Last night, Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward leaked a purported draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns both Roe and Casey—on the heels of congressional Republicans preparing to take the Texas abortion ban nationwide.
Yes, you read that correctly. The moment we’ve been warning about is here.
Politico’s reporting of a leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion that fully overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey—written by the ultimate civil rights troll Samuel Alito and confirmed Tuesday morning in a statement by Chief Justice John Roberts—took my breath away.
The conservative justices were deadly serious when they suggested during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health back in December that they were open to entirely rewriting abortion rights jurisprudence. We should take them at their word, even if that word is, for the moment, a leaked draft opinion.
But there’s more. Republicans are already making plans based on that leaked draft opinion.
How do I know this? For starters, as the Washington Post reported this week, while abortion-friendly states look to shore up protections while they can, leading anti-abortion advocacy groups and their congressional buddies have been meeting behind the scenes to hash out a strategy for taking Texas’ near-total abortion ban nationwide.
Energized by the Supreme Court allowing Texas SB 8 to take effect in September and anticipating a big win in the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, some Senate Republicans are reportedly looking to advance a bill that would ban abortion nationwide as soon as fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks in pregnancy.
We need to believe Republicans when they say banning abortion nationwide will be a top priority if they take power in 2024. And we also need to remember that they have a history of changing the rules to get their way (remember Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland?), and prepare for the very real possibility that the 2024 presidential fight will be all about abortion.
Conservatives love to project their plans, and this plan to ban abortion across the country—states’ rights be damned—is one of their top priorities.
In fact, the conservative propaganda machine is already grinding out there on this strategy. Last week the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed expressly calling on the Court to overturn Roe in the Mississippi case. In a piece titled “Abortion and the Supreme Court,” the Journal’s editorial board really goes for it: “This is the moment for the Justices to return the issue to the voters.”
Here’s the key bit:
Far better for the Court to leave the thicket of abortion regulation and return the issue to the states. A political uproar would ensue, but then voters would decide on abortion policy through elections—starting in November. … In Dobbs the Court can say that such a profound moral question should be decided by the people, not by nine unelected judges.
A central piece of anti-choice propaganda is that overturning Roe would simply “send abortion back to the states” and that would be the end of that, as the Journal’s editorial board suggests. But in the span of less than a week, conservative activists have proven this is a lie by forecasting their plans for a nationwide ban that absolutely removes abortion from the states entirely.
We’ll see a lot more of this kind of presto chango nonsense from conservatives once the Court releases its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health and the fallout accelerates. Trust that I’m going to call it out every time.
This was first published in The Fallout. Subscribe to our newsletter here to get expert repro analysis sent directly to your inbox.