A document leaked from the US Supreme Court reveals that the country could overturn a long-standing legal right to abortion, allowing individual states to ban it.
The leaked court document, which is written by Justice Samuel Alito, terms the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling – which legalised abortion across the US – “egregiously wrong from the start”.
The leaked document – labelled “1st Draft” – appears to reflect the majority opinion of the court but the Supreme Court’s chief justice, John Roberts, has in a statement maintained that the ruling does not reflect the court’s final decision.
The Chief Justice also condemned the leakage of the draft – first published by US website Politico – as “a singular and egregious breach” and asked the Marshal of the Supreme Court to launch an investigation.
The Historic US Abortion Ruling
In January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 majority decision in favor of “Jane Roe” (Norma McCorvey) holding that women in the United States had a fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions without excessive government restriction and striking down Texas’s abortion ban as unconstitutional.
Us President Joe Biden while commenting on the issue, has said that if the Court overturns the pro-abortion law, will call other freedoms into question.
“It concerns me a great deal that we’re going to, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have a right to choose,” he said.
“But even more, equally profound is the rationale used. It would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question.”
While legalizing abortion 73 years ago, the US Supreme Court presented that outlawing abortions would infringe a pregnant woman’s right to privacy for several reasons: having unwanted children “may force upon the woman a distressful life and future”; it may bring imminent psychological harm; caring for the child may tax the mother’s physical and mental health; and because there may be “distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child”
The proposed legislation, which could make abortion illegal in the US comes in the wake of numerous calls from pro-abortion crusaders like Plan International to legalize it in countries where it remains outlawed.
Unsafe abortion is one of the leading contributors to maternal deaths around the world according to the State of World Population 2022 report, released by the United Nations Population Fund earlier this year.
“Not all unintended pregnancies are unwanted. But the majority of unintended pregnancies end in abortion, making the human rights perspective on abortion highly relevant to states and policymakers,” the report says.
The report also indicates that rates of unintended pregnancy tend to be lower in countries in which abortion is allowed on socioeconomic grounds or on request) than in those with more restrictive laws.
“This is a notable correlation, though not a matter of causation: liberal abortion laws themselves likely have no impact on the incidence of unintended pregnancy,” the report indicates.