As Politico reported on May 2, a leaked draft majority opinion shows that the Supreme Court may have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade -- a devastating potential move by the court that will overturn 49 years of legal abortion access and usher in an era of dismantled protections of hard-fought freedoms. But right-wing media are focusing on the leak, saying it is an “insurrection” and an act of “terrorism” against the court, rather than discussing how the potential decision would affect millions of people.
The court’s decision will impact a number of people (including Republicans) who get abortions, and recent (and repeated) polling has shown that most Americans oppose overturning Roe. But many in right-wing media still decided to dishonestly focus on the leak itself rather than the contents of the leaked draft. In fact, they claimed the leak actually spells the end of democracy as we know it and is worse than the actual insurrection that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Here are a few examples:
- Fox contributor Ari Fleischer called the leak “an insurrection against the Supreme Court.”
- Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk:
- Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter:
- Far-right influencer Jack Posobiec:
- RealClearInvestigations’ Mark Hemingway:
- Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley on Fox & Friends:
- The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh:
To be clear, legal abortion access in this country is already becoming inaccessible for people in a few states. For example, Texas banned nearly all abortions in September, and it’s already had wide-ranging impacts. As author Robin Marty and abortion rights advocate recently wrote in the Financial Times:
It has been more than seven months since Texas banned almost all abortions, and only now are we seeing the true effects of that law.
The media has been full of stories of patients leaving the state to terminate a pregnancy: an 800 per cent increase at Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma, a flood of patients into Colorado, pregnant women travelling all of the way to Chicago, Washington, DC and New York for care. Now, the first pregnant person has just been arrested (and released) over suspicion of managing her own miscarriage. With the nine-month anniversary of this ban drawing close, we are also about to see the impact on those forced to give birth because they couldn’t gain access to an abortion.
But when the Supreme Court releases its final decision, 13 states will quickly or automatically ban abortion due to trigger laws on the books. In the immediate aftermath, a total of 26 states will likely ban abortion.
Right-wing media have claimed it’s not a big deal that Roe is overturned and abortion access is returned to the states. But anti-abortion organizations and politicians are ready for the next phase: fighting abortion access on the state level and pushing for a nationwide abortion ban in Congress. Roe will no longer be there to protect people against either of those scenarios.
The leak is not the story, and right-wing media’s attempt to make it thus is underhanded and should be seen for what it is -- a distraction as the Supreme Court hacks away at our rights.
Clarification (5/3/22): The language in this piece has been updated for clarity.