For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has made state laws banning abortion unconstitutional due to a Dallas case filed by “Jane Roe,” which was argued before the Supreme Court by attorney Sarah Weddington.
“Sarah said to me multiple times, she never thought her whole life would be about abortion,” said Susan Hays.
Hays, a former law student of Weddington’s, said she heard her lecture about the case in class. Later, Hays sought her counsel while launching Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit that ensures legal representation for pregnant teens.
Hays said she’s grateful her friend and mentor didn’t live to see her work possibly overturned.
“What she didn’t see coming at the time is the far-right using abortion cynically as a political wedge to motivate voters and try to win elections and ignoring the healthcare need of it,” said Hays.
Though an opinion suggesting the court will overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked Monday night, it’s not yet an official decision.
Still, opponents of abortion rights called the news encouraging.
“It’s something that we have been praying for, for a long time,” said Amy Ford, president of Embrace Grace.
Ford said overturning Roe v. Wade would help organizations like hers make abortion an unnecessary option for more women.
“We see the aftereffect of women that having an abortion, and we know that a lot of women don’t want to have an abortion. They just feel like they don’t have another choice,” said Ford.
She added, that the work of opponents of abortion rights is just beginning should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
“We can’t just say, ‘good luck, hope it works out for you.’ We have to walk with her, and the dads, in the trenches and help her,” she said.
Meanwhile, Hays said if the Supreme Court proceeds, abortion won’t be the only right at risk.
“That draft opinion is about a lot more than abortion in one issue. It’s about whether the government can take away our dignity, our autonomy and our liberty,” said Hays.