WASHINGTON — A draft opinion involving the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling circulated among Supreme Court Justices earlier this year indicated that a majority of them at that time supported overturning the case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico.
Politico’s reporting has not been independently verified.
The opinion was written, Politico reported, in reference to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, The Associated Press reported.
According to The New York Times, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote the leaked draft opinion from February, calling Roe wrongly decided and maintaining that the issue should be decided by politicians, not the courts.
“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,” Alito wrote in the 98-page document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court,” according to Politico.
In effect, the draft opinion states that there is no Constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey expressed unyielding support for overturning Roe in a tweet following the leaked opinion, but questioned the motives behind its release.
This unprecedented leak is concerning, outrageous and a blatant attempt to manipulate the sacred procedures of the U.S. Supreme Court. Those responsible should be held accountable. My prayer is that Roe v. Wade is overturned and that life prevails. #alpolitics (1/2)— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) May 3, 2022
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded swiftly to the report, tweeting “New York will always be a place where abortion rights are protected and where abortion is safe and accessible.” She also tweeted the following:
I refuse to let my new granddaughter have to fight for the rights that generations have fought for & won, rights that she should be guaranteed.— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) May 3, 2022
For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. Abortion will always be safe & accessible in New York.
The Times called the opinion link “unprecedented in modern times,” noting that in the high court’s modern history, “early drafts of opinions have never leaked before the final decision is announced. And early drafts of opinions often change by the time the decision from the court is announced.”
Per Politico, the justices who voted to support Alito’s opinion included Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, with justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan working on dissents.
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s vote was not clear, the news outlet reported.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization before its term ends in late June or early July.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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