Pro abortion protestors hold a vigil outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year, in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2022. REUTERS
Pro abortion protestors hold a vigil outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year, in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2022. REUTERS Credit: Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

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States may soon have the power to decide whether or not women have bodily autonomy. The Supreme Court has confirmed the leaked draft opinion, obtained by Politico, that would overturn Roe v. Wade. The draft opinion was written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. 

“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 writes in his draft opinion. 

Danielle Atkinson, executive director and founder of Mothering Justice, told ThePeoplesBeat.com that abortion bans threaten the health and lives of women of color, “who already face a litany of health and rights inequities due to the systemic racism rooted in the founding of our country.”

Advocates for abortion access want the public to know that abortion is currently legal across the U.S. – emphasizing that the leaked document is only a draft. 

Lupe M. Rodríguez, Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice said “that while this signals strongly that the Supreme Court is going to nullify the federal protections for abortion care that have been the law of the land for nearly 50 years in this country, this is NOT the official decision. Abortion is still legal in all 50 states and will continue to be legal until the impending ruling.”

Lupe M Rodríguez, Executive Director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Photo/Twitter

Currently, close to half of U.S. states have laws banning or restricting abortions, this includes South Carolina. However, Roe v. Wade has overruled these state restrictions because it was decided by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation. 

Currently, close to half of U.S. states have laws banning or restricting abortions, this includes South Carolina. However, Roe v. Wade has overruled these state restrictions because it was decided by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation. 

States with abortion bans or restrictive abortion bills, data from Guttmacher Institute | ThePeoplesBeat.com | Noticias NuestroEstado.com

“There are 22 states ready to outlaw abortion outright and another 4 likely to do so, and we know that when abortion is criminalized, it is our communities – Latinas/xs, Black people, im/migrants – who are most likely to be targeted and imprisoned,” Rodríguez added. 

Limiting Access To Abortion Care

Ashlyn Preaux, Democratic candidate for district 61 to the SC State House of Representatives, says, “abortion access is already hard to come by in South Carolina.” 

Currently, women in South Carolina have to travel an average of 23 miles, one-way, to access abortion care. Should state legislators move to ban all abortions the average travel would increase to 88 miles to North Carolina to seek care. 

Danielle Atkinson, Executive Director and founder of Mothering Justice, Photo/Michigan.gov

“A nationwide abortion ban will disproportionately affect people in all states who earn low wages and people of color who don’t have the means to travel to states where abortion is legal,” Atkinson added. “The bottom line is, no politician, judge or ban should block the trusted doctor-patient relationship or interfere in our bodily autonomy. Abortion access should not be based on your tax bracket, zip code or immigration status.”

Guttmacher Institute says North Carolina could see an increase of 230,000 to 11.2 million women of reproductive age (15-49), whose nearest abortion care provider is in that state.

“Those who cannot afford to travel will be left to figure it out on their own, and that’s not a good solution. Most people seeking abortions already have children so let’s be clear on who this will hurt the most — Moms,” Preaux added. 

On May 3, James E. Clyburn, South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District representative, tweeted that “for 49 years, women have had the constitutional right to make choices about their body. The whole notion of politicians controlling those decisions is beyond the pale. It ought to be alarming to us.”

Clyburn, who is also Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, has actively been campaigning for Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has been very public about his anti-choice stance. 

Cuellar was the only Democrat to vote against the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Last October speaking to reporters about his vote against the reproductive rights bill, Cuellar said for him “it’s called conscience, I am a Catholic, and I do believe in rights, right to life, and it’s just a conscious, sometimes people vote because of political, they think just because Democratic or Republican issue, for me it’s just a matter of conscience.”

ThePeoplesBeat.com has reached out to Clyburn’s office for comment on his support of Cuellar. 

Rights Beyond Abortion

This impending decision on abortion signals a frightening move to undo decades of activism. Many fear that same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and other major civil rights could be next on the Supreme Court’s Agenda. 

“Marriage equality could absolutely be next on the list of rights to roll back.” Preaux states. “In 2022 these are not the fights we should be having. We should be providing more resources to those who have none, fixing our infrastructure, and investing in public education. Attacking bodily autonomy helps no one and will not move our state or country forward.” 

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) walks through the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Clyburn acknowledged that other rights such as same-sex marriage could also be in danger. “History teaches us that if a thing has happened before, it can happen again,” he added. 

Preaux, Atkinson and Clyburn shared the same concern that other rights are in danger. “Abortion bans impact our community and our families. Everything is in jeopardy; when we start eroding peoples rights because of personal religious views, we can see harm to anyone who doesn’t subscribe to those views,” Atkinson said.  

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. says he has directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation to find out how the draft opinion got leaked.

Fernando Soto

Fernando is the CEO and Publisher of Spanish language news outlet, NuestroEstado.com. Fernando previously worked for an NBC affiliate in Mobile, Alabama, he then went on to work as a digital media consultant...