Supreme Court Roe v. Wade opinion draft leak prompts protests

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Supreme Court Roe v. Wade opinion draft leak prompts protests

Pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters descended on the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. late Monday as tensions mounted following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The ruling was obtained by Politico in an extraordinary breach of the Supreme Court’s ironclad precedence of secrecy. If enacted, it would end a women’s constitutional right to an abortion, which has existed for nearly 50 years.

Minutes after the bombshell document was leaked, barricades were erected outside of the Supreme Court building in anticipation of protests, according to reports.

Within the hour, a growing crowd of abortion rights activists and a smaller group of counter-protesters clashed outside of the fences at the impromptu gathering.

The crowd of pro-choice activists holding hastily-made signs could be heard chanting “Abortion is healthcare,” one clip shows.

By 11 p.m., the crowd had sizably grown, as various chants continued to ring out.

One anti-abortion protester confronted the crowd, yelling at them to “shut the f–k up,” telling them “I want to hear you say you’re okay with killing babies,” a video clip from CNN’s Eva McKend shows.

Tensions between protesters and counter protesters escalated following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Tensions between protesters and counter protesters escalated following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision on May 2, 2022.
Getty Images

In another clip from the Daily Beast’s Zachary Petrizzo, opposing protests can be heard trying to yell over each other, with the anti-abortion activists yelling “Hey, hey, ho, ho Roe v. Wade is going to go.”

The majority opinion, penned mostly by Justice Samuel Alito and obtained by Politico, rejects the 1973 decision that guaranteed constitutional protections for abortion rights as well as the subsequent Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992.

The draft ruling, which was written in February, would end the federal abortion protections and instead leave the decision up to each state to restrict or ban abortions.

A growing crowd of abortion rights activists and a smaller group of counter-protesters clashed outside of the fences at the impromptu gathering on May 2, 2022.
A growing crowd of abortion rights activists and a smaller group of counter-protesters clashed outside of the fences at the impromptu gathering on May 2, 2022.
Getty Images

Alito wrote that the Roe decision “imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single state”

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft concludes. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

But the decision may not go over well with the American public.

By 11 p.m., the crowd had sizeably grown, as various chants continued to ring out.
By 11 p.m., the crowd had sizably grown, as various chants continued to ring outside of the Supreme Court.
AFP via Getty Images
Minutes after the document was leaked, barricades were built outside of the Supreme Court building in anticipation of protests.
Minutes after the document was leaked, barricades were built outside of the Supreme Court building in anticipation of protests.
AFP via Getty Images

A 2020 poll conducted by the Associated Press and Chicago University’s National Opinion Research Center found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe v. Wade decision alone while just 29% said the court should overturn the decision.

Alito dismissed the idea that the court should be swayed by public opinion, writing “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work.”

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