The United States Supreme Court is set to overturn a landmark ruling allowing abortion for women across the country, according to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico magazine.
The leaked draft does not represent an official decision on the matter, and there is still the possibility that votes could change as deliberations continue.
Here is how the US president, various members of the Democratic and Republic parties, rights groups and legal centres have so far reacted to the news:
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental,” President Joe Biden said in a White House statement. “Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
If the Supreme Court revokes the constitutional right to an abortion, Biden said he would work with Congress to codify the right in federal law.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that the court seemed “poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years – not just on women but on all Americans”.
Rounding on the “Republican-appointed” members of the court, the statement said a vote to overturn Roe v Wade “would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history”.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said the draft opinion was a “disgraceful attack” on women’s right to choose and said abortion would “always be” safe and accessible in New York.
Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, former first lady, and Democratic presidential candidate, called it “outrageous”.
Not surprising. But still outrageous.
This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, & lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace. https://t.co/TNo1IX3Tl4
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 3, 2022
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said Roe v Wade must be codified as the law of the land.
Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 3, 2022
Republicans hailed the draft ruling and condemned the leak of the draft ruling.
“The left continues its assault on the Supreme Court with an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley.
“I will say, if this is the Court’s opinion, it’s a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful.”
Rights and legal groups
Abortion rights groups condemned the draft ruling.
“This leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of abortion rights advocacy group Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.
“While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating, and comes just as anti-abortion rights groups unveil their ultimate plan to ban abortion nationwide… [We] will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.”
The National Women’s Law Center said: “The language in the draft opinion leaked from the Supreme Court is outrageous, irresponsible and shocking. Any Justice who signs onto this opinion is fuelling the harm and violence that will happen to people who become pregnant in this country.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said: “If the Supreme Court does indeed issue a majority opinion along the lines of the leaked draft authored by Justice Alito, the shift in the tectonic plates of abortion rights will be as significant as any opinion the Court has ever issued.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights said: “If the Supreme Court gives states more leeway to restrict abortion or prohibit it altogether, almost half the states would likely enact new laws as restrictive as possible or seek to enforce current, unconstitutional laws prohibiting abortion. States would then be divided into abortion deserts, where it would be illegal to access care, and abortion havens, where care would continue to be available.”
“We wholeheartedly applaud the decision,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national anti-abortion group Susan B Anthony List, said in a statement.
“The American people have a right to act through their elected officials to debate and enact laws that protect unborn children and honor women,” she said.
“If Roe is indeed overturned, our job will be to build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children in every legislature.”