A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. It’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court’s secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided. (AP Photo/Anna Johnson)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah’s elected representatives are united in their reaction to what appears to be a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Protecting the sanctity of life is among my greatest responsibilities in Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT). “If a variation of this draft opinion ends up becoming the U.S. Supreme Court’s final ruling, as I pray it does, it will be a major step forward in restoring the authority of the people’s representatives to regulate abortion.”
Moore was referring to a leaked internal memo that revealed that Justice Samuel Alito and colleagues Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas have voted in closed sessions to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationally.
That memo was obtained by the non-partisan blog POLITICO and since has been confirmed to represent the will of the court by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Although Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) agrees with Moore, he expressed dismay over the leak.
“The breach of the court deliberate process, however, is an appalling affront to a critical institution,” Romney explained in a statement issue by his office. “It should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished.”
POLITICO would only say that their source for the draft document was a person familiar with the High Court’s proceedings in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a pending case from Mississippi that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“To violate an understanding that has held for the entire modern history of the court – seeking to place outside pressure on the court and the justices themselves – is dangerous, despicable and damaging,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in a published statement.
Early in his career, Lee clerked for Alito on the federal bench and understands the enormity of the situation.
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” according to Roberts. “The work of the court will not be affected in any way.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart pointed out that, even if the draft opinion becomes law, it would not ban abortion.
“It would rightfully return power to you, the American people,” Stewart tweeted. “You should debate the abortion laws in this country and your state should make its own decision.”
But the left-leaning Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion rights, says that 26 states have trigger laws on the books that will ban or severely limit abortions.
Perhaps sensing this situation, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 3755 in September of 2021. That radical legislation would have legalized abortion on demand until birth.
“I was disheartened that Democrats in Congress voted for abortion on demand until birth,” said Moore.
Thankfully, Moore added, that resolution went nowhere in the evenly divided U.S. Senate.
“I believe that our country can and must do far better for the most vulnerable members of our society,” Moore concluded.
Here in Utah, the trigger law is Senate Bill 174, which passed and was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2020.
That legislation prohibits abortion in most cases, but still allows that procedure in cases of rape or incest, birth defects or if the mother’s life is at risk.