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Thousands of reproductive rights advocates are protesting across the United States after an initial draft of the majority opinion was leaked and revealed that the United States Supreme Court has will be voting to overturn the landmark case, Roe v. Wade.
The drafted opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, would strike down the 1973 decision that guarantees women the federal constitutional right to safe abortions. It also mentioned Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that reinforced that right.
"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Alito writes in the draft, obtained by POLITICO. "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision."
He adds, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."
Among other statements made in the document, he stated that it is "time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."
The high court confirmed the leak on May 3 and has stressed that the decision is not final and can be modified. However, those responsible for the leak will be held accountable.
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"To the extent, this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way," Roberts said in a written statement. "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 added that the opinion on the draft "does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."
The court's drafted decision has raised concern among reproductive rights activists who fear the severe impact on women's health this decision will have as it would allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.
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"Abortion is still legal in the U.S. People should keep their abortion appointments and continue to seek the services they need because this is not an official decision," said Nancy Cardenas Peña, Texas State Director for Policy and Advocacy for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.
"Until the Supreme Court hands down its imminent ruling, people should continue to exercise their fundamental right to determine for themselves whether they want to become a parent, instead of being forced to remain pregnant against their will," Cardenas adds. "In my home state of Texas and a growing number of other states where the legislatures are controlled by anti-abortion extremists, we have been living under a constant wave of attacks on our fundamental human right to control our own reproductive lives for many years."
According to the Latina Institute, there are 22 states that are ready to outlaw abortion. However, until the final decision has been made by the court, abortion will continue to be legal in the U.S.
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"Today, we're calling on the federal government, again, to take immediate measures to ensure that everyone has access to safe abortion care so they can decide for themselves how to build and grow their families," said Lupe M. Rodríguez, Executive Director at the Latina Institute.
"We're also calling on communities across the country who support our right to abortion to sign up today and join this fight. We must all take action—call, write, get out on the streets—to protect our fundamental human right to access abortion care," she concluded.