The U.S. Supreme Court Leaked a Draft to End Federal Protection to Abortion Access
Until fifty years ago, the methods for ending an unwanted pregnancy in the United States included intentionally falling down stairs, ingesting poisons, using instruments like coat hangers, risking the unregulated market, or searching for a medical provider willing to risk legal penalties. These methods were dangerous and sometimes fatal. All of that changed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Women could now access medical care that was safe, sterile, and humane.
However, on May 2nd, national media sources published a leaked draft indicating that the Supreme Court plans to end federal protection to abortion access by overturning the ruling precedent set by Roe v. Wade and the 1992 reaffirmation of the law by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Court confirmed the draft’s authenticity but said they will make their final opinion in late June or early July. Should this draft opinion become official, the decision on abortion access will be returned to the states. Many states are already poised to illegalize abortion.
We underline that the mission of the Washington State Women’s Commission is to improve the life of every woman and girl by ensuring equitable opportunities and removing systemic barriers. As part of that mission, we look at the unique challenges women face, which include issues surrounding health, safety, economic security, and economic opportunity. Bodily autonomy and access to safe reproductive healthcare are core components to addressing challenges within each of these focus areas affecting women and pregnant people.
We’re grateful to have the leadership of Governor Jay Inslee who held a pro-choice rally and press conference in Seattle with elected leaders and community advocates. Inslee declared, “Washington state was a pro-choice state. Washington state is a pro-choice state and we’re going to fight like hell to keep Washington a pro-choice state . . .the forces of opposition who want to have the government intrude on Washingtonians’ most private decision are after the right of women to have access to abortion in our state.”
Attorney General Bob Ferguson added, “Let’s be clear about this draft opinion that has been made public. It is extreme. It is radical. It is wildly out of step with the views of the American people, and it removes, and reverses decades of legal precedent relied upon by millions and millions of women in this country.”
Women’s Commission Executive Director, Regina Malveaux, who attended the rally stated, “While Washington state law guarantees abortion access remains legal despite the expected United States Supreme Court ruling, the Women’s Commission would like to thank Governor Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson for their leadership and ensuring Washington remains a safe and viable option for those who may be forced to seek care within our state. We know this anticipated ruling will disproportionately impact those in communities already among the most marginalized.”
Jennifer Martinez, Patient and Board President at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates explained, “Abortion can never be taken away. All this decision serves to do is to make abortion less safe for those who seek it, and the impacts will disproportionately be felt by those from historically marginalized identities and communities. Black, Indigenous, Latino and other people of color. The leaked decision alludes to going back to our country's foundation and honoring those values. The reversal of Roe versus Wade and the impact are a testament to the legacy and racism of discrimination in this country. So let me ask you, are those the values that you want our country to uphold?”
Hundreds also rallied that same day at the Temple of Justice on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. Speaking to the crowd, Lt. Gov. Denny Heck stated, “We cannot go back. We cannot rest on our laurels. We cannot take it for granted. Our values in Washington state are really simple and straightforward, we trust women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. On this we are unmovable, we are called, and we will not be stopped.”
Watch full Seattle press conference and rally below.
Watch a clip of Martinez speaking below.
You can watch Lt. Governor Heck's speech at the Olympia rally below.
- What Abortion Was Like In The U.S. Before Roe V. Wade
- Roe v. Wade
- Roe established abortion rights. 20 years later, Casey paved the way for restrictions
- In WA, fierce reaction to leaked Supreme Court draft on Roe v. Wade
- Hundreds gather in Olympia to protest Supreme Court decision leaked on Monday