Pro-life leaders around the nation are processing documents leaked on May 2 which indicate that the U.S. Supreme Court is about to overturn the 50-year-old ruling in Roe v. Wade – a decision that legalized abortion throughout the nation.
A leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s pending decision was obtained by Politico, showing that the high court has voted 5-4 to strike down the abortion ruling. Politico calls it a “gigantic victory for the pro-life movement.”
While the ruling has not been made official, many pro-life advocates are already celebrating. The case before the court is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which deals with Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” writes Justice Samuel Alito in the draft ruling that has not yet been officially promulgated. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”
He adds, that the court does not know how states will respond to their ruling but that cannot influence the decision.
“We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly,” Alito writes. “We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion … and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
But pro-life leaders in Alaska have long noted that a Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe would change nothing in a state where the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to “privacy” should be interpreted to mean that there is a fundamental right to abortion on demand.
By overruling Roe, the nation’s high court would essentially return the abortion question to each state to decide. Alaska’s Supreme Court has always sided with Planned Parenthood and abortion activists when it comes to placing any restrictions on the killing of pre-born Alaskans.
In an attempt to address the court’s insistence on abortion rights, Alaska Sen. Shelley Hughes introduced a resolution to amend the Alaska Constitution by explicitly clarifying that “to protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion.” Hughes’ bill has not yet passed the Senate. It currently sits in the Senate Finance Committee. Even if it does clear the Senate, it is unlikely to make it through the House, which is currently controlled by Democrats and a handful of left-leaning Republicans.
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Some pro-life advocates have argued that Alaska could address the abortion question through a constitutional convention. Every 10 years Alaskans are asked whether to call a Constitutional Convention. The next opportunity is this November. While Alaskans have never successfully convened a constitutional convention since statehood, there has been much more debate and discussion about the matter this year.
Others argue that the State Legislature needs to explicitly define what the “right to privacy” means in Alaska Constitution, and clarify that it does not entail abortion. The Legislature has the constitutional authority to define the “right to privacy.”
Several states, such as Texas, have already passed legislation that would essentially eliminate abortions once Roe is overturned. Last year the Texas Legislature approved a law that would go into effect 30 days after Roe v. Wade is struck down, making abortion a felony except in cases to save the life of the mother or avoid “substantial impairment of major bodily function.” Any doctor who ignores the law could face life in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
To see how various states are positioned to address the abortion question visit this national website called AfterRoe.