IF YOU’RE A LAWYER you can read the “initial draft majority opinion” written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and draw your own conclusions. The case before the Court is called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. If you don’t have a law degree you’ll have to join the rest of us depend on experts to interpret the arguments and what they mean… unless you can make it to Page 5 of the opinion.
That’s where Justice Alito’s 90-page opinion comes to a conclusion about two other Supreme Court cases, one of which is a household term. That case would be Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, which has essentially guaranteed a woman’s right to have an abortion until the fetus reaches the point of “viability” for the last 50 years. The other case is “Planned Parenthood v. Casey” in 1992, which supported Roe v. Wade.
Here’s what Justice Alito wrote on Page 5 of his draft opinion: “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.”
That opinion doesn’t require a law degree. The Constitution doesn’t mention same sex marriages and a lot of other rights, either.
The Supreme Court opinion was leaked to the digital news website propublica.org but it had been anticipated because of the three conservative justices appointed by former President Donald Trump. Those justices said in their confirmation hearings that they believed in preserving settled law. That’s not what Justice Alito’s draft opinion says. Who knew?
“We’ve been preparing since 2018,” Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood President Chelly Hegan said Tuesday afternoon. She said the local staff has been working “tirelessly” to increase the number of staff members as well as expand the scheduling and marketing of its services throughout the region.
The State of New York has laws protecting the right to an abortion. But other states have abortion bans, some of which will automatically take effect whenever the Supreme Court removes the federal right to the procedure. That could mean that women in other states will travel to New York Planned Parenthood facilities for contraception, abortions and other healthcare services unavailable in their states.
It has happened before. In 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade, New York State legalized abortions, allowing women to safely terminate a pregnancy at an affordable cost.
Ms. Hegan says Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood “super-prepared” to handle an influx of women seeking abortions who may need financial assistance. She is focused on the task ahead and wants the public to know that whatever happens in the Supreme Court, there are no service cutbacks at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, which is prepared to help the people who need its services, especially those most.
Despite the preparations, the organization still needs to help support its operations, which include its facility at Columbia and Green streets in Hudson, which provides a full range of services.
There’s a big disconnect between what surveys show are clear majorities of Americans who support access to abortions the new legislation that makes it practically impossible to obtain legal abortion services in many parts of this country.
It’s possible that if the conservative justices on the Supreme Court can no longer blame Roe v. Wade, they’ll be forced to confront the misery and chaos they have created. But don’t count on it. The only thing standing between these justices and constitutional chaos is the willingness to voters to assert the right for women to control their own bodies.