EXPLAINER: SCOTUS leaked draft on abortion

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - In the wake of the Supreme Court possibly overturning Roe v. Wade, News Leader 9 talked with a legal professor, who specializes in Supreme Court cases. We asked him to give us insight on how this decision could affect states, specifically Georgia and Alabama.

News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams talked to Dr. Allen Linken with the University of Alabama who said this all comes down to the Constitution’s 14th amendment, and the discrepancies of the words ‘liberty’ and ‘privacy.’ He said if this initial draft passes the Supreme Court, it will ultimately come down to each state setting the bar for abortion laws.

“If it is not a federal constitution right, if it’s not a right of people of the U.S., and it’s a right of citizens of any given state, then the state can protect those rights,” Linken said.

Georgia lawmakers passed a heartbeat law in 2019, meaning abortions are illegal after a heartbeat is detected in a fetus. This, usually around six weeks depending on the case. That same year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a similar law banning abortions after the 18 to 20 week mark. A federal judge later blocked the legislation in Georgia... but that could all change if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

“When the Supreme court moves the Federal right from the 1st trimester to the floor of zero, removes it completely, the states can also agree,” Linked said. “They can’t lower than that but they can be with it. A lot of states when they passed laws in the past 3 years, they passed laws if the Supreme Court laws are here, they were here, which is unconstitutional.”

... many states were banking on the Federal laws changing. In fact, multiple states in the southeast already have passed legislation that would ban or restrict abortions, including neighboring South Carolina and Tennessee.

“If you have three or four states in a row that all say abortion is not a fundamental right therefore we are a state that is not going to allow any abortion at all,” Linken explained. “It then becomes much harder to travel not just an hour away to a doctors appointment, but four states away.”

Out of the 9 Supreme Court Justices, there are six conservative justices on the Supreme Court: One of them is the Chief Justice.

“I think it’s likely that the Chief Justice votes with the liberals and the case is 5-4,” Linken told us. “The case should be released to the public as officially decided late June, very early July.”

Important to note, this draft of the decision is just that: a draft. An official decision from the Supreme Court was not expected until this summer.

Right now, an investigation is likely underway to determine how this draft was leaked in the first place.

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