In Draft Opinion, Supreme Court Votes to Overturn Roe v. Wade

In exceptionally rare occurrence, draft opinion is leaked
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2022 9:02 PM CDT
In Draft Opinion, Supreme Court Votes to Overturn Roe v. Wade
An American flag blows in the wind in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 2, 2020.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(Newser) – A draft opinion in the closely-watched Mississippi abortion case that was leaked to Politico shows that the Supreme Court has voted to side with Mississippi and overturn abortion rights. Politico notes that nothing is final until the opinion is published, which will likely happen sometime in the next two months, and that justices could potentially change their votes during deliberations. However, the draft opinion written by Samuel Alito in February and circulated among the justices Feb. 10 minces no words in stating that, according to the majority of the justices, both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which largely maintained the abortion rights established by Roe, should be overturned. If that happens, federal protection of abortion rights would end, and it would be up to each state to decide.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," it states. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives." In a separate piece, Politico looks at 10 key passages from the draft opinion here; the site says there's an almost "mocking tone" to some portions of the draft opinion, as well as Alito's signature "caustic rhetorical flourishes." A source says Alito and the four other conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett) stand behind the draft opinion, while the three left-leaning justices (Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) are working on dissents. It's not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote.

In a third piece, Politico looks at the exceptional rarity of a leak from the Supreme Court. For more on that, click here; for the 10 key passages, click here; for the Politico exclusive in full, click here. Hours before Politico published its piece, the Washington Post was out with a piece looking at "the next frontier for the anti-abortion movement." According to the paper's sources, if SCOTUS does in fact roll back abortion rights in the Mississippi case and Republicans take power in Washington, anti-abortion groups and their congressional allies are working on federal legislation that would ban abortion nationwide after the 6-week mark of pregnancy. Per AZFamily, Arizona will be the state most affected if Roe is overturned, followed by Michigan and South Carolina. In December, NPR looked at the 21 states likely to ban or significantly restrict abortions if Roe falls. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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