The United States Supreme Court has voted to strike down the constitutional right of a woman to obtain an abortion, according to a leaked draft opinion published by media in America on Monday night.
A majority on the nine-member court has backed overturning the landmark Roe v Wade ruling which was decided 50 years ago, the political news organisation Politico reported.
Politico published details of a 90-page draft opinion drawn up by the Supreme Court following a case heard late last year which involved a challenge to abortion restrictions introduced by State politicians in Mississippi.
The initial draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated inside the Supreme Court said: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. We hold that Roe and Casey must be over-ruled.”
The draft opinion said that it was time “to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives”.
Politico said the draft opinion was dated February 10th and the reporter who wrote the story said on Monday night it was possible that some changes had been made to the draft since then.
Under the usual Supreme Court process the members would hold an initial vote after the oral arguments in a case and one member would be assigned to write up a majority opinion.
When completed, this would then be circulated to the other justices.
At times, in between the initial vote and the ruling being released, the vote alignment can change. A ruling is only final when it is published by the court.
The full decision of the Supreme Court in the Mississippi case is not expected to be released until next month or early in July.
However, Politico reported that four of the other Republican-appointed members of the US Supreme Court – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – had voted with Justice Alito in the conference held after they heard oral arguments in the Mississippi case last December.
The news organisation said that Justice Alito had argued in the draft opinion that the 1973 abortion rights ruling was an ill-conceived and deeply flawed decision that invented a right mentioned nowhere in the constitution and unwisely sought to wrench the issue away from the political branches of government.
Politico said the draft opinion concluded that the US constitution did not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion.