In an unexpected turn, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court has signaled the court’s intention to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case, jeopardizing national-level protections for abortion. While the outcome was expected to some degree given the conservative leaning of the court, the likely outcome overturns a decades-old legal precedent and infringes upon what global institutions like the United Nations classify as a protected human right.
Anti-abortion advocates see the likely decision as a major victory, with questions about the legality of abortion now being passed to the state level. In particular, it is a boon to religious groups and the Republican party, which has made abortion a key pillar of its platform, though they aren’t all celebrating just yet. In all likelihood, the overturning of Roe v. Wade means most types of abortion will become illegal in many states that have Republican-controlled state legislatures, with those who need abortions forced to travel to states with permissive laws or, more likely, to seek illegal and unregulated abortions where it has been outlawed.
The potential decision also looks, to some degree, misaligned with the desires of the public. Recent polling data suggests that Americans are broadly in favor of the right to abortion, with just a quarter indicating that they want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and 7 in 10 saying that the question of whether to have an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor. (The Factual’s own survey of 960 readers found 67% in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade.) While the leaked document insists on returning the decision “to the people and their elected representatives,” legislation at the federal level looks unlikely to follow, facing significant hurdles in the Senate.
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“Roe v. Wade: Faith leaders react to leaked SCOTUS opinion”
Emily McFarlan Miller | Religious News Service | Moderate Left | Factual Grade: 91%
Religious views on abortion across the U.S. are actually quite varied. This piece shares a range of reactions from religious leaders both for and against the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“In 1973, a Leak at the Supreme Court Broke News of an Imminent Ruling on Roe v. Wade”
Meilan Solly | Smithsonian Magazine | Center | Factual Grade: 86%
Despite claims that the leak of the draft decision is unprecedented, such leaks have happened at least twice before, including almost a half century ago when Time leaked the court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.
“Abortion right guaranteed by Roe will be replaced by state power if the Supreme Court adopts the leaked Alito opinion”
Morgan Marietta | The Conversation | Center | Factual Grade: 85%
Unfamiliar with the role of Roe v. Wade or the interplay between state and federal rights? This piece from The Conversation puts the legal basis for the current series of events in straightforward, accessible language.
“This Is and Isn’t the Moment Pro-Life Evangelicals Have Waited For”
Kate Shellnutt | Christianity Today | Moderate Right | Factual Grade: 83%
For anti-abortion advocates, the leaked draft was simultaneously a reason for celebration and consternation. Though the decision was long sought after, especially among white evangelicals, the unexpected disclosure of the draft document makes the court susceptible to public pressure and the decision even more complicated.
“States Aren’t Waiting For The Supreme Court To Rule On Abortion”
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux | FiveThirtyEight | Moderate Left | Factual Grade: 82%
For months, state legislatures have already been acting as though Roe v. Wade would be overturned, with conservative states passing additional restrictions on abortion and progressive states passing new protections. A legal battlefield is emerging as abortion seekers cross state lines, delivered medications make at-home abortions feasible, and anti-abortion state legislatures enact countermeasures to stop such practices.
“People of color, the poor and other marginalized people to bear the brunt if Roe v. Wade is overturned”
Nada Hassanein | USA Today | Moderate Left | Factual Grade: 81%
The patchwork of abortion rights that would emerge if Roe v. Wade were overturned would be most felt among marginalized communities. Access to abortion will technically be available to those who have the resources (e.g., money, the ability to take time off work) to travel across state lines.
“The Impact of Overturning Roe v. Wade Will Be Less Dramatic Than Abortion-Rights Advocates Fear”
Jacob Sullum | Reason | Moderate Right | Factual Grade: 79%
Due to protections in at least 21 states and new access to at-home medications, “the net effect will not be nearly as dramatic as pro-life activists might hope or pro-choice activists might fear.”
“Abortion Debate Puts Corporate Initiatives in the Spotlight”
Mengqi Sun | Wall Street Journal | Moderate Right | Factual Grade: 77%
Numerous corporations — including Amazon, Apple, Citigroup, and others — have signaled in recent weeks their intention to assist employees in retaining access to abortion. The choices reflect another flashpoint of corporate activism, where taking a stance on charged topics, or not taking one, can have big ramifications for business.