Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023

What has happened in week since draft Roe v Wade opinion leaked?

What has happened in week since draft Roe v Wade opinion leaked?

US lawmakers push ahead with federal legislation; states prepare for abortion no longer being protected by the Constitution.

A leaked draft of a United States Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe V Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that legalised abortion across the country, has cast abortion rights back into the centre of US political discourse.

In the wake of the leak, which was published by Politico on the night of May 2, protests both for and against protected access to abortion have broken out nationwide.

Federal legislators have vowed to move ahead with a – likely symbolic – attempt to codify the right to abortion access in US law, while state elected officials across the US have sought to prepare for a post-Roe v Wade world.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the document, stressing it was not a final draft and launching a probe into the leak.

Here’s what’s happened in the week since the draft opinion leaked:

Vow to pass federal legislation

The leak is sure to electrify upcoming US midterm elections, which will determine the political makeup of the US Congress.

While Democrats currently hold a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives and a razor-thin majority in the 100-seat Senate, they do not currently have the votes to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster in the latter chamber.

Nevertheless, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, has vowed to move forward with a vote to codify the right to access to abortions into US law.

Prior to Roe v Wade, laws related to abortion access were left up to the states. The 1973 decision ruled that abortion access was a right protected by the US Constitution. Striking down the decision, without federal legislation, would return control of abortion access to states.

Pro abortion-rights protesters pass along an ongoing art project called ‘Line up for Roe’ outside of the US Supreme Court

Schumer called a vote on the legislation one of “the most important we ever take”, with Democratic brass noting that even with slim chances of attaining 60 votes in the chamber, where Democrats and independents who vote with Democrats hold 50 seats, the vote would put legislators firmly on record about where they stand on the issue.

The leak has also further fuelled perennial debate over doing away completely with the filibuster, which would allow most legislation to pass with a simple majority in the chamber.

Republicans, for their part, have largely skirted the wider issue of abortion rights, instead focusing on the leak itself, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the act must be “investigated and punished to the fullest extent possible, the fullest extent possible”.

Democratic legislators have raised further concerns after McConnell said in an interview that a national ban on abortions was “possible” if Republicans took control of the legislature in the midterms.

States ready for a post-Roe reality

The response to the leaked opinion has put a spotlight on states that have for years been preparing for a post-Roe v Wade world.

About half of US states are expected to impose bans or restrictions on abortion access if Roe v Wade is overturned.

Many state legislatures have increased their pace ahead of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that could see Roe v Wade overturned.

In 2022, 546 restrictions on abortion have been introduced in legislatures in 42 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Of those, 32 restrictions have passed at least one legislative chamber in 12 states, with 37 restrictions enacted in 10 states.

At the time of the leak, 13 states had already passed so-called trigger laws, which are designed to ban almost all abortions within state lines either immediately or in the days following the end of Roe v Wade.

Another five states still have pre-Roe v Wade abortion bans on the books, although it is unclear if those bans would all go into effect immediately or if authorities would enforce the laws.

While many state legislatures were not in session at the time of the leak, state elected officials have vowed to redouble efforts to pass legislation related to abortion.

In Louisiana’s House, legislators last week advanced one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country that would make women and girls criminally liable for getting an abortion.

In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem has said she will “immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota” if Roe v Wade is overturned.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said the state’s trigger law would go into effect if Roe v Wade is overturned, while sidestepping questions about whether the state would try to ban contraception if the ruling is struck down.

State attorneys general in Missouri and Arkansas have also said they would certify the trigger laws in their states if Roe v Wade is overturned.

The possibility has also led to an opposite push from supporters of abortion rights.

At least 16 states had passed laws in recent years to protect the right to an abortion.

Following the leak, California’s governor and top legislators said last week that they will pursue a state constitutional “amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state”.

For her part, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vowed the state would remain “a safe harbour” for those seeking abortions from across the country.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s attorney general has said she will not enforce the state’s 1931 law banning abortions if Roe v Wade is overturned, but acknowledged that the state’s 83 local county prosecutors would be able to enforce the law if they chose to do so.

What do we know about the leak investigation?

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said last week that he has directed the court marshal “to launch an investigation into the source of the leak”.

Since then, there have been few details of the scope and scale of the investigation, with sources telling the Wall Street Journal that no marshal is known to have conducted an investigation into a leak.

Observers have noted the decision to enlist the marshal instead of an agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may show a desire to keep the investigation and findings close at hand.

Observers have also noted that it is far from clear whether the leak of the draft would constitute a crime.


Related Articles

2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January, snapping five-month string of slowing employment growth
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges