US President Joe Biden says he opposes a Supreme Court move to overturn a historic law that legalised abortion, saying the right is “fundamental” for women.
In a draft ‘opinion’ document written by Justice Samuel Alito, the court says the landmark Roe v Wade decision in 1973 was “egregiously wrong from the start”.
It is unclear at this stage if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter – and it has yet to issue an official ruling.
President Biden said he was ready to act if the court attempts to roll back abortion rights.
Mr Biden said: “If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
He added that a decision overturning Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November’s heated midterm elections.
“It will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” the president said.
Justice Samuel Alito’s document was first reported by Politico, which said it has been circulated inside the court.
The draft opinion reads: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled”, 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.
The Supreme Court has yet to issue an official 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.