Novkov Pens Response to Supreme Court Leaked Draft on Abortion Case

Protesters in front of the Supreme Court hold signs reading "Keep Legal Abortion" and "Our Future Our Fight Our Bodies"
(Photo by Gayatri Malhotra/

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 5, 2022) — The morning after Politico reported on a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision on a Mississippi abortion case, Julie Novkov, Rockefeller College’s interim dean and professor, was outlining an analysis piece in her head as she drove to work.

The result, titled “You’ve seen the leaked opinion overturning Roe. Here’s what comes next” was published that afternoon on Monkey Cage, The Washington Post’s policy and politics analysis site.

While the leak itself was surprising, Novkov writes, it also is noteworthy for how it reveals what is going on inside the Court and how this decision could have implications far beyond the right to abortion.

“It was no secret that several justices were considering overturning Roe v. Wade. Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas have openly stated that they wanted to abandon it, while the justices’ behavior during oral argument signaled that they were likely at least to weaken it. The draft opinion, however, was not a final decision. The court is still negotiating, and Alito may not have secured the agreement of his colleagues,” she writes.

“The draft hints at a broader agenda than abortion rights. Alito suggests that people’s expectations that abortion is a right is no more than a ‘policy position’ and suggests that any law regulating abortion is entitled to a ‘strong presumption of validity.’ States can consider the preservation of prenatal life from the moment of conception; can regulate particular abortion methods that a state may find objectionable; and can consider ‘the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession’ as ‘legitimate interests.’ That suggests that states may have ‘legitimate interests’ in regulating contraception, too, as well as possibly calling other rights into question.”

Read Novkov’s entire article here.