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U.S. abortion battle reignites as Supreme Court signals it will overturn Roe v Wade

World May 03, 2022 08:19PM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. Pro-abortion rights protesters react outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this y 2/5

By Lawrence Hurley, Andrew Chung and Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -America's decades-old battle over abortion rights exploded anew on Tuesday as the Supreme Court confirmed a draft opinion that signaled it will soon overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

President Joe Biden denounced the expected move as "radical" as Democrats in Washington and in statehouses scrambled to try to find a response to defend a right that women in the United States have held for almost half a century.

Some moderate Republicans were also dismayed but social conservatives were delighted even as they voiced anger that the opinion was leaked.

The court confirmed that the draft opinion, published late on Monday by the news outlet Politico, was authentic but said it did not represent the final decision of the justices, due by the end of June.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced an investigation into how the draft - authored by Justice Samuel Alito of the court's conservative 6-3 majority - was leaked, calling it a "betrayal" of the confidentiality of the judicial process.

"This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the court and the community of public servants who work here," Roberts said, pledging that the disclosure will not undermine the integrity of the court's operations.

Hundreds of people on both sides of the divide gathered outside the Supreme Court building in Washington. Supporters of abortion rights chanted "off our bodies" and "abortion is healthcare," while their opponents responded: "Pro-choice is a lie, babies never choose to die."

A ruling by the court striking down Roe would give many Republicans and religious conservatives a victory they have chased for decades.

"It's a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence," Biden said of Alito's draft, arguing that such a decision would call into question other rights including same-sex marriage, which the court recognized in 2015.

"If it becomes the law, and if what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is the right to choose," Biden added, referring to abortion rights.

The Roe decision recognized that the right to personal privacy under the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's ability to terminate her pregnancy.

Biden vowed to work toward getting Congress to pass legislation codifying the Roe ruling and urged voters to back candidates in the Nov. 8 congressional elections who support abortion rights.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber will vote next week on such legislation even though a similar Democratic-backed bill already failed this year.

Amid Republican opposition, the razor-thin Democratic majority is not enough to overcome Senate rules requiring a supermajority to advance most legislation.

Even if the new Senate vote fails, as is almost inevitable, Democrats could use it to bolster their chances in the midterm elections in which Republicans are hoping to regain control of Congress.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they are more likely to back candidates who support the right to abortion in the November vote, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Tuesday.

Democrats believe that will help incumbent Democratic senators including Mark Kelly in Arizona and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and could hurt some incumbent Republicans, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

'ROCKS MY CONFIDENCE'

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, moderate Republicans supportive of abortion rights, voiced dismay at Alito's draft.

"If it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I would just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," Murkowski said, adding she supports legislation codifying abortion rights.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham welcomed the news.

"If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which I believe was one of the largest power grabs in the history of the Court, it means that every state will decide if abortion is legal and on what terms," Graham said. "That, in my view, is the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue and the way the United States handled the issue until 1973."

The person who leaked the draft has not been identified.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the leak as a "lawless action" and said it was part of a campaign by the "radical left," but offered no evidence.

STATE LAWS

If Roe is overturned and no federal legislation is passed, abortion law would be determined by the states. Abortion likely would remain legal in liberal-leaning states while conservative states would be free to ban it.

States have already passed a raft of abortion-related laws. Republican-led states have moved swiftly, with new restrictions passed this year in at least six states. On Tuesday, the governor of Oklahoma signed a ban outlawing abortions after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.

At least three Democratic-led states this year have passed measures to protect abortion rights.

Abortion provider Planned Parenthood said it was horrified by the draft ruling, although its clinics remain open for now.

"While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating," said Alexis McGill Johnson, the group's president.

The case at issue involves a Republican-backed Mississippi ban on abortion starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law blocked by lower courts.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Alito wrote in the draft opinion https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000180-874f-dd36-a38c-c74f98520000.

Roe allowed abortions to be performed before a fetus would be viable outside the womb, between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Based on Alito's opinion, the court would find that Roe was wrongly decided because the Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.

"Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion," Alito wrote.

U.S. abortion battle reignites as Supreme Court signals it will overturn Roe v Wade
 

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Comments (11)
gab nea
gab nea May 03, 2022 6:51PM ET
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can we the people recall a supreme court justice if they lied during their confirmation?
John Avenetti
John Avenetti May 03, 2022 4:03PM ET
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Says the "Catholic". he's completely satanic.
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 4:03PM ET
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About 1/2 of American Catholics are pro-choice
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA May 03, 2022 3:59PM ET
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Extreme radical right up to their usual tactics!
John Locke
John Locke May 03, 2022 3:53PM ET
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cue the next mind numbing distraction... meanwhile the dollar is on the verge of collapse as is the stock market
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA May 03, 2022 3:53PM ET
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Dollar is nearing 2 yr highs but ok lmao
John Avenetti
John Avenetti May 03, 2022 3:53PM ET
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Benjamin USA yeah Ben everything is just fine. go back to cnn. thanks.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA May 03, 2022 3:53PM ET
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John Avenetti im not on cnn im on https://investing.com and we can all see the charts lol, why so triggered john?
Forex Harbingers
ForexHarbingers May 03, 2022 3:53PM ET
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There has to be winners and losers in trading. Its not our fault they cant see what is coming
ottin nerner
ottin nerner May 03, 2022 3:42PM ET
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looks like we are back to our news cycles, because no body is interested war news anymore.... next issue would race baiting or illegal immigration ...
Red Riley
Red Riley May 03, 2022 2:01PM ET
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hhhhmmm how can this infringe on a right of someone if that someone can't be defined.
Anthony Doan
Anthony Doan May 03, 2022 2:01PM ET
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hahahaha Good one!! Biden and the rest of the dem party are annoyed. Good!!!
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 2:01PM ET
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Who cares if women lose rights and have to resort to coat hangers?  The important thing is the Dems got annoyed!
The King
The King May 03, 2022 12:04PM ET
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abortion is illegal but ggeaay marriage is all cool. people nowadays are very funk up
Forex Harbingers
ForexHarbingers May 03, 2022 11:10AM ET
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Maybe after this, we can go back to the way it is supposed to be. States power. If the constituents of one state vote to want to legalize, that is their power. The same applies the other way, if the constituents of a state vote for it to be outlawed, that is the states power. NOT the federal government. Crazy lefties scream about Rights and Constitution, and dont even understand it. This is getting ridiculous, these rules were laid out for the express purpose of allowing a diverse, multi belief culture to live in relative harmony based on their states own elected laws. Educate yourselves
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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"A 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of U.S. adults believed it should be legal in all or most cases..."  -- that's why Clarence Thomas (and his wife) will make sure the overturn of Roe v Wade will only take place after the Nov election.......
Show previous replies (5)
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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The US used to let states determine slavery.  That's the world retrumplicans want us to devolve to.
Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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Democrats are the party of slavery you seem to be ignorant of that simple truth / fact!
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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Brian Walsh   The Dixiecrats joined the Republicans
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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Brian Walsh   Southern landowners forbade ****among their black slaves to increase slave population.  A black child slave can be sold.
First Last
First Last May 03, 2022 8:43AM ET
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Brian Walsh  "Let the states decide!" --  Recent news shows the Republicans are going for a Federal *******ban.
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja May 03, 2022 8:07AM ET
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Government keeping ppl busy w same topics on election yrs.
 
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