The Boston Bar Association (BBA) is deeply concerned that the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, if issued as written, will erode if not eradicate the constitutional right to privacy that has been a cornerstone of American jurisprudence for half a century. While the Court has reversed existing precedent in the past, such reversals are rare, with the most noteworthy instances involving the expansion of civil rights and civil liberties, as was the case in Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned the Court’s prior approval of segregation if “separate but equal”. By contrast, the Dobbs draft would reverse long-established precedent in a manner that will take away a constitutional right that for nearly 50 years has allowed people to access a wide range of safe reproductive health care, including abortion, and enjoy the freedom to plan their lives, career paths and pregnancies, which has directly advanced the cause of gender equality in our profession and in society.
In addition to the stark departure from precedent and rare revocation of a constitutional right, the draft opinion has far-reaching implications for reproductive, privacy and LGBTQ+ rights. The BBA stands firm in its commitment to the rule of law, and we will continue to work toward achieving real diversity in our law firms, courtrooms, law schools and society.