In May 2021, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case designed to overrule Roe v. Wade. The assumption is that six justices are inclined to repudiate Roe, and that some of those six would like to go further, declaring a constitutional right to life that would prevent the abortion issue from going “back to the states” at all. The question for the next year is not whether Roe will be overruled—it already was, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—but how far the Court will go. This essay describes the arc of the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence in terms of three wedges—wedges that pry the pregnant woman apart from first, her fetus; second, her doctor; and third, her community. The first two wedges have each taken a turn as the primary rationale for restricting abortion rights. The last wedge of community, and its related rhetoric against Black women of eugenics and genocide, may provide the extra bit of force needed to overcome stare decisis and support the open overruling of Roe.
Jennifer S. Hendricks, Abortion Rights in the Supreme Court: A Tale of Three Wedges, 13 ConLawNOW 1 (2021).