WASHINGTON.D.C., May 2 (UPI) — Protesters gathered outside of the Supreme Court on Monday night following a report of a leaked draft opinion signaling the high court intends to overturn abortion protections ensured in Roe vs. Wade.
Demonstrators gathered outside the court chanting “abortion is healthcare” and carrying signs in opposition of the leaked opinion.
In the opinion, drafted in February and reported by Politico on Monday night, Justice Samuel Alito was joined by at least four other justices in the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade’s holding of a federal constitutional right to abortion and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which largely maintained that right.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Politico said that it obtained a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in Dobbs vs. Jackson, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. It was not immediately clear whether changes had been made to the draft since it circulated in February, as Politico noted it was not final while adding that opinions can often undergo multiple drafts and vote changes before a decision is revealed.
The opinion in the case is not expected to be published until late June.
Dafna Linzer, Politico’s executive editor, wrote in an editor’s note that “after an extensive review process, we are confident of the authenticity of the draft” as Politico noted that “no draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending.”
“This unprecedented view into the justices’ deliberations is plainly news of great public interest,” she wrote.
SCOTUSblog, an independent blog written by lawyers, law professors and students about the high court, condemned the leak.
“It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff,” the site’s Twitter account wrote. “This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable sin.”
Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson called the leaked decision “horrifying and unprecedented,” adding that it “confirms our worst fears” that the Supreme Court would end the constitutional right to abortion in a statement Monday.
McGill Johnson added that Planned Parenthood had been preparing for a potential move by the high court to overturn Roe vs. Wade and is “built for the fight” but asserted that abortion remains legal in the meantime.
“Planned Parenthood health centers remain open, abortion is currently still legal and we will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion,” she said.
Lila Rose, founder and president of anti-abortion group Live Action, called for even further action to ensure that “every human being’s right to life is legally protected from the moment of fertilization” in a statement emailed to UPI.
“Roe has been wrongly decided since the day it was issued. It’s illogical and gravely unjust,” said Rose. “A decision overruling Roe would be an important step in the right direction of acknowledging and protecting our fundamental right to life, but if this decision is issued, true justice has not yet been achieved.”
The leak also prompted calls to action from members of Congress on Monday night.