The majority of abortion patients have at least one child. We spoke to seven mothers about the leaked ruling, which would invalidate abortion rights.
Late Monday night, a copy of a Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe V Wade was leaked. This indicates that the Supreme Court is likely to repeal the constitutional right to access abortion that has been protected ever since 1973.
The majority of people who have an abortion are parents. 60% of those who had one or more children in 2019 according to data from 43 states. According to the Guttmacher Institute (a research organization that supports access and care for abortion), 59% of all abortion patients had at most one child in 2014.
Any changes in abortion laws will be a matter of parenting.
The draft was written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, obtained by Politico and states that it is now time to "heed the Constitution" and return the question of abortion to the elected representatives.
According to the draft, Roe v. Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that gave federal and constitutional protections to access abortion services prior to fetal viability at around 23 weeks gestation) and Planned Parenthood.v. Casey (the 1992 decision that preserved the right) should be overturned.
Justice Alito stated that Roe was "egregiously wrong" from the beginning. "Its reasoning is extremely weak and the decision has had devastating consequences."
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts released a statement following the leak of the draft. He confirmed that it was authentic and condemned the leak. The Court has not issued an official ruling on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. This includes the decision to repeal Roe and Casey. Justice Roberts stated that the draft does NOT mean the Court will automatically make such a ruling. It is possible that the votes of justices could be changed.
All 50 states currently allow abortions.
According to the Pew Research Center non-partisan, six in ten Americans support accessing abortion care. A reported one in four women, as well as trans people, will have an abortion at some point in their lives.
According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF) report, 66% of women who had an abortion plan to have children later in life and are financially more stable. The majority of abortion patients also have at least one child at home.
TODAY Parents contacted seven mothers who had an abortion and asked them their reactions to the possible Supreme Court decision that would reverse Roe v. Wade. Some moms went on to work or volunteer for abortion funds or other reproductive justice organizations. To protect their privacy, some asked for their last names to be withheld. We have edited their comments to be more concise and clear.
Maleeha Aziz, 28, Texas
"My first reaction was shock even though it was obvious that it was happening. It's different when you have a visual. I felt shock, horror, and sadness.
"My ability to have an abortion is what made me a mother. My first abortion would have prevented me from having my daughter today. I was able to plan in a stable, healthy environment. Both of my abortions were very successful.
"I thought it would be easy to get an abortion, but I was wrong. It was extremely traumatizing, and I experienced so much trauma at the crisis pregnancy centre that I visited.
"I am very grateful that I was able, despite all the obstacles, to find a way and was supported by so many loved one to have an abortion. I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't had the abortion. If I had made it this far, I would have been forced to raise my child in an unhealthy environment. It was a child I didn't want. I wouldn't have gone to college. I would have no income. I don’t know what kinda living situation I would find.
"I would not have the life that I have today if it wasn't for my first abortion. My daughter, whom I love so deeply, would have been impossible without me.
Jessica Blankenship, 35, New York
"I was surprised, but angry. I was hoping that Roe would fall, but I was surprised at how angry and sad it made me feel.
"Without my abortion I don't know if I would still be alive. The man who had me impregnated me was later very abusive to me. If I'd been a father by him and been tied with him,... I don't know. I wouldn't have the opportunity to create the life I now have, with the emotional and material resources that I can give my child.
His motherhood has been a life-changing experience. Without my abortion years prior to his birth, it would have never happened. Also, I know that having an abortion at the time I was pregnant with him was a major factor in how I felt about that pregnancy. I chose to be his mom. This element of choice completely reframes the way you experience all the hardships, exhaustion, and joy that comes with being a mother.
"If I had to endure those same things, it would have been totally unacceptable. It is wonderful to choose to be a mom. Without abortion access, you can re-contextualize the experience of mothers who have no choice but to become pregnant.
"I think about it a lot."
Hannah Matthews, 34, Maine
"I am gutted. It was obvious, and we even anticipated a similar timeline.
"But to witness the hateful, ignorant rhetoric, denigrations of settled law, the right of Americans bodily autonomy, privacy in their healthcare, and the total lack respect for people who have uteruses, and by extension, their children, was shattering.
"Most people who have had an abortion are already having children. Many more have children after the abortions. They are therefore familiar with the responsibilities of parenting, childbirth, pregnancy.
"My abortion allowed me to care for my baby in all the right ways."
Hilary, 39, Washington
"My heart has just dropped. It's demoralizing, and it makes me feel very emotional. It's frightening to me that women are being attacked and deprived of their bodies, lives, health and choices.
"I had my first abortion at 19 years of age. I worked in a poor retail job, but I was able get medical coupons to help pay for it. I was able go to the clinic to receive the right health care treatment. Because I was able get my life in the place I wanted, I am now the mother of a 2-year old.
"I was also able go to college. After I received my master's degree, my husband proposed to me and we were married. We were married for several years before we decided to have children.
"I have a boy, so this will affect him in different ways. This also affects men. It's possible that he won't be able make the best decisions for his partner and will not be able decide what is best for them both. That's scary. Being a parent is a big responsibility. It's also a major commitment. You should be able and willing to take on this responsibility.
It's beautiful to be a parent. But it's also one of the most difficult things I've ever done. It's a blessing that I was able make that decision when I could. That is what I want for my children."
Paige Alexandria, 31, Texas
"Hearing the news was a terrible experience. Although we all knew it was coming, it isn't any easier to accept the truth. We who live in hostile abortion states have been living in a post Roe world for years. We know that our government officials cannot protect us. We can only count on one another.
"For months, thousands have been forced to leave their home states while others have had the option to continue with pregnancies that they were not ready for. People who live in states that have enacted trigger bans will wake up in Texas when Roe is repealed. Because we have been living it since September last year, we know what the end result will be.
"My abortion enabled me to become the parent I am today. We parents know what our limits are when it comes expanding our family. And we know this better than the old white men who passed these extreme bills. No matter if someone disagrees with me, they should not be denied the right to make informed decisions for themselves.
Megan, 31 years old, New Jersey
"My initial reaction was numbness. It was both a lack surprise and deep sadness.
"And there is so much happening in the world right at this moment, so this feels just another layer, yet another huge thing that we have to deal with collectively. Even though it seemed inevitable, hearing this news is quite exhausting.
"I was 23 years old when I had my abortion. I felt pretty burdened by the stigma. I lived in a state that allowed me to have a medication abortion. It was that moment when I felt so unprepared to become a parent. Today, I have a 2-year old and sometimes I feel unprepared to parent.
"I've been able for the last eight years to be the professional I'm at the level I'm at. I and my husband have been able offer our daughter a life that feels like the one we'd want. Not the life I was living before I had an abortion.
"I wasn't sober when I was 23 and I decided to get sober three years ago. I am so happy that I was able enter parenthood after being sober from alcohol. I was not ready to become a parent at 23. I still drink heavily.
"I am now in a place where I am so happy having a child. "Back then, I wasn't."
Andrea*, 40, Texas
"I am an attorney so I have been following this closely and I was not surprised by any stretch. However, hearing (Alito)'s words was shocking. It was also disgusting. I felt disgusted.
"I felt a very visceral reaction. It was like I was failing my daughters. This right was given to us as children, and we have adapted to it. My daughters now face the risk of having their bodily autonomy hampered in a way I have never seen. It really upset me.
"I had my abortion just two days before Texas' six-week ban. Although I was still very early in my pregnancy, we had to hurry to get it done. One of the reasons I had to have an abortion was to be able better care for the two daughters I have. One of my pregnancies was very difficult and I would have had serious health problems if I hadn't carried it to term.
"I must be there for my 7 year-old daughter and my 9 year-old. This was very important to me.
"We feel like we are being pulled backwards in slow motion."
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.