According to a leaked draft of a ruling obtained and published by Politico on Monday night, the United States Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, paving the way for states like Texas to outlaw abortion entirely.
In the leaked draft of the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito writes, “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.” At issue before the court is a case brought by a Mississippi law prohibiting abortion.
According to Politico:
A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that line-up remains unchanged as of this week.
The three Democratic-appointed justices – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.
Leaks of Supreme Court opinions are exceptionally rare, with this being the first in modern history.
The official release of the opinion is expected to come in June or July.
If the opinion comes to fruition, it would allow for the legality abolition of abortion to be decided by individual states for the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Texas is among a number of states that has passed “trigger laws” that would outlaw abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court. The Texas bill—HB 1280—was passed by the state Legislature last year and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 16, 2021.
Legislative analysis prepared by the Senate Research Center explains HB 1280 would “go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues a judgment in a decision overturning, either fully or in part, the decisions handed down in Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, thereby taking effect to end the practice of abortion to the extent allowable under the new precedent.”
While cautioning that the decision is not final, Texas Right to Life said they were “encouraged” by the draft.
“We prayerfully anticipate the complete reversal of Roe, giving authority to protect preborn children back to the states. However, the outcome is not final,” said Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz. “A leak this big is unprecedented and could have been an attempt to sway the decision. We expect pro-abortion radicals to attempt to intimidate the justices from protecting preborn children in this manner. Pro-Life advocates must continue to pray, especially for the justices’ fortitude, until the court officially issues a decision.”