Legal experts fear that the overturning of Roe v. Wade also puts other freedoms at risk – The Hill

The story at a glance


  • Earlier this month, Politico released a draft opinion saying the Supreme Court planned to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that abortion is a constitutional right.

  • Although the decision is not final in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the Supreme Court is expected to render its decision this summer.

  • In his draft opinion, Judge Samuel Alito argued that the right to abortion should be revoked since this right was not explicitly enshrined in the Constitution, an argument that worries many jurists.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, which she is likely about to do according to a leaked draft opinion, many legal experts fear other freedoms could be stamped out on the same grounds.

In a draft opinion leaked earlier this month, Judge Samuel Alito argues that the right to abortion should be revoked since it is not explicitly provided for in the Constitution – a claim that many legal experts fear threaten other rights.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health this summer.


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Changing America spoke to reproductive and gender rights experts about some of the freedoms most at risk if Roe v. Wade is canceled.

Right to contraception

Repealing the constitutional right to abortion could open the door for states to pass laws both prohibiting abortion and restricting birth control, mistakenly confuse the two and branding contraceptives as abortion-inducing drugs – what they are not.

Legal experts fear that if Roe v. Wade is overruled, lawmakers could sue Griswold v. Connecticut, which established that married couples have a constitutional right to privacy to purchase and use contraceptives without government restriction. This 1965 decision is similar to Roe v. Wade, who concluded that the Constitution also protects the right to privacy in choosing to have an abortion.

“The way this Justice Alito draft opinion kicks in under Roe v. Wade makes it very difficult to see what those other rights are standing on,” Katharine Franke, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, told Changing America.

Right to gay and interracial marriage

Judge Alito Disorganized declares that there is no constitutional right to abortion because “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion” and that a procedural right is not protected by any part of the constitution, including including the due process clause of 14e amendment.

The 14the The amendment was passed in 1868 during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and was designed to grant rights to former slaves as individual states began to pass discriminatory laws against them.

The first part of the amendment confirms that no right guaranteed by the first 13 amendments will be denied to any citizen of the United States.

“No state shall make or enforce any law which would restrict the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor should any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny anyone within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” he said.

Furthermore, Alito adds that a right is only protected if it “is deeply rooted in history and tradition”.

This argument jeopardizes a number of constitutional rights, including the right to same-sex marriage, interracial marriage and private sexual relations. Legal experts fear lawmakers will sue Lawrence v. Texas, which prohibited states from making same-sex intimacy a crime, and Obergefell v. Hodges, who legalized same-sex marriage, for the same reason.

“This is a real step back from the way the court understood rights even in Obergefell… which saw the Constitution as a sort of living document that responds to the realities of today,” Michelle Banker said. , Director of Reproductive Rights and Health Litigation. at the National Center for Women’s Rights.

Right to control medical treatment

Roe v. Wade also asserted the right to personal autonomy when taking medical decisions, not just those related to having or not having children. An example is Cruzan v. Director of Missouri Department of Health, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the constitutional right to refuse artificial life-prolonging procedures.


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Published in May. 27, 2022

Martin E. Berry