BASF Statement on Leaked Opinion Authored by Justice Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
May 4, 2022, San Francisco—On Monday night, political news outlet Politico sent shock waves across the nation when it published a leaked draft opinion of the Supreme Court overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the fundamental right to abortion for women. A majority on the Court now appears ready to dismantle Roe and its progeny, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This would send abortion back to the states, a majority of which are poised to impose draconian bans.
The draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in the Dobbs case would, for the first time, reverse an individual constitutional right. “For almost 50 years, women have relied on Roe to make some of the most private, deeply personal, and intimate decisions of their lives. This right is central to women’s very personhood, to the control of their own bodies,” said Mary McNamara, President of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Justice and Diversity Center.
If the Court proceeds to reverse Roe and Casey, forced pregnancy and unwilled procreation will be a reality for many women in states across the country. Only those with the resources and the ability to travel from their homes (for many, hundreds of miles) to another state will be able to obtain reproductive justice. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and reproductive choice are inextricably linked. For some domestic violence survivors, the abuse begins while they are pregnant. For others, reproductive coercion results in forced pregnancy. In either case, traveling to another state for abortion services may not be a safe or realistic option. Reversing Roe will disproportionately affect the poor, women who have been raped or abused, and women and families struggling to care for their existing children.
And the Supreme Court’s apparent willingness to reverse itself on a fundamental constitutional right threatens other constitutional rights, such as the right of gay people to marry, the right of interracial couples to marry, the right to contraception. The Bar Association of San Francisco stands for the rights of women and for liberty and justice for all people. “BASF applauds CA Governor Gavin Newsom for proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in the California constitution,” said Yolanda Jackson, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Executive Director of the Justice and Diversity Center. BASF calls on the Supreme Court to honor its well-established precedent and to reaffirm Roe and Casey.
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.