The revelation by Politico on Monday night on the Supreme Court’s draft opinion on abortion is a stunning and unprecedented leak and, if confirmed, would have enormous legal, social and political implications across America.
If the draft opinion represents the final version of the court’s finding then it would mean that the guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights, dating back to the landmark Roe v Wade ruling in 1973, would be swept away.
The opinion suggests it would left up to individual states across America to make a decision as to whether or not to permit abortions to take place and to set out their own regulations.
Pro-choice organisations have argued that over 20 states may introduce various forms of restrictions on abortion if Roe v Wade was struck down.
Some states have already put in place what are known as “trigger laws” which would come into effect immediately after any Supreme Court ruling to erode or remove the federal constitution’s protections which were set out in the 1973 ruling.
Some conservative groups are understood to have been discussing the potential of what could be close to a nationwide ban on abortion across America if Republicans took back power.
The document published by Politico on Monday represents the first leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion relating to a case which is officially still undecided.
It is unknown as yet whether there have been any subsequent changes to the draft document drawn up on February 10th.
The full court ruling is not expected until June or early July.
However, if the draft opinion is confirmed, it would represent what conservative groups and anti-abortion activists have been seeking for decades.
They considered that changing the complexion of the court and finding an appropriate case to have brought before it could open the door to the overturning of Roe V Wade and the constitutional right to abortion.
By chance and as a result of political manoeuvring by Republicans, Donald Trump as president had three opportunities to fill vacancies on the nine-member Court. His appointments tilted the balance to provide a decisive conservative majority.
The oral arguments in a case on abortion heard by the court last December suggested to many that it was minded to change the Row v Wade precedent, to the delight of anti-abortion campaigners.
On Monday, before the Politico leak emerged, the Washington Post reported that a number of Republican politicians had discussed at multiple meetings the possibility of banning abortion at around six weeks if they were returned to power.
The political fallout from an overturning of Row v Wade and a potential clampdown on abortion across the country remains to be seen as America prepares for key elections to Congress in November.
Would such a move please Republican supporters and anti-abortion activists or would it galvanise those on the pro-choice side to turn up to vote for the Democrats in a bid to prevent any for of nationwide ban being put in place?