President Barack Obama And Michelle Obama Release Statement On Leaked Roe v. Wade Opinion

The U.S. Supreme Court could overturn a woman’s right to an abortion.

On May 3, a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion showed that justices have voted to overturn 1973's Roe v. Wade, which gives the constitutional protection of abortion rights. President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama have released a joint statement.

“Today, millions of Americans woke up fearing that their essential freedoms under the Constitution were at risk,” the  statement began.

“If the Supreme Court ultimately decides to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, then it will not only reverse nearly 50 years of precedent — it will relegate the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues.”

The statement continued, “Few, if any, women make the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually — and people of goodwill, across the political spectrum, can hold different views on the subject. But what Roe recognized is that the freedom enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution requires all of us to enjoy a sphere of our lives that isn’t subject to meddling from the state — a sphere that includes personal decisions involving who we sleep with, who we marry, whether or not to use contraception, and whether or not to bear children.”

RELATED: Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Draft: Here's What You Should Know

The Obamas also added, “As the court has previously determined, our freedoms are not unlimited — society has a compelling interest in other circumstances, for example, in protecting children from abuse or people from self-harm — and the framework constructed by Roe and subsequent Court decisions allowed legislatures to impose greater restrictions on abortion later in pregnancy. But this draft decision doesn’t seek to balance these interests. Instead, it simply forces folks to give up any constitutionally recognized interest in what happens to their body once they get pregnant. Under the Court’s logic, state legislatures could dictate that women carry every pregnancy to term, no matter how early it is and no matter what circumstances led to it — even rape or incest.”

The statement closed with, “A clear majority of Americans support Roe. Yet we recognize that while many are angry and frustrated by this report, some of those who support Roe may feel helpless and instinctively turn back to their work, or families, or daily tasks—telling themselves that because this outcome may have been predictable, there’s nothing any of us can do. If that’s you, we ask you to think about the college student waking up after her date forced her into unprotected sex. Think about the couple that tried to have children for years, who are without any options when faced with the tragic reality of an unviable pregnancy. Think of any of the hundreds of thousands of women each year who deserve the dignity and freedom of making a decision that is right for their bodies and their circumstances.”

The draft, exclusively obtained and reported by POLITICO, contains a 98-page majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in which he remarks, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

This essentially means that the right to terminate pregnancies would be determined by individual states, but would not be guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Striking down the Roe decision could lead to abortion bans in half of all states and have an impact on the midterm elections. However, POLITICO only received a draft copy, and it is not uncommon for justices to change their votes before an opinion is officially published.


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