By Bryn Fawn
A precedent was established May 2, when Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s majority draft on Roe v. Wade court case leaked. The original case was settled in 1973 — with a subsequent case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey — which gave federal constitutional rights to abortions. The decision has not been made official yet, but could be confirmed in July if all nine judges hold their positions. The draft has many Americans questioning if their rights are in jeopardy.
The current Supreme Court sits 6-3 in a conservative to liberal ratio. Alito sits alongside the other five conservative judges.
Alito wrote in his draft, “The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”
Alito shares his concerns about the ruling of Roe v. Wade has no foundation within The Constitution in his draft.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” Alito’s draft states. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Mary Stockman, student association senator of campus safety and health and criminal justice major, held a protest against the overturning, May 9. Stockman said the goal of the protest was to raise awareness Stockman worries about casting the campus in a negative light, but said that SUNY Plattsburgh cannot sit in silence.
The protest was held in the courtyard between Meyers and the ACC. A Planned Parenthood representative was present alongside students sharing their voice.
“[Overturning Roe v. Wade] has the potential to send our country back centuries. You have to think about the impacts of overturning Roe v. Wade would be,” Stockman said.
Stockman described the overturning as “opening the gates” for possibilities of more legal discrimination. Stockman expressed hope that not only women or people with uteruses would attend the protest, but men as well.
“It’s scary to think what happens if I’m raped? If I have a kid I can’t financially support?” Stockman said. Stockman commented on how she is from Buffalo, New York and therefore most likely will not have her rights taken away, but did express concern for out-of-state students.
Stockman commented that the SA has already passed a resolution condoning the overturning and that the resolution has been sent to President Enyedi. Stockman discussed how she plans to speak with the health center on campus to provide more contraception options.
If Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overturned, “trigger laws” would take place. A trigger law is designed to take effect once a court ruling is made. These specific laws would restrict or completely outlaw abortion. Twenty-three states have adopted these trigger laws, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
According to the Center for Disease Control, four out of five abortions take place within the first nine weeks. Due to the nature of menstrual cycles, many individuals are unaware they are pregnant until around five and a half weeks, as periods can be inconsistent. The average menstrual period is 28 days, but it is different for each individual, and other aspects like age, stress, medications, and much more can affect one’s menstrual cycle.
Overturning Roe v. Wade has Americans questioning what other supreme court cases could be overturned next. An American activist, A. H. (@a_h_reamue) posted a twitter thread exploring this possibility due to Roe v. Wade’s ruling based on privacy. She discussed that overturning Lawrence v. Texas could criminalize homosexuality; Griswold v. Connecticut could make it difficult for married couples to obtain contraceptives; Loving v. Virginia could prohibit those who could marry; Obergefell v. Hodges could make same sex marriage illegal; among many other cases.
- H. also commented on her view on the push for regulating bodily autonomy, writing in a tweet published May 3, “The terrifying legal landscape that is being opened up through the denial of bodily autonomy to people who can get pregnant isn’t just outrageous — it also shows how far they will go to legislate uteruses.”
The leak of the draft has affected more aspects of life than originally anticipated. The New York Times’s game Wordle had “fetus” as the word of the day May 9. It was soon changed to “shine.” The New York Times released an article apologizing, as the publication had claimed in the past that a Wordle solution would never be the word “fetus” as to not make the game political.
The overturn would affect more than just pregnant individuals. Individuals with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome — also known as PCOS — or Endometriosis may find difficulty in receiving treatment as the most common procedure is birth control. Some states may make it illegal for birth control medication to be transported between state lines, or it may become illegal altogether. Many people depend on resources like Planned Parenthood for easy and cheap access to contraceptives like condoms or birth control medication. Planned Parenthood also provides thorough education on sexuality, contraception, gender identity, birth and much more.
Planned Parenthood has published a page titled “Bans Off Our Bodies,” which makes this statement: “The Supreme Court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. If this becomes official, 26 states could move quickly to ban abortion. Meanwhile, anti-abortion rights groups are gearing up to ban abortion nationwide. But we’re not backing down. We’re built for this fight. Join us.”
Planned Parenthood also plans to hold a protest May 14.
The Liberate Abortion Organization, a coalition of other pro-choice organizations to provide resources for the public, has commented on their website, “Roe v. Wade alone has never been enough to ensure people, especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and people working to make ends meet, can get the care they need when they need it.”
Liberate Abortion also stressed the need for community in the coming times.
“We need more than legality. We need a world where abortion is affordable and available in all of our communities, when people need care, with the providers they choose, and in ways that people trust. We need abortion liberated, and we’re working toward that vision together,” their website reads.
Stockman commented on the future of SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus’s leadership, “I hope the next [SA] legislation will put out support for everyone.”