May 03, 2022

By Jane Brown

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It’s not clear whether a draft opinion that suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be set to overturn the 1973 case that legalized abortion is the court’s final word on the matter.

Politico has published what it says is a draft of an opinion in a major abortion case that was argued last Fall.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

It in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.

What remains unclear is whether the draft will actually be considered by the U.S. Supreme court.

A Supreme Court spokesperson says the court has no comment.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 02: Demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Following the leak, both anti-abortion and pro-choice protesters gathered in Washington overnight outside the U.S. Supreme Court .

The leak has shocked lawyers and others who watch the court closely, with one comparing it to the leak of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.

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