In response to the leaking of what appears to be the first draft majority opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and overturn the constitutional right to abortion, The Cenury Foundation President Mark Zuckerman and Director of Health Care Reform Dr. Jamila Taylor issued the following statements:

Mark Zuckerman, President of The Century Foundation

“The draft opinion written by Justice Alito overturning abortion rights, if ultimately issued as written, would represent one of the most anti-women court decisions in American history, conjuring up nightmares of a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ nation, rather than one that respects the right of a woman to make her own health care decisions, control her own body, and determine her economic future. Reversing almost 50 years of Supreme Court legal precedents solely to advance a political agenda held by a minority of Americans does irreversible harm to our democracy and seriously undermines the integrity of the judicial branch.

“This decision, if issued by the court, would amount to a crisis of reproductive health care, with abortion likely becoming illegal in roughly half of U.S. states. The impact of such a ruling is almost unimaginable to fathom in its scope: forcing many women to go without the health care they desperately need, continue unwanted pregnancies, and in turn increase the likelihood of poor maternal health outcomes during a burgeoning maternal health crisis. Women and health care providers will be needlessly targeted and persecuted. And other fundamental rights that we once thought were sacred will suddenly be in legal limbo. The leak of this draft opinion is an early warning that a women’s right to privacy is ending. Congress must act immediately to protect abortion rights, even if it means creating an emergency exception to the U.S. Senate filibuster rule.

Dr. Jamila K. Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation

“If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which the leaked first draft opinion by Justice Alito suggests will happen, it will be one of the darkest days for women and birthing people in the modern history of this country. The draft decision by Justice Alito, while admittedly not final, sends a chilling message to pregnant people—and Black, Brown and low-income people in particular—that their bodily autonomy and fundamental right to privacy can be stripped by extreme conservative Justices seeking to turn back the clock on decades of women’s progress.

“The implications of overturning Roe are not theoretical: If this decision holds true, abortion will likely be banned in twenty-plus states, putting countless lives at immediate risk. This draft opinion, signed onto by four Justices who were appointed by presidents who didn’t even win the popular vote, realizes the worst fears for those of us in the reproductive justice community. It must be the catalyst for Congress to once and for all safeguard the rights and freedoms of women and pregnant people by codifying the right to abortion into law.”

TCF’s Disability Economic Justice Team, comprised of Rebecca Vallas, Kimberly Knackstedt, and Vilissa Thompson

“The leaked draft majority opinion overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is unconscionable. Should this draft opinion be the final decision of the court, millions of individuals across the country will have their access to necessary reproductive care stripped away. Those most marginalized in our communities will be most impacted; people of color, people who are low income, and people with disabilities will face insurmountable barriers to care when they already lacked access, in particular those who live in Southern and Midwest states ready to ban abortions. The health inequities already present in our communities will be further exacerbated by turning back the clock should this decision be finalized.

“At the core, reproductive rights are disability rights. Disability justice and reproductive justice are centered on bodily autonomy, individual choice, and decision-making. Disabled people, including all those who could become pregnant, must continue to have access to reproductive care, including supporting access to preventive care for endometriosis and fibroids, cancer screenings, reproductive technologies, contraception and access to women’s health clinics, in addition to the right to have or not have children and the right to raise any children in a safe, healthy, and supported space. In advancing disability economic justice, we must center reproductive justice and ensure access to health care for all, including access to abortions. It is time to unite together and ask Congress to protect the reproductive rights of all individuals, including disabled Americans.”

Pro-choice and anti-abortion activists protest alongside each other during a demonstration outside of the Supreme Court on October 04, 2021 in Washington, DC. Source: kevin dietsch/getty images