Supreme Court draft opinion would overturn Roe v. Wade

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:15 a.m. ET, May 4, 2022
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4:08 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Harris says now is the time to "fight for women" in response to SCOTUS draft opinion

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Vice President Kamala Harris said that now is the time to “fight for women and for our country with everything we have” in her first statement since news of the draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade leaked.

President Biden earlier told reporters that he thinks codification of Roe v. Wade “makes a lot of sense.” While Harris did not address the issue in her statement, she said it’s clear that those who oppose the law “want to punish women” and take away their rights.

“Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy. What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies,” Harris said.

Harris, the first female vice president of the United States, also echoed statements from Biden that with this draft opinion, “the rights of all Americans are at risk.”

“If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have,” Harris added.


4:08 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

GOP Sen. Murkowski: If Roe is overturned, it is not the direction I believed the court would take

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Sen. Lisa Murkowski asks a question during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on May 3.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski asks a question during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on May 3. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on Tuesday that if a draft opinion by the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade is accurate, “it was not the direction that I believed that the court would take”

“If the decision is going the way that the draft that has been revealed is actually the case, it was not the direction that I believed that the court would take based on statements that have been made about Roe being settled and being precedent,” the Alaska senator said.

Asked how this impacts her thinking about future nominations, Murkowski said: “I haven't processed that yet.”

Murkowski later added that if the Supreme Court draft ruling striking down Roe v. Wade is accurate, “it rocks my confidence in the court.”

“The comment that I made earlier was if in fact this draft is where the court ends up being … the words that I used is it has rocked my confidence in the court and that is because I think there was some representations made with regards to precedent,” Murkowski said to reporters, noting she’s specifically referring to the comments that “were made to me and to others about Roe being settled and being precedent.”

What we know: The Supreme Court in a statement confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document but noted that it does not represent a decision in the case.

Chief Justice Roberts called the leak a "singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here."

12:39 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Here's how the US stacks up with other countries on abortion rights

From CNN's Rob Picheta

The Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade Tuesday, stressing that it was not the final decision.

An official Supreme Court opinion striking down Roe v. Wade in the United States would reverberate around the world. It would firmly counter a global trend towards freer access to abortion and place the US in a very small club of countries that have moved to restrict access in recent years.

Several states have already chipped away at the availability of the procedure; if swathes of the US are allowed to end it entirely, the country would become home to some of the strictest abortion laws in the Western world.

Currently, the US is one of 56 countries where abortion is legal at the request at a woman's request, with no requirement for justification, according to the World Health Organization.

It is generally in the company of other Western nations, since few developed countries ban or heavily restrict access to abortions. Of the 36 countries the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs defines as developed economies, all but two — Poland and Malta — allow abortions on request or on broad health and socio-economic grounds, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which campaigns for improved access to abortion and monitors laws worldwide.

But an end to federal protection of abortion would see parts of the US join that list. It would also push against a global tide that has seen many nations, including those on the United States' doorstep, liberalize abortion laws in recent years.

Last year, Mexico's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional, in a decision impacting precedent for the legal status of abortion nationwide.

The US' northern neighbor, Canada, is one of the few countries which allows abortion at any point during pregnancy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticized moves in US states to make abortions more difficult to access.

Most European Union nations — including those in the G7 — allow abortion with gestation limits, the most common being 12 weeks, according to monitoring charities including CRR. Exceptions after that period are usually permitted on certain grounds, such as if the pregnancy or birth poses a risk to the mother's health.

Japan, alongside countries like Finland and India, makes provisions for abortion in cases of rape or risk to the woman's health, but also on wider socioeconomic grounds.

Among comparative democracies to the US, Australia's laws have been among the most similar. As in the US, access to abortion varies in each Australian state and territory — and until recently, some regions criminalized the procedure.

Read more about other countries' policies on abortion here:

12:19 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Manchin defends vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh

From CNN's Manu Raju and Morgan Rimmer

Sen. Joe Manchin defended his vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, telling CNN this morning “I based it on the facts I had in front of me,” adding, “He was not – I did not see – the claims that were made against him were not substantiated in anything I saw, so I thought it was unfair. He was very well qualified.”

