The Supreme Court of the United States has the votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case legalizing abortion in the United States. This was revealed in a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that came to press without the Court’s permission. The historically unprecedented leak was an act to alert the public of SCOTUS’ planned attack.

One of thousands of protesters at an emergency demonstration in Foley Square, New York City, May 3. (WW Photo: Toni Arenstein)

According to the draft opinion, overturning Roe v. Wade is justified and would end federal abortion rights protections, allowing states to dictate abortion laws. While the majority opinion refers to states’ laws as reflecting, “the will of the people,” a May 2021 Gallup poll shows the U.S. public’s support for abortion rights in all or most cases at 80%. 

Yet at least 23 states would ban abortion immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Others would further restrict abortion. Moreover, states such as Texas and Oklahoma have passed laws that deputize the population against abortion seekers and clinicians by offering bounties of $10,000 to anyone who identifies and sues someone they believe is helping a person get an abortion. Thirteen states have “trigger laws” that automatically implement an abortion ban.  

A few states have pledged to be a “haven” for people needing an abortion, but their efforts may be rendered futile as other states announce laws that prohibit crossing state lines to seek an abortion. A restriction that both forces and simultaneously forbids the crossing of state lines to seek an abortion intensifies barriers and all the oppressions associated with criminalization.  

Many fear that a precedent like this could overturn other progressive supreme court rulings, with no end in sight to the repeal of rights and the criminalization of the population.

The intensity of outrage at the prospect of losing the last shred of protection for reproductive rights has ignited a spreading protest movement. Rallies spontaneously broke out in cities across the United States May 3, hosted by many groups. Wider and wider majorities of youth, whose lives these laws most deeply affect, see this assault as another breaking point in a whole series of breaking points –  union-busting,  caging of migrants, attacks on trans youth, racist police brutality and more. 

The prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned is leading to calls for an end to the U.S. Supreme Court itself – an unelected, appointed-for-life body created to serve the interest of the ruling class.

Abolish SCOTUS not reproductive rights!

Joanna Straughn

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Joanna Straughn

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