Losing Rights in America
The leaked Supreme Court draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a radical break from legal tradition and a historic reversal of generations of moral and social progress. If nothing else, today’s legal conservatives have made their true motives and goals abundantly clear.
CAMBRIDGE – It used to be that who you were at birth defined who you were for the rest of your life: slave or owner, emperor or subject, aristocrat or serf, man or woman, black or white. But, over time, moral revolutions have chipped away at the idea that we simply inherit our identities.
Today, most people in the Western world recognize that choice lies at the core of selfhood. We can be born in poverty and still become presidents. We can be childless career women. Our moral progress is enshrined in rights that enable us to strive to be whoever we want to be – or to live openly as who we truly are, with the same protections as everyone else. However, the leaked US Supreme Court draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization now threatens to take us back to the dark ages of biological determinism.
Written by Justice Samuel Alito, and confirmed to be authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts, the draft opinion would strike down Roe v. Wade, the half-century-old ruling that recognized a constitutional right to abortion. Four Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – are understood to be voting with Alito. The three Democrat-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – are said to be at work on dissenting opinions. Roberts’s current position is unknown. Adding insult to injury, on May 11, the Women’s Health Protection Act – an attempt to codify the right to abortion through legislation – was defeated in the Senate after all Republicans and one Democrat voted against it.