In a massive but not entirely unexpected blow to abortion rights, the U.S. Supreme Court intends to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to a report late Monday by Politico, which obtained a draft majority opinion of the pending ruling.
The high court is expected to announce their decision within the next two months, ruling on a case brought by Mississippi that seeks to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a draft of the majority opinion obtained by Politico and posted online. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito continued, citing also a 1992 case that confirmed the 1973 Roe decision.
Striking down Roe v. Wade would end federal protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide on the legality of abortion, a massive political change from the past nearly 50 years.
Politico noted that draft decisions are not final or binding, and justices could still change their minds before making their ruling public. Citing a source familiar with the deliberations, Politico reported Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett support support overturning Roe, with Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissenting and Chief Justice John Roberts’ stance unclear.
The disclosure of such a draft decision while a case is still pending is unprecedented in the Supreme Court’s history, Politico said. It said it obtained the draft from someone familiar with the court’s proceedings along with “other details” supporting its authenticity.
The nature of the leak led some online to question its validity. In an editor’s note to staff, Politico Executive Editor Dafna Linzer said: “After an extensive review process, we are confident of the authenticity of the draft … We take our responsibilities to our readers and our publication with the greatest seriousness.”