Roe v Wade: Leaked draft abortion document found to be genuine as Biden pledges to protect ‘basic right’ | American News


The leaked draft opinion paper that suggests the Supreme Court is set to strike down a landmark law that makes legalized abortion genuine, US Chief Justice John Roberts has said.

In a draft “opinion” document Written by Judge Samuel Alito, the court said the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 was “demonstrably wrong from the start.”

The authenticity of the document was in question, but Mr. Roberts has confirmed that it is real, indicating that a majority of the Supreme Court’s nine justices are set to strike down the constitutional right to abortion.

He also announced that an investigation into how the document was leaked will be launched, calling it a “flagrant breach of trust”.

He described it as a “betrayal of the confidences of the court” which was intended to “damage the integrity” of its operations.

“I ordered the Marshal of the Court to open an investigation into the origin of the leak,” he added.

US President Joe Biden has said he opposes the move to strike down a landmark law that legalized abortion, saying he is ready to act if the court tries to roll back abortion rights.

“I believe a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for nearly fifty years, and the fundamental fairness and stability of our law demands that it not be overturned,” a- he declared.

“If the court overturns Roe, it will be up to our country’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

The president later explained that he had received a call confirming that the document is a “genuine project but that it does not represent who will vote for it”.

He added that a decision toppling Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November’s stormy midterm elections.

“It will be up to voters to elect pro-choice leaders in November. Federally, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to pass legislation codifying Roe, which I will work to get the law passed and signed,” the president said.

Judge Samuel Alito’s document was first reported by Politico, which said it was circulated inside the court.

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US divided on abortion after leak

The draft notice reads, “We believe Roe and Casey should be set aside,” referring to the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey case which upheld Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to child care services. abortion – but allowed states to impose certain constraints on the practice.

the Supreme Court has yet to issue a formal ruling in the case, and opinions — and even judges’ votes — have shifted during the drafting process.

The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July.

What was the reaction?

The leaked document was disappointed by many people, including abortion rights groups and senators.

Planned Parenthood said it “shows clearly” that its “deepest fears are coming true” and that the United States has reached a “moment of crisis”.

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders called on people to act “now” to “pass legislation that codifies Roe v Wade as the law of the land.”

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Abortion rights protest in Washington DC

Read more: ‘Do Something Democrats’ – Abortion rights supporters rally outside US Supreme Court

In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if the report is true, the Supreme Court is “on the verge of inflicting the greatest restriction rights over the past fifty years”.

However, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell described the leaked report as an “attack on the independence of the Supreme Court” and “further escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges”.

“The shameful statements of President Biden, President Pelosi and Chief Schumer refuse to defend judicial independence and the rule of law and instead play into this toxic spectacle. Real leaders should defend the independence of the Court unconditionally “, did he declare.

“This unlawful action should be investigated and punished as fully as possible. The Chief Justice must get to the bottom of the matter and the Department of Justice must pursue criminal charges, if appropriate.”

It comes amid a legislative push to restrict abortion in several Republican-led states, with Oklahoma being the most recent by passing several bills, including one that takes effect this summer, making it a crime to perform an abortion.

Analysis by Greg Milam, American correspondent

The US Supreme Court’s decision on abortion is one of the most anticipated and potentially significant in decades of American justice.

This makes the leak of a draft ruling all the more astonishing and will certainly spark a backlash against the court and the states that pushed for the abortion ban.

The content of the leaked opinion, written by conservative judge Samuel Alito, will have surprised no one. The court’s conservative lean these days has led most to expect it to side with those Republican states when it issues its final opinion.

When Donald Trump, as the right of the president’s office, was given the opportunity to appoint three new justices to the court, many commentators saw the writing on the wall. Abortion was an issue that mattered to Trump voters.

But the unprecedented nature of this leak — almost nothing is leaking from the inner workings of the Supreme Court, let alone the draft opinions — will enrage those seeking to protect the right to have an abortion.

If the court, as Alito suggests, strikes down the constitutional right to request an abortion, it will be up to each state to ban or restrict it. The decision would trigger an automatic ban in 13 states and automatically keep it legal in 17 others.

Activists say it poses health risks to women across America, when it’s not possible to travel hundreds of miles to states that allow abortion.

The Biden administration has been outspoken in its condemnation of laws restricting abortion. The White House and America face a test of response.

What do recent polls show about the right to abortion?

Abortion rights are a hotly debated topic in the United States, with polls showing relatively few Americans want to see Roe overthrown.

A poll in December found that Democrats increasingly see protecting abortion rights as a high priority for the government.

Pro-abortion and anti-abortion protesters protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court after a leaked majority draft opinion drafted by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a court majority to overturn the landmark Roe decision v.  Wade on abortion rights later this year, in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
Pro-abortion and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court

Read more: Texas woman charged with murder for ‘voluntary abortion’

In 2020, AP VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe Wade decision as is; only 29% said the court should overturn the decision.

In general, AP-NORC polls reveal that a majority of the public supports abortion as legal in most or all cases.

Yet when asked about abortion policy in general, Americans have nuanced attitudes on the issue, and many do not believe that abortion should be possible after the first trimester or that women should be able to obtain a legal abortion for any reason.

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