What Are Your Rights: Supreme Court Draft Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade

Recorded on May 4, 2022

A leaked draft by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade could be changing legal precedent that as of now dates back half a century. Managing partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is on CBS6 to help explain this legal issue.

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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: Welcome back. Now, as we were talking about at the start of the newscast, a leaked draft by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade could be changing legal precedent that as of now dates back half a century. Here to explain this legal issue is managing partner, Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, can you help us understand what the original case of Roe v. Wade was all about and what it stood for?

Paul: Well, in a nutshell, Roe v. Wade was a… It came about as a case in Texas. Texas passed a law that said, no abortions unless the abortion is needed to save the mother’s life. Well, that went to the Supreme Court in the ’70s, and the Supreme Court looked at this and said, “No, no, no, we’re not gonna make that criminal… In fact, we’re gonna overturn that law, and then we’re gonna write a decision, which seemed to imply that the country now has to follow these rules,” which they did, that if you’re gonna have an abortion, it has to be in later term. It can’t be early-term regulated by the state. And that is the current law as of today.

Interviewer: Okay, so can you tell us a little about the current case that the Supreme Court is prepared to rule on?

Paul: Right. So Dobbs, you know, versus Women’s Health, and it was a case, it’s Mississippi, and they said, “Hey, any abortion after 15 weeks is gonna be illegal.” It was appealed. Went to the Supreme Court. The normal sanctity of the Supreme Court, who we never know what they’re gonna do. Well, sure enough, there was a draft released, which seemed to imply that they were going to uphold the Mississippi law, which would change abortion rights in this country from the day that they issued that decision.

Interviewer: So, if this decision, as of right now, isn’t final, how did the public become aware of the court’s intentions? And is there any chance that the court could possibly reverse course on it?

Paul: So, you know, if there was a leak, right, somebody within the court says to leak something, which is really an unprecedented thing, but they got the word out, anything can change. A draft is a draft. But usually what they do is the majority opinion rights a draft, circulates it, tries to get unanimity, tries to get everybody to agree to it. So, yes, it could be a change, but looking at the opinion, which is available for everyone to read, I think what they’re gonna do is they’re gonna say, “Look here, guys, state issue. We’re gonna back off federally. You, states, you elect your legislator, you elect your governors, you voted the people that you want to do what you want. We don’t see it as a constitutional issue, so we as the federal government, in this case, Supreme Court, we’re gonna back off.”

Interviewer: All right and a last question that we have is, how do you see this affecting abortion rights nationwide? I mean, it seems like, you know, states basically get the call here or would get the call.

Paul: Yeah, I see that’s exactly what’s gonna happen. So you’re gonna have states that are going to…you know, they’re gonna control their… And again, just because they pass a law doesn’t mean that can’t still be appealed to the Supreme Court, but they’re gonna be passing laws as to what they think their population wants. But the truth be told, what are we gonna have? We’re gonna have some states that are gonna say that it’s gonna be very limited or no abortion. We’re gonna have states that can be really liberal, so we’re gonna have people, kind of, crossing borders and making trips, if they can, to get what they think they need. And so, I see this as being a tremendous amount of confusion, but maybe just part of our democratic process.

Interviewer: The Supreme Court is expected to release its final official opinion in June or July. For more information covered in our weekly “What Are Your Rights” segment that you just watched, or to send us a story idea, just go to cbs6albany.com.

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