The draft would strike down the 1973 decision which guaranteed that abortion rights were protected by the federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that maintained the right.
The draft was first circulated in early February, according to Politico but it has not been released as votes and language can change before opinions are officially released.
The formal opinion was originally not expected to be published until late June.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes in the copy of the draft. “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.”
“That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand,” he added.
A person close to the court proceedings said that four of the other conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, voted with Alito in the conference after hearing oral arguments in December.
The three Democratic-appointed justices, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, are reportedly working on one or more dissents. According to the source, it is unclear how Justice John Roberts plans to vote.
According to CNN, Roberts is willing to uphold the Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law currently states that the government “cannot interfere with a woman's choice to terminate a pregnancy before about 23 weeks, when a fetus could live outside the womb.”
After the draft opinion was released, a large crowd gathered outside the Supreme Court to voice their opinions.
The crowd began to protest using a variety of chants such as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Samuel Alito’s gotta go,” “We will not go back,” “Abortion rights are under attack, what do we do, stand up fight back,” and “Pack the courts.”
“This news is simply stunning for the Supreme Court as an institution,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “Not only is the result it portends – the overruling of Roe and Casey – a shockwave to our constitutional politics, but we have never seen a leak remotely like this from inside the Court, where we’re not just hearing what the result is going to be, but we’re seeing the draft majority opinion in advance. It’s hard to believe that the former doesn’t help to explain the latter, but it’s an earthquake in both respects.”
Almost half of the states in the country have or will pass laws that ban abortion whereas others have enacted strict laws on the books to regulate the procedure.