The Supreme Court has voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that provides women with a constitutionally protected right to an abortion, a report said.
The draft majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito and provided to Politico.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes in the 98-page draft opinion, obtained by the outlet.
The conservative-controlled Supreme Court has rejected the 1973 decision that guaranteed constitutional protections for abortion rights as well as the subsequent Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.”
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The ruling, which was drafted in February, would end the federal abortion protections and instead leave the decision up to each state to restrict or ban abortions.
It’s not clear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft, Politico reported.
No draft decision in the court’s modern history has been released publicly while a final decision on a case was still pending, according to the outlet.
SCOUTS judges are known to have changed their votes as opinions circulate, Politico noted, and major decisions such as this can go through multiple drafts before a final decision is made.
A source familiar with the court’s discussions on the matter told the outlet that four of the other conservative justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — joined Alito in his vote after the judges convened following oral arguments in December.
The four judges have maintained their positions as of this week. The source said Democratic-appointed justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were working on one or more dissents, leaving Justice John Roberts — who is expected to either join the dissent or pen an opinion of his own.
The right to have an abortion up until around 23 or 24 weeks, has been federally protected under the Constitution since the Roe v. Wade 49 years ago.
In December, the Supreme Court signaled its willingness to overturn the landmark case and permit a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
If the Alito draft is adopted, it would rule in favor of Mississippi — prompting about 26 states in the South and Midwest to move to immediately ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.
The court’s final decision is expected later this spring.