Anti-abortion activists and abortion-rights supporters took to the streets of Washington, D.C. after news that the United States Supreme Court could overturn the Roe v. Wade of 1973 which legalized abortion.
A leaked initial majority draft opinion suggests the court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, Reported Policy Monday.
Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft notice. The Supreme Court and White House declined to comment.
Hours after the news broke, anti-abortion activists chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade must go” and abortion rights supporters shouting “abortion is health care ” faced each other in court.
Abortion has been one of the most contentious issues in American politics for nearly half a century.
A 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of American adults thought it should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% thought it should be illegal in most or all cases. .
“Roe was gravely wrong from the start,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion, dated Feb. 10, according to Politico, which posted a copy.
Based on Alito’s opinion, the court would conclude that Roe v. Wade, which allowed abortions performed before a fetus is viable outside the womb – between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy – was wrongly decided because the US Constitution makes no specific mention of the right to abortion.
“Abortion poses a deep moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of every state from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” Alito said, according to the leaked document.
‘A total disgrace’, says Hillary Clinton
Protester Annie McDonnell, 19, a student at George Washington University, said: ‘The first line of the draft is that this is a moral issue. If it’s a moral issue, you shouldn’t deprive us of our choice.”
“Judges come out of my vagina,” read a protest sign.
The unprecedented leak sent shockwaves across the United States.
“This ruling is a direct assault on the dignity, rights and lives of women, not to mention decades of entrenched law. It will kill and subjugate women even when a vast majority of Americans believe abortion should to be legal. What a total shame,” said former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The decision would be the court’s most sweeping since former President Donald Trump successfully named three justices to the court, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority.
“The votes of Republican-appointed justices to overturn Roe v. Wade would be considered an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” the Speaker of the States House of Representatives said. States, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats.
The news came just over six months before the midterm elections that will determine whether the Democrats hold their slim majority in the US Congress for the next two years of President Joe Biden’s term.
“Congress needs to pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW,” Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said.
No decision is final until it is published.
The ruling emerged on the basis of oral argument in December over Mississippi’s attempt to reinstate its ban on abortions from 15 weeks pregnant, a law blocked by lower courts.
The Politico report said a majority of the courts were inclined to uphold the abortion ban in Mississippi and there could be five votes to overturn Roe. An official decision is expected before the end of June.
Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – voted with Alito at the conference held between the justices, he added.
After a first vote among the judges following a pleading, one is assigned the majority opinion and drafts a draft. It is then circulated among the judges.
Sometimes, between the initial vote and the decision rendered, the alignment of the vote may change. A decision is not final until it is published by the court.