TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The news of the day is sure to be the leaked Supreme Court decision that revealed the court’s potential willingness to overturn the landmark court case Roe v. Wade, threatening abortion rights nationwide.
The leaked decision is not final until it is officially published, but does show a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, appointed by former President George W. Bush. Other conservative justices were shown to have signed on except for Chief Justice John Roberts, whom reports state may sign on to a dissenting opinion. Regardless, even if Roberts sides with the court’s liberal justices, that would leave 5 votes supporting the overturn versus 4 against.
There’s still a chance another opinion could be chosen instead of Alito’s before the decision is officially issued, one that might have different details or substantiating arguments. But the support for Alito’s decision shows that the majority of court members are clearly comfortable with rolling back the 1973 Supreme Court ruling.
Public polls are generally against overturning Roe v. Wade, which protected a woman’s right to have an abortion on a federal level (and prevented states from wholly outlawing abortions, though it hasn’t stopped them from coming close), so public reaction to the leak have been generally negative so far — with some exception. President Joe Biden campaigned on a pledge to codify abortion rights into federal law, theoretically making them more difficult to overturn legally, but that has not occurred during his presidency.
Predictably, local officials have spoken out in opposition to overturning. A statement from Tompkins County elected officials is expected at some point Tuesday.
“The leaked draft opinion of a majority of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, a law that has protected a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions, is unprecedented and highly distressing,” wrote Ithaca Acting Mayor Laura Lewis. “If Roe is overturned, it will have the most severe impact on poor women and women of color. We will see the return of ‘back alley’ botched abortions, resulting in the death of poor women. A chilling impact is already being felt by health care providers in an increasing number of southern states who fear for their patients and for their own lives and careers.”
The majority of reactions have come on social media.
New York State Assemblywoman Anna Kelles retweeted the following message from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Local candidates have also weighed in on the issue, most notably those in the Democratic primary for state senate.
“The draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade is yet another example of the disconnect that leadership has to issues that impact our communities,” said Democratic NYS Senate candidate Lea Webb. “Decisions like this, especially as it pertains to reproductive rights, can lead to further disenfranchisement, disempowerment, and harm to women and women’s bodies. I am thankful that in a state like New York, our State Legislature was proactive and codified Roe v. Wade in 2019, however it is important to address the fact that women in all communities should have the same access and the same level of treatment where they live. Our leadership can and must do better. The Senate must follow the House’s lead and codify abortion rights on the federal level once and for all.”
This article will be updated as more reactions are published throughout Tuesday.