Search
  • watchofficermanager

HIGH RISK OF INCREASED SOCIAL UNREST AS THE US SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE

FLASH ALERT: HIGH RISK OF INCREASED SOCIAL UNREST AS THE US SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE


Team: Rhiannon Thomas, Gabriel Mariotti, Jan García, Stacey Casas, NORTHCOM Team; OSINT Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff

Tuesday, May 3, 2022



Senate Democrats Press Conference on Roe v. Wade on May 3[1]



The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT for US government officials, law enforcement, and the civilian population, with special attention to local and federal courthouses, buildings, and town halls throughout the US, following a leaked draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.[2] The draft opinion reveals the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would end women’s abortion rights. In response, pro-abortion and anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in Washington DC, and Women’s March is calling for supporters to protest outside local federal buildings across the country to defend abortion rights.[3]


CTG is on HIGH ALERT due to the HIGH likelihood of increased social unrest in the US following the publication of Justice Alito’s drafted opinion and tensions between pro-abortion and anti-abortion demonstrators in Washington DC on Monday, May 3. Social unrest and increased protests will very likely continue rising in the US, with both sides fighting for their own moral human rights beliefs, as the Court’s official holding will likely not be published until June. It is VERY LIKELY that protests and demonstrations will continue, regardless of the Court's final decision. The leak has drawn disapproval from both Democrats and Republicans.[4]


On Monday, May 2, an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito states SCOTUS voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would effectively end federal protection of abortion rights. Roe v. Wade is the 1973 landmark case that granted federal protection to abortion rights, preventing states from enacting abortion bans.[5] The draft opinion represents the opinions of the Court's five conservative justices, constituting a majority, but is still subject to change until the final decision is announced within the next two months.[6] Abortion has been one of the most contentious topics in the US for nearly fifty years.[7] If Roe v Wade is overturned, abortion will quickly become inaccessible in roughly half of the US states where abortion bans of varying levels are currently present.[8] President Joe Biden called the draft opinion ‘radical’ and warned that other rights such as same-sex marriage and birth control could be at risk with the ending of abortion protections.[9] After the document was published, security barriers were erected around the SCOTUS building in Washington, DC in anticipation of protesters gathering late Monday night.[10] Protesters returned Tuesday, and more demonstrations are planned in various cities across the country.[11]


If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the ruling would end federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and would instead allow individual states to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.[12] If this happens, mass demonstrations will very likely occur throughout the US, especially in states with more strict abortion legislation, with a roughly even chance of confrontations between protesters from both sides. It is likely demonstrations will become violent, likely increasing the chances of physical harm to protestors, counter-protestors, law enforcement officers, and civilians. Law enforcement officers likely pose a threat to protesters as officers will likely arrest those who are increasing unrest, with a roughly even chance of individuals being injured in a struggle. There is a roughly even chance of damage to property as protesters are likely to construct barricades, and there is a roughly even chance of individuals looting shops. Mass protests throughout the country will very likely increase pressure on police services to manage protests and protect civilians. Protests organized by the National Women’s March are very likely to have a large number of attendees and will almost certainly occur in metropolitan areas. Law enforcement services in such areas are likely to be capable of monitoring and managing protests, likely increasing the safety of those attending. There is a roughly even chance of police services becoming overwhelmed in areas with strict abortion legislation due to violent protests occurring across numerous areas. Smaller law enforcement services will likely struggle to manage large protests, likely increasing the risk of protests becoming violent and increasing the threat to civilian safety.


Trigger laws, laws that become enforceable once key circumstances change, passed in 13 US states will ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overruled. According to Planned Parenthood, around 36 million women will lose abortion access in the US.[13] Women affected by trigger laws will almost certainly seek medical abortions out of state, likely increasing their chances of seeking unregulated termination processes. This will almost certainly worsen healthcare inequalities in the US as only those with financial means will be able to afford an out-of-state abortion. Women without the resources to afford out-of-state pregnancy interventions will very likely seek unregulated abortion means within their states. These illegal abortions will very likely involve harmful methods, almost certainly leading to increased deaths and medical complications among women due to a lack of access to regulated procedures. The number of children in the foster system will almost certainly increase in states with abortion trigger laws, as women will very likely be forced to give up their children due to insufficient economic resources for childcare. Women forced to keep their babies will likely face financial hardship and in some cases live in poverty. This will very likely have negative consequences on mothers’ mental health who will likely experience depression caused by financial burdens increasing stress and anxiety. This will likely cause an increase in absentee parenting, the temporary or long term absence of a parent during a child’s development, likely having negative consequences on children’s mental health.[14]


