Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision Nearly Identical To Leaked Draft
Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett pose during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (
SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn the monumental Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across America was “strikingly similar” with “barely any changes” to the leaked draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion earlier this spring, according to several who have compared both copies.

On May 2, an anonymous individual gave Politico a copy of Alito’s opinion, showing that the High Court was poised to strike down Roe as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That leaker has not been identified. As flagged by CNN, a cursory glance shows that Alito’s language at the heart of the matter was nearly identical in both the official as well as the draft opinion.

The line, “What sharply distinguishes the abortion right from the rights recognized in the cases on which Roe and Casey rely is something that both those decisions acknowledged: Abortion destroys what those decisions call ‘potential life’ and what the law at issue in this case regards as the life of an ‘unborn human being,” a line that the draft also included.

Likewise, the line, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” was included in both versions.

Alito’s response to the three dissenting justices, however, was not included in the leaked draft.

“The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone a ‘deeply rooted’ one, ‘in this Nation’s history and tradition.'” Alito said. “The dissent does not identify any pre-Roe authority that supports such a right — no state constitutional provision or statute, no federal or state judicial precedent, not even a scholarly treatise.”

As explained by Ethics and Public Policy Center president Ryan T. Anderson, “There are barely any changes–apart from responses to the dissent and the concurrence–in the Alito majority opinion. That shows 1) how strong the leaked draft was, and 2) how pathetic the various criticisms of it were, and are. Roe and Casey are simply indefensible.”

The leak prompted protests across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C. as well as dozens of attacks and vandalism of pro-life organizations, centers, and churches.

Alito wrote that Roe and Casey both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states.

“And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The leaked draft, substantially the same as Friday’s decision, had already galvanized pro- and anti-abortion foes outside the Supreme Court building and even the homes of conservative justices.

Mary Margaret Olohan contributed to this report.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

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