In an unprecedented turn of events Monday, a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico by an anonymous source inside the Court, causing immediate uproar. By nightfall, demonstrators from both political spectrums had gathered outside the Supreme Court holding signs and chanting slogans like “Abortion is healthcare,” and “Choice is a human right,” or, on the other side, “Abortion is violence,” and “We are the pro-life generation.”
Roe, the nearly 50 year old decision which protects abortion rights in the US, has been under legislative attack in Republican led states since at least 2007. That’s when the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart opened the door for state legislatures to chip away at abortion rights bit by bit—legitimitzing the argument that Roe could be limited in scope. Since then, states like Mississippi, (whose case, Dobbs v. Jackson, is currently before the court and is the foundation on which this potential overturn of Roe sits), have rolled back abortion access farther and farther, from effectively ending access to it at 24 weeks of pregnancy, to 15 weeks, to, recently, in the cases of Texas, Idaho, and Oklahoma, 6. These last three states have also adopted laws that encourage mercenary lawsuits against women and doctors (and even ride-share drivers) who facilitate any abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy (even in cases of rape and incest).
[Click here for an overview of abortion laws across the country]
An overturn of Roe at the federal level would almost certainly lead nearly half of American states to ban the procedure entirely.
Meanwhile, there has been a rush to codify abortion access at the state level in Democratic led states around the country.