The draft document has caused tensions to rise between Republicans and Democrats, with calls for Democrats to take action to protect abortion rights.[15] If SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade, it is very likely tensions between politicians will worsen. It is likely decisions surrounding abortion access will influence voting behaviors, with those supporting abortion rights likely to vote for Democratic candidates in local, state, and federal elections. There is a roughly even chance of politicians on both sides utilizing the change during election campaigning to increase support. Women’s healthcare will likely become a topic of renewed political interest, with a roughly even chance of politicians utilizing this topic to further increase voters' support, likely through promises of increasing access to healthcare and maternity leave. Anti-abortion and pro-abortion supporters will very likely vote for political candidates who align with their political and ideological beliefs, likely making other political issues less of a political focus during the next elections.


CTG’s NORTHCOM and OSINT Teams assess that the current threat climate is HIGH because of the highly sensitive nature of the issue. Protests will almost certainly occur throughout the US with some very likely turning violent. The safety of US citizens and security officials attending protests is very likely at risk if protests become violent. If abortion rights lose federal protection, women seeking abortions in states where it is banned may be at risk of injury if illegal and potentially harmful abortion methods are used.


Analysis indicates there is a HIGH PROBABILITY that protests attended by pro-abortion and anti-abortion demonstrators will occur, likely turning violent and very likely putting the safety of those attending at risk. Analysis indicates that alternative abortion methods will be utilized with individuals likely visiting neighboring states or seeking unregulated processes, likely putting individuals’ safety at risk. Political tensions will likely rise as legislation changes, with political candidates likely to discuss abortion rights and access to health care during political campaigns.


CTG recommends that local authorities increase police presence and security barriers around local federal courthouses and federal buildings where protests and demonstrations are likely to take place. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, should also be monitored for threats to public safety. Security personnel should keep protesters separate to prevent violence from escalating. Security protections should remain in place for the next three months in anticipation of SCOTUS’s final decision. ________________________________________________________________________

[1]Senate Democrats Press Conference on Roe v. Wade” by Senator Tim Kaine licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows, Yahoo! News, May 2022, https://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-voted-overturn-abortion-003210049.html

[3] Women's March 2022—Roe v. Wade Protesters to Take to the Streets Nationwide, Newsweek, May 2022, https://www.newsweek.com/women-march-2022-roe-v-wade-protesters-take-streets-nationwide-1702961

[4] Chief Justice Roberts confirms draft Roe v. Wade opinion, orders leak investigation, Yahoo! News, May 2022, https://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-roe-wade-leak-investigation-roberts-153559730.html

[5] Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows, Politico, May 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473

[6] Court that rarely leaks does so now in biggest case in years, Associated Press, May 2022, https://apnews.com/article/roe-wade-supreme-court-leaked-draft-opinion-c6a923f6e370672f4a5ccfd3be325786

[7] U.S. Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, Politico reports, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/leaked-us-supreme-court-decision-suggests-majority-set-overturn-roe-v-wade-2022-05-03/

[8] 4 things we know, and one big thing we don’t, on the draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade, Vox, May 2022, https://www.vox.com/2022/5/3/23054543/supreme-court-roe-wade-abortion-samuel-alito-overruled-draft-politico

[9] Biden blasts ‘radical’ Roe draft, warns other rights at risk, Associated Press, May 2022, https://apnews.com/article/roe-wade-supreme-court-f6b899076faba20517b9ac1e82438c16

[10] Protests erupt at Supreme Court after report of draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, The Hill, May 2022, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3474997-protests-erupt-at-supreme-court-after-report-of-draft-overturning-roe-v-wade/

[11] 'It's a really scary time': Abortion-rights protests planned in wake of Supreme Court leak, USA Today, May 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/05/03/abortion-rights-protests-supreme-court-leak/9628280002/

[12] Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows, Yahoo! News, May 2022, https://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-voted-overturn-abortion-003210049.html

[13] Roe v Wade: US Supreme Court may overturn abortion rights, leak suggests, BBC News, May 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61302740

[14] Childhood Risk of Parental Absence in Tanzania, National Library of Medicine, May 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434424/#:~:text=An%20event%20of%20parental%20absence,the%20household%20without%20the%20parent

[15] Democrats search for path forward if Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, CBS News, May 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/roe-v-wade-supreme-court-overturn-draft-opinion-democrats-legislation/

331 views