Leaked US Supreme Court opinion heralds likely end of Roe v Wade abortion rights precedent

A crowd of people gather outside the US Supreme Court on Monday night, in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe vs Wade.  (AP Photo/Anna Johnson/Fox News)

A majority of the United States Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe vs Wade judgment which has imposed abortion on demand across the United States for half a century according to a preliminary draft ruling leaked to media company Politico.

The unprecedented leak from the nation’s highest court has shocked US legal experts and is seen by Conservative legal and political observers as an attempt by supporters of abortion to undermine the court by intimidating some of the judges to change their votes. Protests broke out at the Supreme Court building within minutes of the initial leak on Monday evening and the Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered the Supreme Court marshal to conduct a full inquiry into the leak.

“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” he said. “The work of the court will not be affected in any way,” said Roberts in a statement.

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According to the 98-page draft ruling penned by Judge Samuel Alito the Supreme Court voted 5-to-4 to overturn the ruling. If Roe vs Wade is scrapped it will mean that the decision on the right to an abortion will be up to individual states.

But experts say that the final ruling is only expected to be released in June or July and much could change before a decision is finalised.

Pro-life experts have for years argued that the Roe vs Wade decision was unconstitutional and unreasonable. The merits of the controversial 50-year-old ruling finally came before the Supreme Court after a legal challenge to a law passed by the state of Mississippi in 2018, which effectively challenges Roe and another similar ruling, Planned Parenthood versus Casey.

While the draft decision has been welcomed as an answer to prayer by the pro-life movement, spokesmen have condemned the way the news was leaked and have called for renewed prayer for the draft Supreme Court decision to stand.

Report based on various online media reports

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