Leak Suggests Possible Attack on Human Rights


artwork by Avery Ferguson

Avery Ferguson, Staff Writer

Monday Politico released a leaked draft for the SCOTUS’ (Supreme Court of the United States’) decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey This leak is historical in the fact that no other SCOTUS decision has been released to the public prior to passing. While some are worried about what this means for SCOTUS security, the majority of people are worried about what this means for the rights of those able to give birth. While many are worried about how abortion will be affected by the SCOTUS decision, there are also many other ramifications. Samuel Alito, the author of the draft overturning the two previous SCOTUS decisions, states that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey should be overturned as these SCOTUS decisions were made on the basis of appealing to the culture and not the law. Alito states that “The Constitution makes no mention to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” He then goes to reference the SCOTUS case Washington v. Glucksberg, which was a case where a Washington physician lobbied for the rights to perform medically assisted suicide. This was denied because the court ruled it was “against the nations traditions and practices.” Many are worried that the overturning of Roe and Casey will set a precedent within the court, allowing them to overturn any SCOTUS decisions on the basis of the Constitution never mentioning it. This comment by Alito directly contradicts the Constitution’s 9th Amendment which states that the rights within the Constitution are not the only rights the people have. The job of SCOTUS is to read the law and implement it without bias. There is push back because many rights are not stated within the original Constitution. Laws allowing interracial marriage, the desegregation of schools, the right for queer people to be married. All of these rights are not guaranteed by the Constitution, but they are an inextricable aspect of American life. Alito’s comment alarms many because they worry this might set a precedent for other non-Constitutionally formed rights. A right the public is worried about currently is the right to contraceptives. This is not a Constitutionally protected law, so, using Alito, and other SCOTUS members’ logic, it may be overturned as well. The verdict of Roe v. Wade originated from the case Griswold v. Connecticut, a case in 1965 which abolished a law banning birth control; this, combined with Alito’s statement, creates worries that SCOTUS will target contraceptives next. Alito also mentions Obergefell v. Hodges and Lawrence v. Texas. These SCOTUS decisions decriminalized sodomy (the act of queer sexual relations) and legalized gay marriage. Alito, once again, mentions how these decisions were not stated within the Constitution, and, therefore, the reasoning behind the SCOTUS decisions was weak. With this decision we do not only see a precedent of overturning cases that deal with individual rights, but SCOTUS is also currently led by a conservative majority. These things coupled could possibly lead to the overturning of previous court cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Lawrence v. Texas. The possible stripping of the American peoples’ rights will have catastrophically negative effects on the American population. 

Within the United States, in 2019, 629,898 people received legal, documented abortions. This does not take into account the abortions self induced within areas where it is illegal to receive an abortion, nor the people who cannot afford to get an abortion from a medical center. People receive and request abortions for a number of reasons, but that is their decision. Abortions are a form of healthcare, as healthcare is defined as “the organized provision of medical care to individuals or a community” (Oxford Dictionary). Therefore, this definition, states abortion to be healthcare, as it is a form of medical care. In the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, states that, according to the United Nations, healthcare is a recognized human right. From this it can be deduced that abortion is a human right. To take away the right to a legal abortion, is to take away their universally recognized human rights. Within the anti-abortion community, it is often argued that abortion is murder because life begins at contraception. But, is this a fact? No. When life begins is an unanswerable, philosophical quandary. There is no way to define when a life begins, and, therefore, the anti-abortion community can continue to support their claims that abortion is murder, even though there is not, and can never be, a clear definition when life begins in utero. If it is claimed that life begins at conception and, therefore, abortions are ending a life, then everything within our society that operates on “life” would have to begin at contraception. This would mean that child support must begin at conception. This would mean that life insurance begins at conception. This would mean that, for abortion to be ending a “life”- and not just terminating a fetus, every fetus must be treated under the terms which the United States treats a birthed child. While this still cannot measure when life begins, it can be seen that treating conception as the start of life directly contradicts the United States’ society. What can be measured, however, is the benefits abortion has on the people undoubtedly living within our society. Abortion is sometimes the only way to save a pregnant person’s life. This can be seen in cases in which the person giving birth experiences pregnancy complications, such as placental abruptions, bleeding from the placenta previa, eclampsia, or cardiac conditions. Abortion saves women’s lives, when it is legal, through active measures, but it is also preventative. Keeping abortion legal saves lives because, when it is illegal, women resort to unsafe, self induced options. These lead to inflicted abdominal and bodily trauma, ingestion of dangerous chemicals, self medication, and reliance on unsafe, unsanitary abortion providers. Keeping abortions legal directly benefits the unquestionably living people within our society and doesn’t allow their death over an unanswerable question.

There are many countries in which abortion is deemed illegal or is restricted, and these countries suffer higher death rates due to abortion than those where abortion is a legal procedure. This is a direct causation between the legality of abortion and the safety/loss of life of the people recieving said abortions. These countries include Egypt, the Philippines, El Salvador, Poland, Brazil, and more. All over the world there are 90 million people who can give birth that are living under a strict restriction to a safe abortion. Within countries where abortion is deemed illegal, these people are forced to seek out unsafe procedures, once again, leading to the loss of life of the mothers. According to the Atlantic, 8-11% of women who receive unsafe abortions die from them, and even more women are harmed from their self induced procedures. This does not even account for the women who attempt abortions, but the fetus remains living. In these cases, the fetus can have deformities or health problems from the attempted abortion when it is unsuccessful. 

Although the Declaration of Human Rights is not a worldwide declared law, it is a set of declarations that are widely accepted, especially within the United States. This violation of the Declaration of Human Rights is, once again, a precedent of the power the government can have over its people. If there is no policing of the government on issues involving human rights, can they not do what they want? Yes, officials are voted into office, but many officials do not uphold the issues they once stood for. This can be seen within the overturning of Roe and Casey itself. Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were supported by senator Susan Collins, soley because of their shared pro-choice stance on abortion, but, supposedly, they voted in favor of overturning Roe and Casey. The mistrust within the United States public of SCOTUS is staggering. It is currently at an all time low, as the people of the United States feel their human rights are being violated, and they are correct. By definition, abortion is a human right, and restricting a certain groups human rights is a dangerous turn for the United States to take. The United States has been deemed the land of freedom and opportunity for as long as it has existed, but what happens when there is an infringement on basic human rights? An infringement that can be used as a precedent for the invasion of law concerning individual decisions? The overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey would just be the first step of government involvement in the personal lives of a country that claims to be free. This decision by SCOTUS not only affects people who give birth, but all of the United States. Its precedence affects the personal life of every individual living within the United States and it is hypocritical of politicians, who claim to be “Pro-America” and “Pro-Freedom”, to endorse this SCOTUS decision. They are endorsing the participation of an entire government within the personal lives of the people who voted for them on the basis of freedom.

Abortion is a life-saving procedure that is a basic human right. It has protected countless people who were to give birth from medical complications or the fact of not having a child they cannot emotionally or financially support. For the government to try and take away a factually human right is a stark overreach of their powers. The United States government was created in order to protect its people, and taking away an essential procedure does not accomplish that. SCOTUS must make this decision with the law and the 9th Amendment behind them, not their own personal opinions.