Reflections on the Alito Draft Leak of May 2, 2022
The May 2 article in Politico has caused quite a stir: a leaked February 10 draft of a proposed opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson. The draft says that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and explicitly overturns Roe v. Wade and Casey. Here we offer a variety of responses.
The Work Ahead
Excerpt from Statement of Democrats for Life of America, a CLN member group
Kristen Day, Executive Director
The Court clearly made a mistake 50 years ago when it took away these decisions from the people, and now we as a nation are so polarized that we forget that there are real people involved. This should not be about the next election. This should be about women, their families, and their children.
Many states have chosen to eliminate health and safety regulations governing abortion in response to the possibility that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe. They have voted to allow non-doctors to perform abortions on women. They have lowered their regulatory oversight of chemical abortions. Mail-order abortion pills have inflicted significant trauma on many women who used them and even sent them to emergency rooms.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have states limiting abortion from 6 weeks to 20 weeks. Still, some of those states lack the infrastructure to connect pregnant women with available resources to help them stay in school, continue their careers or have essential resources to support their growing families. More needs to be done in this regard.
Excerpt from Statement of Feminists for Life of America, a CLN member group
Serrin Foster, President
Angry voices are masking so much pain. Efforts by big corporations to pay employees to travel to “abortion destination states” will only create a new generation of women who mourn or mask their pain.
And using poor women and women of color to defend abortion is unacceptable. Nothing is more racist than abortion. Their children are just as precious as any other.
Economic justice does not come from women laying their bodies down for brutal procedures or taking a series of poisonous pills to accommodate unsupportive administrators, bosses, or partners.
On the Streets
Excerpt from Response from Rehumanize International, a CLN member group
Herb Geraghty, Executive Director
Since the news broke, our team has been a presence outside the court nearly nonstop — staying out until past 2 AM and heading back at 8 AM the next morning. As a result, our secular, nonpartisan, and consistently pro-life message has been shared by media to millions of viewers. In this moment it is more critical than ever that our paradigm-shifting ideas are heard far and wide . . .
At many points, our small group were the only pro-life voices present outside the court — that means if we weren’t there, the media would only be able to report on the desperate talking points of the profit-hungry abortion industrial complex. The Supreme Court’s decision is not yet final — and the pro-abortion movement is working very hard to manufacture enough public pressure on key justices to intimidate them into changing their minds.
We must not allow the abortion industrial complex to take control of the narrative. We must use this time to lend our voices to the cause of justice for the unborn.
This witness has not been easy. We have faced more violence from pro-abortion protesters outside the court than ever before. I have been intentionally elbowed, pushed, shoved, hit on the head with signs, and had water thrown at me. I have had multiple signs ripped out of my hands and ripped up in front of my face or thrown far away into a crowd. I have seen my fellow activists punched, slammed in the head with megaphones, pulled to the ground, and even groped. Of course, as always, we have responded with nothing but nonviolence and de-escalation tactics.
Blog post – After Roe: A World beyond Abortion?
Aimee Murphy, Rehumanize International founder
I encourage my pro-life friends and colleagues to share a bold proposal for holistic, human-centered restorative justice after abortion with their communities, legislators, and leaders. Punitive, dehumanizing, and vengeful justice within our current retributive model is incongruous with human dignity. As pro-lifers we should understand that our retributive justice system — which only compounds and multiplies trauma and harm — can never be a human-centered, healing response to the communal pain and trauma of abortion. Instead, we need to see holistic, comprehensive community-based care for pregnant people, their prenatal children, and their families. Let’s build a world beyond abortion: protect the preborn in the law, and ensure families have the food, housing, childcare, healthcare, living wage, and paid leave to choose life and parent confidently.
I support restorative justice after abortion. I want to see healing for all who have suffered at the hands of the abortion industrial complex and their dehumanizing lies. I want to see healing for those who have chosen abortion and suffered the loss of their own child, or for those who mourn lost siblings, cousins, or other family members. I want to see healing for the clinic workers, the abortionists, and the corporations who participated in abortions, who should be given the space to come to terms with their complicity and openly grieve the children killed and missing today due to the violence of abortion. I want to see a justice system that acknowledges the loss of countless preborn children, helps offenders make restitution for the harm done, and more than anything that works together with families and communities to heal and make abortion unthinkable by providing the resources that will end the “demand” for this violent procedure.
Kevin D. Williamson
National Review, May 5, 2022
Kevin is not a consistent-lifer, but makes good points here. National Review accounts itself conservative in the William F. Buckley tradition.
The desire to punish is distinct from the desire to protect — it is rooted in an entirely different psychology and it produces very different policy prescriptions. If, as seems likely, Roe v. Wade is vacated and the matter of abortion regulation is properly returned to the state legislatures, we should be mindful of that difference and emphasize protection over punishment when crafting our statutes . . .
As I often observe, we Americans are not the Swiss — or even the Germans or the Dutch. We are not an especially ruly or easily governed people, as witnessed by our unusually high homicide rates . . . So it is unlikely that we will achieve 100 percent compliance with any abortion prohibitions we enact.
. . . even if we assume that every single one of the abortions that happen in the United States in a typical year (estimates vary, but probably around 850,000) would otherwise result in a pregnancy subsidized by Medicaid or another government program, this would not add up to a great deal of money — probably less than half a day’s worth of Social Security spending. If additional support for vulnerable mothers is required, then that is a bearable cost. As with practically every other welfare initiative, our problem there is going to be program design and administration, not resources.
Where There’s Value to the Leak
Excerpt from There’s an upside to the Alito draft leak
Mercatornet, May 6, 2022
Richard Stith, CLN Board member
If a snarky, plotting, election-related draft had been revealed, that would have truly delegitimated the court. But in the draft one only finds very solid scholarship . . .
Why should close reading, historical insight and an abundance of footnotes delegitimate the Court?
As a pro-life writer, I actually was a bit disappointed in the draft’s content. It contains no mention of the horror of abortion . . . it doesn’t mention any of the arguments that abortion hurts women . . .
[T]he leak has a silver lining. People will read through the draft opinion with greater care than they would ordinarily lavish on an actual Supreme Court opinion, where only the final result matters . . . And people find it plain exciting to read stuff that’s supposed to be secret.
Here is some evidence for my silver lining. The Washington Post yesterday published an annotated albeit somewhat simplified version of the text. I thought that both the abridgment and the textual comments were remarkably fair-minded, really devoted only to explicating Alito’s reasoning, not to unfairly debunking it.
Others are no doubt doing what the Washington Post did. This will soften support for Roe. If more and more people learn what an unfounded opinion it was, they will have less reverence for it . . .
But maybe advance titillation is slightly better than a done-and-dusted announcement in June.
If Roe Is Overturned, Where Should the Pro-Life Movement Go Next? – in this New York Times article, Tish Harrison Warren does another excellent roundup of several viewpoints.
The Price of Roe – our website showing how Roe has sabotaged peace and justice and equality goals.
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