The Supreme Court has ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade according to a majority draft decision obtained by Politico.
The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, had been circulated within the Supreme Court earlier this year, the news outlet reports. In it, the Justice declares that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
The expected ruling comes following arguments last December over a controversial Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that secured abortion rights, effectively allows abortions to be obtained until fetal viability, at around 23 or 24 weeks.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in the draft, referring to the 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”
The reasoning behind Roe, he argues, “was exceptionally weak” and brought “damaging consequences.”
In conclusion, the Justice states that as the Constitution does not “confer the right to abortion,” Roe must be overturned, “and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Politico reports that the 98-page draft obtained had been circulated within the Court in February. The Court’s conservative justices voted with Alito to overturn Roe, while the Democratic-appointed justices – Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan – “are working on one or more dissents.” Chief Justice John Roberts’ position remains unknown.
The draft, which had been shared with Politico from a source close to the Court, marks the first time such a decision-in-progress has been leaked ahead of a final ruling. While the draft is non-binding, and justices can still change their votes while the case is in progress, it does provide insight into how the Court might rule.
Multiple states across the country have joined Mississippi in enacting restrictions on abortion. 13 states have so-called “trigger laws” that would take effect should Roe be overturned. 26 states have laws that show intent to ban the procedure should the Court rule against Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and as reported by CNN.
A final decision from the Supreme Court is expected in the next few months.