SHS Reacts to Leak of Roe v. Wade Draft Opinion



A draft opinion of Roe v. Wade leaked a few weeks ago.

Adam Rublin

For decades, debates over abortion rights have divided Americans. In 1973, after years of lobbying, the Supreme Court determined that abortion was a fundamental right held by all Americans, and declared state regulation of abortion unconstitutional in a decision called Roe v. Wade. Almost five decades later, that decision is at risk of being overturned. 

On May 2, 2022, a draft of a majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the public. The opinion, which a majority of justices voted to pass, would overturn Roe v. Wade. The draft’s content was a full rejection of Roe v. Wade, arguing that, “it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to people’s elected representatives.”

After the draft opinion leak, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that the draft opinion is legitimate. Although it is valid, Roberts stressed that the draft opinion is not a representation of a decision made by the court. He also commented on the leaking of the draft opinion, describing the leak as an, “affront to the court.” The leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion is the first time in the modern history of the Supreme Court that information of this kind has been disclosed to the public while a case is ongoing. 

States opposing Roe have been placing relatively soft regulations on abortions, like Mississippi and Texas placing bans on abortions after the fifteen-week period and six-week period respectively. In the case of Roe being officially overturned, thirteen different states have laws in place, known as trigger bans, which would allow them to ban abortions almost immediately. Some other states would not completely ban abortions, but would ban abortions after six weeks. Many women are not aware that they are pregnant after just six weeks, so a ban on abortions after that time would effectively stop many women from getting an abortion.

In response to the leak, protesters gathered to show their support of Roe in various cities, including Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. While the leak shocked many, it energized the pro-choice movement overall. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll done between April 24 and 28, before the draft opinion was leaked to the public, only 40 percent of people living in states that had recently passed abortion restrictions were aware of their state passing such restrictions. While abortion became a highly contested issue in terms of legislation, awareness on the shifts in legislation was minimal before the highly publicized draft opinion leak.

In the Scarsdale Middle School, a walkout was held on May 6 in which students expressed their support for Roe by leaving the school building and meeting outside of the school. The walkout, which consisted of students chanting and carrying posters, was not sanctioned by the school and was fully organized by SMS students. “I think we should follow in the footsteps of these young activists because they realize that their future depends on the actions they take today,” said Sarina Mehta ’25.

Many SHS students feel strongly about preserving women’s right to an abortion. “It’s important that women fight for their reproductive rights,” stated Anika Kumar ’25. “It’s terrifying that men are stripping away women’s right to choose whether they get an abortion or not,” added Kumar. 

Assemblymember Amy Paulin, the state representative for the district that includes Scarsdale, released a statement on May 4 regarding the draft opinion leak. She described the ruling as “devastating for women” and “unconscionable.” Paulin mentioned that during her “entire teenage and adult lifetime, [she has] fought to protect women, their right to privacy, and their right to control their bodies and lives.” Paulin also promised that she plans to do “everything [she] can… to protect women’s right to choose in New York.”

In terms of current legislation Paulin is attempting to pass, Maroon was told that there are two main bills Paulin is trying to get passed this session. One of the bills protects the assets of someone in New York who donates money to help women in Texas get an abortion. The other bill makes it easier for pharmacists to prescribe and distribute birth control to women.