Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a leaked draft opinion that the 1973 ruling has had ‘damaging consequences’
The Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling which made access to safe and legal abortions a constitutional right in the US, according to a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which was obtained by Politico.
The draft opinion, written up in February 2022, wholeheartedly repudiates the 1973 ruling which enshrined abortion rights across America, as well as the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey decision which reaffirmed the outcome of Roe v Wade.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes. “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.” He went on to suggest that Roe’s “survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant to the plainly incorrect,” argued that its reasoning was “exceptionally weak,” and asserted that the decision has had “damaging consequences.”
Alito also appeared to preempt the widespread anger and frustration that the leaked draft opinion has sparked. “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work,” he continued. “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision.”
If the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v Wade, it would bring about the end of nearly 50 years of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights. State lawmakers would be permitted to restrict or entirely ban abortion if they wanted to, stripping American women of their rights.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood president, said: “This leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears … While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating, and comes just as anti-abortion rights groups unveil their ultimate plan to ban abortion nationwide… [We] will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.”
There’s still a slither of hope that the Supreme Court will scrap their plans to reverse Roe v Wade. While the leaked draft opinion plainly shows that the court intends to reverse the ruling, the court’s decision will not be final until it is published in the next few months.
Activists in the US are already gearing up to fight against the court’s proposed decision. “As an abortion rights activist here in TX I can tell you nation wide we’ve been preparing for Roe V Wade to fall,” 19-year-old activist Olivia Julianna tweeted on Monday night. “We knew this was coming and we are prepared to fight for bodily autonomy. Do not give up. Please keep fighting with us.”
The Supreme Court and the White House have not yet commented on the leaked draft opinion.