The US Supreme Court looks poised to overturn a landmark ruling allowing abortion for women across the United States, according to Politico magazine.
In a 98-page draft opinion, leaked to Politico, Justice Samuel Alito writes that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the US is “egregiously wrong.”
The leaked document quotes Justice Alito as saying: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
Justice Alitco adds that “far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Four of the other Republican-appointed justices—Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December and continued to support the opinion, Politico said.
If the top US court strikes down the ruling, “trigger laws” could instantly make abortion illegal in 22 US states. The justices are not expected to issue a ruling until early July.
The 1973 law is in the court’s sights because it is weighing up a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, which the justices heard in December.
But the reported threat to Roe v. Wade comes at a time when reproductive rights are being threatened in Republican leaning states around the US.
And it sparked immediate outcry from Democrats and protests—by both pro and anti-abortion supporters—outside the Supreme Court on Monday night.
The “greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years”
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—both Democrats—issued a joint statement saying that if the report was accurate, the “Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years.”
“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years—not just on women but on all Americans. The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” said the statement.
The statement further said that several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the US Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation at the expense of tens of millions of women who could soon be stripped of their bodily autonomy and the constitutional rights they have relied on for half a century.
“The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump. Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people,” said the statement.