A leaked draft opinion suggests the United States Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade decision that has guaranteed the right to abortion for half a century, Politico has reported.
The initial draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito has been circulated inside the court and was obtained by Politico. The majority opinion is not final until it is officially released by the court, and justices can still change their vote.
Politico describes the draft opinion as a “full-throated, unflinching repudiation” of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, which guaranteed abortion rights in the United States nationwide, as well as the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey decision, that largely maintained the right to abortion.
The opinion would be the most significant decision relating to abortion in decades in the United States, and would change the standing of reproductive rights and women’s health.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes in the document. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Politico says it has authenticated the draft.
The release of the document has been described as unprecedented, with early draft of opinion’s of the supreme court never leaking before a final decision is published. Draft opinions and voting alignments do often change before the final decision is announced by the court.