COLORADO SPRINGS — A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. It’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter.
The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court’s secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided.
The news outlet published what was labeled as a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Colorado lawmakers have their own views on the documents, including Governor Jared Polis. He released a statement Monday night. "While states like Texas, Florida, and Arizona are engaging in the unwelcome intrusion of government into deeply personal and religious decisions, Colorado remains a refuge where individual rights are respected and where any person has the ability to live, work, thrive, and raise a family on their own terms,” said Governor Jared Polis. “While this is extremely disappointing news, representing a radical shift in American life away from individual freedom, in Colorado we will continue to fight for and respect the right to make decisions about your own body and medical health.”
In April, Polis signed a bill that guarantees abortion access and other reproductive rights in state statute on Monday. HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, says that state and local public entities are prohibited from interfering with a person’s right to continue a pregnancy, give birth, or have an abortion. It also calls people’s access to contraception a “fundamental right.”
Republican Colorado Springs Congressman Doug Lamborn also weighed in with a statement saying in part, "I pray and am hopeful that these reports are true, and the Supreme Court does the right thing. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was tragically wrong and has cost over 73 million unborn children their lives."
The Supreme Court has yet to issue a ruling in the case, and opinions — and even justices’ votes — have been known to change during the drafting process. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term is up in late June or early July.
The draft is signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion states.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it adds, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s finding of a Constitutional right to abortion services but allowed states to place some constraints on the practice. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The draft opinion in effect states there is no Constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.
Politico said only that it received “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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