CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many experts have concluded if Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion access in the Carolinas would be banned or extremely restricted.
On Monday night, a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority, was released by the news outlet Politico. The draft is in regards to a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
The draft opinion states there is no constitutional right to abortion services. It would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.
To what extent will depend on each state.
Many anti-abortion advocates in North Carolina are ecstatic at the prospect of Roe V. Wade being overturned.
“When I was 16 is when I had my abortion and I just kind of went along with what everybody else said to do," Not Forgotten Ministries executive director Tori Shaw said. "And so I do often wonder if Roe V. Wade wasn't a thing like maybe I wouldn't have even had that option. I didn't even really consider parenting or adoption."
Not Forgotten Ministries is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The group gives counseling to women who are thinking of or have had an abortion.
They regularly protest organizations like Planned Parenthood, where the loss of constitutional protections for pregnant women is cause for alarm.
“This is going to harm real people, especially folks who live in the South, especially folks who are working paycheck to paycheck, especially folks in Black and brown and indigenous communities," Molly Rivera, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, said.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles also weighed in, saying in a Tweet on her personal account that the " right to choose—and the right to privacy while navigating such a choice—is foundational to the democracy of this country."
The right to have an abortion in North and South Carolina would likely be banned or extremely restricted, according to experts.
Right now in South Carolina, there’s legislation, passed in 2021, seeking to ban abortions after six weeks in most cases. It’s being held up in the court system until the Mississippi case at the center of all this controversy is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
North Carolina already has several restrictions in place before women can get an abortion. The state also has an unenforced ban on most abortions past 20 weeks. If Roe v. Wade disappears, that law could be enforced.
“We know that banning or restricting abortion doesn't make it go away," Rivera said. "What it does mean is that people with resources and the means to travel will travel to get the care that they want and need.”
If the high court’s final ruling tracks the draft opinion the ability of states to dictate abortion access will come later this summer.
“It's our hope that abortion will be ended in our country in our in our time," Shaw said.
"We've never had an actual draft opinion be leaked from the court out to the press or to the public at all," Rob Crain, a Texas-based Legal Expert, said. "So it is unprecedented."
Crain said some leaks have come out of the Supreme Court. They include comments on a decision after its release, conflicts among justices, and likely votes of an opinion.
"Ironically, one of the most significant leaks from the court actually was pertaining to the opinion and Roe v. Wade where newspaper itemized a lot of the rationale that was being discussed amongst the justices at the time, probably one of the most significant leaks up until today," Crain said. "There have been some other whispers of leaks on other issues, but nothing to this degree."
Crain said it’s important to remember the leak was only a draft.
"We forget Brown vs. the Board of Education appeared that it may have gone the other way in 1954," Crain said. "And then there was a new chief justice that was brought into the court and then you know, he swung the court to a unanimous decision. It completely changed."
Susan Roberts, a political science professor at Davidson College, said the leak is a testament to all the politics entering the nation’s highest court.
"At the very least, this undermines faith in our institutions," Roberts said. "And the Supreme Court has been increasingly regarded as political. And I think Justice Roberts is not pleased at all with the leak.”
Roberts expects in the upcoming midterm elections politicians will attempt to capitalize on this bombshell news about a potential abortion rights ruling.
“People running for the state legislature not just, you know, the President or the Senate or the judges -- they have real control as to what a state can do," Roberts said. "And this definitely has to do with states looking at how they want to amend, protect or reject access to abortion.”
Putting abortion access on the ballots could play to both sides, in different ways.