From lawmakers to preachers, everyone is talking about abortion in some way- or purposely avoiding it- after a leaked draft of an opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States set the internet ablaze. (Photos courtesy Unsplash by Toro Tseleng and Capital News Service)

By AFRO Staff

A leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion expected to overturn the historic decision in the Roe v. Wade case from 1973 has divided the nation. Proponents of the pro-life movement, in support of strict abortion laws and even abortion bans, were pleased to see the document leaked on May 3 by POLITICO. 

Pro-choice advocates in favor of abortion have decried Judge Samuel Alito’s majority opinion that Roe must be overturned with the decision on abortion left to the states. 

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” said Alito, in the draft of the majority opinion of the Court. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The reaction to POLITICO’s release of the draft was immediate and Black Americans and their leadership fell on both sides of the debate.

All women must have control over their bodies regardless of where they live – we cannot forget that ending legal abortion won’t end abortion, it will just make it more dangerous especially for Black and Brown women and poor women who will be faced with terrible, unsafe decisions when they cannot miss work or travel to states where abortion is legal,” said former Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D- MD-4). “Elections have consequences and Congress must respond with the urgency that this moment requires. Abortion isn’t just a health issue, it’s also an economic issue. We must protect the fundamental right of women to make decisions for their future. The Senate must take action and finish the job the House started after passing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021.”

Edwards continued, saying that “as a political party that relies on the votes and hard work of women, especially women of color, we must show up in meaningful ways to defend them. Now.” 

On Sept. 1, 2021, the state of Texas banned the practice of abortion, a procedure to remove a fetus from the mother’s womb. 

According to the leaked documents, the case at the crux of the current draft opinion is a case that began in response to a Mississippi case. 

Last month, Maryland lawmakers went to bat for expanded abortion service in the State.

In a letter to Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stated that he had vetoed HB 937 entitled the “Abortion Care Access Act.”

“As governor, I have upheld my commitment to take no action that would affect Maryland law where it concerns reproductive rights. With this action, I am reaffirming that commitment,” Gov. Hogan said, in his statement announcing a veto of proposed legislation on April 8.  “House Bill 937 endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perforin abortions. The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland. These procedures are complex and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.”

Hogan said that his concerns were related to the education and training of professionals  performing the service, because “unlike nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, and licensed certified midwives,” licensed physicians are “uniquely qualified to perform these procedures and resolve any medical complications should they arise.”

Maryland lawmakers chose to override the governor on April 9. 

Abortion has been a hot-button topic and once again the country is talking about a woman’s right to end a pregnancy via abortion- and the court’s right to regulate access.

 “A decision overturning Roe also has broader implications for our modern society, ​threatening the rights of all Americans to make private decisions about their lives without government interference and endangering the hard-fought rights of LGBTQ Americans,” Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said. “The Supreme Court is about to take a deep dive into politics, something it appropriately and historically avoids.  As citizens, it is more important than ever that we demand better from those who hold power in our institutions and that we hold our elected officials accountable for their role in protecting our rights.” 

Project 21, a diverse collaborative effort between Black leaders, put out a statement in praise of the leaked draft opinion, which they consider a major pro-life win.

Project 21 member, insurance agent and former Republican state lawmaker Mike Hill, of Florida’s 1st District, said “Finally, the disproportionate murder of preborn black babies can come to an end.”

“Per capita, more preborn innocent black babies are murdered in the womb than any other segment in America. Margaret Sanger’s eugenics agenda and its devastating effect on Black America are coming to a bloody end, ” Hill continued. “Now the battle shifts to the state level.” 

Former New York City Councilman (D-NY-18) and Pentecostal minister Rev. Ruben Diaz wrote a statement in response to the leaked decision. “The results of Roe vs. Wade have been devastating to this country.  It has divided the American people and has ended the lives of more than 12 million unborn children, since 1973 when the Supreme Court decision was made.” 

On Twitter, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.) said, “I remember the realities women faced pre-Roe. If Roe is banned, women will senselessly die from back-alley abortions. The fact that Republicans are fine-trading women’s safety so they can control their bodies is a disturbing reminder about what’s at stake. We must codify Roe now.”

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