The Daily Gamecock

Column: Leaked SCOTUS draft opinion will overturn more than just Roe v. Wade

<p>A graphic of the U.S. map that shows what each state is likely to do if Roe v. Wade is overturned.</p>
A graphic of the U.S. map that shows what each state is likely to do if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

If the recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion is confirmed and announced, abortion rights won't be the only thing in jeopardy. The right to privacy, contraceptives and bodily autonomy are at risk. 

On May 2, 2022, the news organization Politico obtained a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This case, initially from Mississippi, looks at "whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional," according to SCOTUSblog

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the 98-page draft opinion along with the supporters, Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, the latter three all Trump appointees.

This case looks at overturning decisions like Roe v. Wade, a women's right to choose and at the core, Griswold v. Connecticut.

"The legal reasoning behind it is that Justice William O. Douglas said, 'There is this fundamental right to privacy, and it's not written in the constitution explicitly, but it's something that Americans believe is just so fundamental to who they are as people that it must exist,'" Jessica Schoenherr, assistant professor of political science at the University of South Carolina, said. "So basically the right to control your sexual decisions."  

If cases like Roe are overturned, bringing America back 50 years in terms of women's rights, it gives the states the right to decide how they will proceed with abortion and privacy rights. 

As of now, 61% of people in America say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, and while the Supreme Court doesn't have to follow public opinion, the overwhelmingly conservative court is setting its agenda. 

"The court usually is a group that really looks to the law and does not necessarily do it by public opinion or political expediency or their own personal beliefs," Kathryn Luchok, instructor of women and gender studies and anthropology at the University of South Carolina, said. "The last few people have been truly ideologues who are following their own moral code or their own, I'm not really sure what they are following." 

This draft opinion has caused outrage. Across the country, people are protesting and fighting for their right to choose. 

"I was outraged," Ann Warner, chief executive officer of the Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), said. "And extremely concerned because the language in the draft was so extreme in terms of basically dictating an outright overturning of Roe v. Wade." 

As for South Carolina, things don't look good. Last year South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law the fetal heartbeat bill, which was blocked at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The law would prohibit a woman from getting an abortion if the fetal heartbeat could be detected, which is usually at six weeks when most don't even know they are pregnant. Luckily this was blocked because of Roe v. Wade, but if it's overturned, this bill could be put into law and largely restrict abortion. 

Unlike other states which have started the process of restricting contraceptives and making it harder to have a baby, South Carolina has done a good job of protecting them by passing the Pregnancy Accommodations Act and six weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave for state employees. 

Something else to keep in mind is that overturning Roe v Wade will disproportionately affect lower-income women and women of color, who both have a higher rate of abortions. Wealthier women can easily travel to another state or country where abortion is legal and get one or already have the contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

These conservatives hoping Dobbs v. Jackson rules in favor of Dobbs are not pro-life — they are pro-birth. They are in the business of regulating women and sex, not protecting the fetus and in-term children. 

If conservatives were pro-life, more than 12 Republicans would have voted to send money to the Food and Drug Administration to combat the formula shortage. 

If conservatives cared about protecting children, there would be more of a push for gun control so kids won't die going to school. 

If conservatives cared about protecting children, there would be a fight to make foster care a safer place where kids won't get abused just for being born. 

If conservatives cared about protecting children, they would make a world where it's safe to be born a person of color, part of the LGBTQIA+ community or born with a disability. 

It's time to reach out to your representatives to demand protected healthcare for anyone who could get pregnant. 

Organizations like WREN are ready to help this fight. 

"We're going to be building bridges, providing tools for people to raise their voices," Warner said. "To get in touch with elected officials, to talk to their friends and neighbors and help them understand what's at stake here and ensure that we are showing a strong collective movement that is not going to back down no matter what happens."