A leaked document has revealed the Supreme Court prematurely voted to overrule the decision in Row v Wade, essentially taking away the constitutional right to abortion for US citizens.
Politico obtained records that show Justice Samuel Alito put forward the draft opinion to the Supreme Court in which he said Row v Wade “must be overruled” and “was egregiously wrong from the start”.
The 1973 Texan case is of great importance to US history as it established rights to abortion in the constitution. A subsequent 1992 case in Planned Parenthood v Casey made sure that each US state is able to choose whether or not they legalise or ban abortion.
Justice Alito mentioned that “it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives”. According to Politico it’s the first time a draft decision has been leaked publicly.
Documents reveal that four republican justices are in favour of the change while three democratic judges are apparently in dispute of the draft. Chief Justice John Roberts has yet to decide.
President Joe Biden came out against the plan saying, “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental”. He added that for almost 50 years “it’s been the law of the land” and “basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned”.
Republican and Arkansas senator Tom Cotton had praise for the decision but concern for the leak.
“The Supreme Court & the DOJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary,” he said.
“In the meantime, Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning & I pray the Court follows the Constitution & allows the states to once again protect unborn life.”
Abortion legislation is challenging within the US as each state has their own requirements as to when, how an abortion can or cannot take place. In California, it can be performed at any time during the pregnancy by anyone with medical training whereas in Florida it’s only legal until the 24th week of gestation.
Louisiana and several other states have banned abortion completely unless it will save the mother’s life. Oklahoma was the latest to join the illegalisation of abortion, even adding punishment of 10 years jail to doctors who perform the operation.
It’s believed the draft was circulated in February however Politico believe that the final copy may come in the next two months.
As of 2021 all states and territories within Australia allow abortions but as with the US, each jurisdiction has their own rules for when and by who an abortion can be performed.