Protesters rally at Supreme Court for potentially seismic abortion ruling

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. 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.

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.

Crowds of people protested outside the United States Supreme Court overnight Monday-Tuesday in Washington, D.C. A draft advisory circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that early this year a majority of of them had lent their support to overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in the United States, according to a report in Politico Monday night. (Anna Johnson/Associated Press)

“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.

Supreme Court justices can — and sometimes do — change their votes after the initial vote. A decision is not final until it is published by the court.

Biden, while offering no opinion on the legitimacy of the leaked opinion, said in a statement provided by the White House early Tuesday that his administration “will be ready when a decision is rendered.”

“If the Court overturns Roe, it will be up to our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect women’s right to choose. And it will be up to voters to elect pro-choice leaders in November,” he said. he declares.

“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to pass legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign.”

Would have ‘tragic consequences’: Democrat

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.

Michigan’s Democratic Senator Gary Peters echoed that sentiment, saying it “will lead to very real and tragic consequences for people from all walks of life.”

Many Republican members of Congress seemed more committed to the leak. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said in a tweet that this was “an unprecedented breach of privacy, clearly intended to intimidate.” In a second tweet, he called the leaked opinion “voluminously researched, well-argued and morally powerful.”

Several states have “trigger” laws

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 draft decision appeared to be based on a December argument about 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.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito is pictured here during a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. According to a Politico report, a leaked majority draft opinion authored by Alito states that Roe v. Wade was taken wrong because the US Constitution makes no specific mention of the right to abortion. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times/Associated Press)

Sometimes, between the initial vote and the decision rendered, the alignment of the vote may change.

Many Republican-led states have passed various abortion restrictions in defiance of the Roe precedent in recent years, as well as so-called trigger laws, which would go into effect and automatically ban abortions if the Supreme Court sided with the opponents of abortion.

If Roe is overturned, abortion will likely remain legal in liberal states. More than a dozen states have laws protecting the right to abortion.

California has previously said it will look to find other ways to accommodate out-of-state people seeking abortions if the law is overturned.

“We can’t trust SCOTUS to protect abortion rights, so we’ll do it ourselves,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Twitter, referring to the Supreme Court.

Against the global trend

The Roe v. Wade acknowledged that the right to privacy under the United States Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy.

The 1973 ruling helped mobilize Christian leaders angered by the decision, leading to the formation of politically active organizations such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, has estimated that about half of all US states would ban abortion if they had the legal backing to do so. In 2019, the group said abortions were at their lowest level since Roe v. Wade, due to a falling birth rate, expanded contraceptive insurance coverage and increased use. drugs that can terminate pregnancies.

If the Supreme Court offered an opinion consistent with the Politico report, the United States would buck a global trend. In a report In late 2019, the Council of Foreign Relations documented about 30 examples of countries this century that have expanded access to abortion services, with only the United States and a handful of others tightening restrictions.