to the vital signs of the fetus). It also allows (and encourages) private citizens to sue for $10,000 abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion (and that, as the law is interpreted, could include, for example, the taxi driver take the woman to the clinic).
The original plaintiff Roe against Wade It was Norma McCorvey, a Dallas waitress who in 1970 sued Henry Wade, district attorney of the Texas city, to claim her right to have an abortion in that state. The case reached the Supreme Court, which in January 1973 decided, seven votes against two, in favor of the plaintiff, relying on the fourteenth amendment, which guarantees privacy. Planned Parenthood contra Casey it ended with a vote of 5-4. Everything indicates that in this second review, which comes almost half a century later, the result will be 6-3.
McCorvey was unable to benefit from the fruits of her struggle: she had the girl in June 1970 and gave her up for adoption. Under the pseudonym with which he denounced, Jane Roe, it became a symbol of the fight for the reproductive rights of women in the United States.
That decision constitutionally guaranteed the right to interrupt a pregnancy until the 23rd week, in which the viability of the fetus is established. What the Supreme Court is studying now is a law from the State of Mississippi that intends to advance that border to 15 weeks.
“On many other occasions, this court has annulled important constitutional decisions…”, says Alito’s text known this Monday. “Without these decisions, American constitutional law as we know it would be unrecognizable, and this would be a different country.”