The United States
Supreme Court voted to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade decision, according
to an initial draft majority opinion accessed by POLITICO. The draft opinion,
written by Justice Samuel Alito, repudiates the 1973 ruling that provided constitutional
protections to abortion
and says, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” The
document, labelled “Opinion of the Court,” states: “We hold that Roe and
Casey must be overruled.”

“It is time to
heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected
representatives,” the court’s draft opinion document states.

What is Roe v

Roe v Wade (1973)
is a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that the
Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose
to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

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When the judgement
came into effect, it struck down many state and federal laws on abortion. It
also triggered a debate on whether and to what extent abortion should be legal.

Why Roe v
Wade is at the risk of falling?

The court’s
opinion document that was leaked and published by POLITICO was triggered owing
to a change in longstanding majority opinion on the case.

According to US
Supreme Court procedures, justices hold preliminary votes on cases shortly
after argument and a member of the majority writes a draft of the court’s
opinion, which is then discussed with other justices and amended if necessary.

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The current case
under consideration is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It
deals with a Mississippi state law that outlawed abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Supreme Court’s draft opinion is based on the arguments in this case and is
still susceptible to change.

Abortion is a
politically contentious topic in the United States that is clearly a partisan
issue, with Republicans taking a cohesively conservative stance and the Democrats
maintaining that the right to control one’s body lies with the pregnant woman.

Also Read | Abortions in Texas fell 60% in 1st month after its new law

The partisanship
has percolated into the US Supreme Court. According to a person familiar with
the court’s deliberations who spoke to POLITICO, four Republican-appointed
justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett
– voted with Alito, the writer of the draft, in a conference among justices
after hearing oral arguments in December, 2021.

Meanwhile, Stephen
Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – three Democratic-appointed justices –
are said to be working on one or more dissents. Whether Chief Justice John
Roberts will ultimately vote, and if he will join an already written opinion or
draft one of his own, remains unclear.

What happens
if Roe v Wade falls?

If Roe v Wade does
finally fall, nearly 22 state legislatures are expected to ban or substantially
restrict access to abortion. While women who have the resources will be able to
go to other states to get procedures done, many others, from underprivileged
backgrounds will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

Without Roe, the
number of legal abortions in the United States would fall by nearly 14%,
according to research carried out a team of researchers in Middlebury College,
the University of California, San Francisco and the Guttmacher Institute.