Reactions to Roe

Leaked Supreme Court document causes controversy

Many abortion rights activists attended a rally near downtown at the Westlake Center this past week to protest the Supreme Courts decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Carlos Snellenberg-Fraser)

A leaked opinion draft of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the Supreme Court of the United States is planning to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey.

The draft, published by Politico reporters Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, details the SCOTUS’ decision to overturn both cases. Alito stated that the SCOTUS believed both the 1972 Roe ruling and the 1992 Casey ruling were incorrectly decided.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito said.

This is the first time in the nation’s history that a Supreme Court decision document has been leaked to the public, and it could mark the end of the standards established by those rules for the past 50 years. If Roe and Casey are officially overturned, many states may choose to heavily restrict or ban abortions all together, with 13 states having trigger laws in place that will immediately take place if Roe v Wade is officially overturned.

While Washington state is considered a sanctuary for abortion rights, protests and activism efforts were still present in Seattle. Abbey Blase, a second-year integrated studies major, attended the rally at Westlake Park. 

Blase learned about the rally through an Instagram post and said that there were close to 3,000 attendees there. 

“I wanted to go because it is something I am passionate about and I felt it would be an empowering moment,” Blase said. “Everyone there wanted to make sure this remained peaceful and walked to Cal Anderson Park. We wanted to come together as a unit and share our thoughts.”

Abigail Livengood, a first-year sociology major, said it was important to attend the rally at Westlake Park and listen to the speakers. 

“We all went down to Westlake and they had a couple of speakers talking about other ways to help, other fundraisers, marches and organizations that will be doing things in the coming weeks,” Livengood said. “It was very welcoming to see other people who agree and are just as fed up with what is happening as I am.”

Blase said she was fearful of the potential reality of the court’s decision, and that abortion rights should be guaranteed.

“It is definitely very scary as a woman to think that it is even a possibility right now. I definitely think that (Roe v. Wade) should be codified into law. Even if you don’t agree with abortion, you should have the right to choose,” Blase said. 

Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant speaking at the abortion rights rally at Westlake Park this past week. (Carlos Snellenberg-Fraser)

The leak sparked controversy across the nation, trending on public sites like Twitter and prompting responses from politicians and citizens alike. One such figure was U.S President Joe Biden, who stated in an address to the people that his administration does not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade,” Biden said. “We said that Roe is based on ‘a long line of precedent recognizing “the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty”… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.’”

Despite the president’s dissenting opinion, the topic of abortion is one that is still somewhat contested, despite about 60% of Americans believing abortions should be legal in all or most cases according to Pew Research Center. The data shows that 56% of adults in America believe that how long a woman has been pregnant should matter when deciding if abortion should be legal, with 64% of Republicans and 52% Democrats agreeing. 

Pew Research Center also reports that most Americans believe certain conditions should determine the legality of an abortion, with 73% of adults believing that abortion should be legal if the pregnancy threatens a woman’s health or life, 69% say it should be legal in cases of rape and 53% of adults believing abortion should be legal if the baby has a high chance of being born with severe disabilities. 

As the fate of Roe v. Wade and the legality of abortion remain unknown, Livengood believes Roe v. Wade is fundamental to American society. 

“I think there are some rights that just cannot be left up to the states. This isn’t taxes or infrastructure, this is very serious. I think women should deserve guaranteed bodily autonomy no matter where in the country we are,” Livengood said.