3 May 2022 7:10 AM GMT
The US Supreme Court is likely to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has guaranteed the right to abortion for nearly a half-century according to a leaked draft opinion published online on Monday night by Politico.The leaked draft judgment of Justice Samuel Alito was reported by news portal Politico. According to the report, the draft was circulated among judges on February 10 and...
The US Supreme Court is likely to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has guaranteed the right to abortion for nearly a half-century according to a leaked draft opinion published online on Monday night by Politico.
The leaked draft judgment of Justice Samuel Alito was reported by news portal Politico. According to the report, the draft was circulated among judges on February 10 and has obtained majority approval among the 9 judges.
The draft overturns, Roe v. Wade, the Court's 1973 ruling that enshrined the constitutional right to abortion, and a subsequent 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey that largely upheld that right. As reported, Justice Alito has opined that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and further stated that the contentious issue should be decided by politicians and not the Courts.
Roe v. Wade, in the language of the Court, has been a precedent that cemented the basic rights of women to have access to a legal abortion. Over the years, the Court has accepted restrictions on that right, but has not wavered from the basic legal standard set out by the landmark decision.
According to the draft opinion, Justice Alito observed, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."
"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", the justice added.
Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted with Justice Alito in the conference held among the justices, Politico reported further.
According to the prevalent practice, after an initial vote among the justices following the oral argument, one is assigned the majority opinion and writes a draft. It is then circulated among the justices. However at times the vote alignment can change between the initial vote and the ruling being released. A ruling is however final only when it is officially published by the Court.
If the draft opinion is adopted, the decision would rule in favour of the state of Mississippi in a highly controversial case- Dobbs v.Jackson Women's Health Organization about that state's attempt to outlaw nearly all abortions at and after 15 weeks gestation. The case directly challenges the precedent set in Roe v. Wade that protects the right to an abortion up to the point a fetus can survive outside the womb, widely regarded as 24 weeks gestation. A full term pregnancy is 39 weeks gestation.
Abortion advocates perceive the Mississippi case as a death knell for the half-century guarantee of nationwide protection of reproductive rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.
Several Republican-led states have already passed highly restrictive abortion laws in anticipation of such a ruling by the Supreme Court which is now dominated by conservatives, with six of the nine justices leaning to the right.