In dramatic breaking news, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is reportedly set to eliminate the right to abortion under federal law.
The news comes according to a draft majority SCOTUS opinion that would end nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for terminating a pregnancy.
The 98-page draft was written by Judge Samuel Alito and distributed within the conservative majority SCOTUS. For Alito, the text dated February 10 states the historic Roe v. Wade decision was a “grave mistake” right from the start.
Roe v. Wade was a landmark abortion ruling in 1973 that upheld the federal law in terms of allowing abortion.
Understanding Roe v. Wade
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that access to abortion is a woman’s constitutional right. Since that time, an estimated 62 million abortions of unborn babies have taken place in America.
In a 1992 ruling, the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court upheld a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the uterus, which typically occurs between 22 to 24 weeks gestation.
If the court confirms Alito’s opinion on this leaked draft, the United States would revert to the pre-1973 situation, when each state was free to prohibit or authorize abortion according to state law.
With the important geographic and political divisions on this issue, half the country, especially in the South and in the conservative and religious areas of the Midwest could quickly ban the procedure.
Pres. Biden releases statement on reported leak of Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 3, 2022
Protests Break Out
Biden immediately lashed out at the leaked draft, as did leading Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who called a potential reversal of Roe an “abomination.”
Without waiting for the official decision, hundreds of people also gathered outside SCOTUS in Washington D.C. to protest or celebrate on Monday night. Among the crowd, many young people shouted: “my body, my choice” and other leftist slogans.
There were also those who were enthusiastic about such a possible change in law, saying that America needs to “heal” from the evil of abortion.
Access to abortion has been challenged in the United States in recent months as Republican-led states moved to tighten restrictions.
The draft leaked here from SCOTUS is specifically linked to a law by the state of Mississippi, which seeks to prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
In December, when discussing the text, various conservative Supreme Court justices already hinted that they intended to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Such a decision by the nine-member conservative-dominated court (with a 6-3 balance in favor of conservatives) is made possible by the appointment of three justices by former President Trump.
A reversal of Roe would be likely to come in June. Leaking the text is a dramatic undermining of our nation’s laws because the issue is still up for debate.
BREAKING: Chief Justice John Roberts has directed the marshal of the Supreme Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which Roberts verified as an authentic document pic.twitter.com/vcq4lTY7bk
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) May 3, 2022
What Happens Next?
Pro-abortion groups like the Guttmacher Institute say if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then at least 26 states will fully ban abortion.
Abortion mill Planned Parenthood called the potential overturning “outrageous.”
A court ruling along the lines of the leaked draft could spark new political battles in Congress and states across the country, leading to even more polarizing, upcoming midterm elections.