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Lori Lightfoot, the Democrat lesbian mayor of Chicago, took to Twitter Monday to warn others in the LGBTQ+ community that the Supreme Court would be “coming after us next,” following the leaked draft opinion striking down the key abortion precedent Roe v. Wade (1973).
“To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter. “This moment has to be a call to arms. We will not surrender our rights without a fight—a fight to victory!”
Lightfoot had announced an initiative to make Chicago an “island of reproductive freedom” and a “safe haven” for abortion in the Midwest earlier Monday. Her “Justice For All Pledge” dedicates $500,000 towards access to abortion in her city, including transportation and lodging for women coming in from out of state.
Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed last week that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was genuine – although the draft dates back to February, and it does not represent the current or final opinion of the Court. In the draft, Alito strikes down Roe v. Wade, which struck down state laws across the country, and allows states to again make their own laws on abortion.
Other Democrats have also predicted that the overturning of Roe v. Wade may prompt the overturning of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the case in which the Supreme Court codified same-sex marriage.
President Biden claimed on Tuesday that the “underlying premise” of the leaked draft Dobbs opinion “basically says all the decisions related to your private life — who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions” would be fair game for legislating because Roe affirmed a right to privacy encompassing abortion.
He asked, “does this mean that in Florida they can decide they’re going to pass a law saying that same-sex marriage is not permissible, that it’s against the law in Florida?”
The president on Wednesday again suggested that the Dobbs opinion would impact the LGBT community.
He cited Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), in which the Court guaranteed the right to contraception in marriage, as under threat. In remarks Wednesday, he asked, “What happens if you have — a state changes the law saying that — that children who are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children? Is that — is that legit under the way the decision is written?”
Some have even mentioned Loving v. Virginia (1967), in which the Court struck down bans on interracial marriage.
Yet Alito’s draft opinion explicitly states that it would not impact Griswold or Obergefell or Loving. Alito notes that Roe cites Griswold, and that supporters of Roe cite Obergefell to defend the abortion precedent.
“What sharply distinguishes the abortion right from the rights recognized in the cases on which Roe and [the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey] rely is something that both those decisions acknowledged: Abortion destroys what those decisions call ‘potential life’ and what the law at issue in this case regards as the life of an ‘unborn human being,’” Alito wrote.
“None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion,” the justice added. “They do not support the right to obtain an abortion, and by the same token, our conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right does not undermine them in any way.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial board also noted that Americans have a broad consensus on the moral acceptability of birth control (92%, according to Gallup), Black-White marriages (94%, according to Gallup), and even on the legal status of same-sex marriages (70%, according to Gallup). Meanwhile, Americans are split on abortion – with some favoring a full ban on the practice, others supporting it in every circumstance, and a majority supporting it in some but not all circumstances.
While many polls suggest Americans support Roe, in-depth polling reveals a more complicated picture. When asked about their opinion on abortion during specific periods of pregnancy and other situations, 71% of Americans say they support restricting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (22%), or in other limited circumstances such as rape and incest (28%), to save the life of the mother (9%) or not at all (12%). Only 17% of Americans said abortion should be available during an entire pregnancy and 12% said it should be restricted to the first six months.