A secret document suggests Americans in what would be a constitutional earthquake.
Roe v Wade, the historic 1973 case that legalised the termination of pregnancies, may be about to fall after a majority of the court’s justices reportedly threw support behind striking it down.
Individual states would be left to heavily regulate or ban the termination of pregnancies, a document labelled ‘Opinion of the Court’ allegedly shows.
The draft opinion has been named an ‘abomination’ by the Senate Majority Leaders, while Hillary Clinton has warned it would ‘kill and subjugate women’.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman refused to comment on the paper, originally published by .
While it’s unknown if the alleged draft opinion would mark the court’s final decision on the issue, a number of key passages from it have emerged.
With a decision expected by late June or early July, here are seven important quotes from the paper, signed by Justice Samuel Alito.
Seven key passages from the reported draft opinion
- ‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision….’
- ‘Far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.’
- ‘The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions. On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.’
- ‘It has been said that it is sometimes more important that an issue “be settled than that it be settled right”. But when it comes to the interpretation of the Constitution — the “great charter of our liberties”, which was meant ‘to endure through a long lapse of ages,’ we place a high value on having the matter “settled right.”’
- ‘On many other occasions, this Court has overruled important constitutional decisions. … Without these decisions, American constitutional law as we know it would be unrecognizable, and this would be a different country.’
- ‘The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe.’
- ‘We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision.’
Abortion will likely become illegal in at least half of all US states if Roe v Wade is overturned, according to pro-reproductive rights group The Guttmacher Institute.
At least 22 states already have laws that would come into effect, should the decision be officially adopted.
Four other states are expected to pass new abortion bans in the near future, the organisation says.
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