Leaked Supreme Court decision would overturn Roe v. Wade: Experts weigh in

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Tonight we look at a major Supreme Court decision that was leaked. The U.S. Supreme Court usually releases its blockbuster decisions in June as the session comes to a close. But a “draft” opinion indicating that the court will overturn Roe v. Wade abortion rights was leaked yesterday, and Chief Justice John Roberts today confirmed its validity. We begin our coverage by looking at the legal aspects of all this.

1. Paul Bender, Professor, ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Stephen Montoya, an attorney at Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A.

How rare is it that a draft of a majority opinion is leaked?

“Extremely rare. I do not know of another time that something like this has happened. We may leak information about what it’s going to say, but I’ve never seen–I don’t remember a time when a whole majority opinion has been circulated to the justices for them to sign onto it has been leaked,” Paul Bender, Professor, ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law said.

“It’s unprecedented,” Stephen Montoya, an attorney at Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A. said. “And also this is a unique circumstance though, because I was also thinking, when has the court reversed an opinion, of 50 years standing, 49 years, that expanded rights? It has reversed long-standing opinions that were restricting rights, Plessy vs. Ferguson, but I don’t think this has ever happened before in the court’s history.”

2. Cathi Herrod/Pres., Center for Arizona Policy

Your statement after the opinion was leaked: “The pro-life movement will be ready to serve women facing unplanned pregnancies and their babies.” Will you now push at the legislature for more of those kinds of services?

“The pro-life movement in Arizona is ready to help women in need, to take care of the women and babies, so I think we’ll see an outpouring of support from the private sector, from the faith-based sector, who are there to help women in need,” she said. “No woman will go through this alone.”

3. Rep. Athena Salman/(D) Legislative District 26

What changes for women and families in Arizona once this decision is made final?

“First and foremost… today, right now… abortion is still legal,” she said. She added that if the decision is finalized in its current state, Arizona will be one of the states where abortion is illegal.

4. Doug Cole, Highground Inc. and Chris Herstam, Political consultant

On a scale of 1-10, how bad is this?

“It’s a 9.9,” he said. He also pointed out that it is “very possible for a person to be against abortion, and also pro choice. Even though personally they are against abortion, they believe that individuals should have the right to determine whether to have a child or not.”

“9.5-9.9. It is bringing an issue that has been settled for nearly 50 years. In fact, Ted, we don’t even poll abortion – we haven’t for years – because it has been a settled issue for years,” Herstam said.


Paul Bender, Professor, ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Stephen Montoya/Attorney, Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A.; Cathi Herrod/Pres., Pres.,Center for Arizona Policy

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