Asked if he’d vote for him again today, the West Virginia Democrat added, “I vote for people that basically, I think, have the qualifications that they’re asked to do.”

Pressed on if his support for the Senate filibuster was unchanged, Manchin replied, “The filibuster is a protection of democracy.”

4:31 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

CNN analysis: An earth-shattering moment for a Supreme Court already on the brink

From CNN's Joan Biskupic

The US Supreme Court’s legitimacy has been deeply pierced, and it may never recover its stature in the eyes of America.

For Chief Justice John Roberts, whose concern for the institution’s reputation is manifest in nearly every opinion he writes and every public speech he makes, the developments are a disaster of the highest order.

Not only does it appear that the five most conservative members of the court, including the three new appointees of former President Donald Trump, are ready to overturn a half century of constitutionally grounded abortion rights. It further appears that Politico, which published the first draft of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, had surmounted the court’s longstanding protocols of secrecy and security.

Such a breach of an opinion at this early stage of drafting is unprecedented. And that it occurred in a case of seismic importance to American life, a case that could affect so many women and their families, and in a case that could reorder the political landscape, only makes the entire episode more startling.

Read more here.

4:09 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Biden says "range of rights" would be affected if Roe v. Wade draft opinion becomes law

(Evan Vucci/AP)
(Evan Vucci/AP)

President Biden spoke further on the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, saying it concerns him "a great deal."

"It doesn't represent who's going to vote for it yet. I hope there are not enough votes for it," Biden told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

"The idea that concerns me a great deal that we're going to after 50 years decide a woman does not have a right to choose within the limits of a Supreme Court decision ... But even more, equally as profound, is the rationale used, and it would mean that every other decision made in the notion of privacy is thrown into question," he said.

According to the draft document, the Court found there’s no inherent right to abortion because it is not covered under privacy protections derived from the Constitution. 

"The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision," Alito wrote. He said that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and that its reasoning was "exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences."

Biden said "a whole range of rights" would be questioned if the draft reflects a final opinion, he said.

"And the idea we're letting the states make those decisions ... would be a fundamental shift in what we've done. So it goes far beyond, in my view — if it becomes a law and if what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is the right to choose. It goes to other basic rights: the right to marry, the right to determine a whole range of things, because one of the issues that this court and many members of the court, or a number of members of the court, have not acknowledged that there is a right to privacy in our Constitution. I strongly believe there is," he said.

"If this decision holds, it's really quite a radical decision," Biden added.

"It basically says all the decisions relating to your private life, who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions," he said. "... It's a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence." 

When asked if he would do away with the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade, Biden said "I'm not prepared to make those judgments now ... but you know, I think the codification of Roe makes a lot of sense." 

See Biden reaction to Roe v. Wade draft:

12:01 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Supreme Court confirms that the draft opinion is authentic

The Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document in a statement Tuesday.

"Yesterday, a news organization published a copy of a draft opinion in a pending case. Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the Court’s confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the statement said.

Chief Justice Roberts called the leak 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 said he asked the Marshal of the Court to investigate.

Read Roberts' statement:

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.
We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law. Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court. 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.
I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.

12:06 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Security is ramping up as protests ensue over leaked Supreme Court draft opinion

From CNN's Whitney Wild

A police officer sets up a barricade during a protest outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
A police officer sets up a barricade during a protest outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The United States Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department, and Supreme Court Police are adding security measures in response to demonstrations surrounding the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe V. Wade.  

Protesters descended on areas outside the Supreme Court overnight after the draft opinion was released, and have remained throughout the morning. 

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told CNN the department is activating its Civil Disturbance Unit to manage protests, but declined to specific how many officers or where they’d be deployed.  

The United States Capitol Police said it is working with other agencies and adding additional officers to areas around the Supreme Court.  

Demonstrations are planned throughout the day after hundreds turned out at the steps of the building.

Shut Down DC has advertised an event in the area to begin around 5 p.m. Other groups from New York to Houston have advertised protests via social media at municipal buildings, parks and other highly visible locations, such as the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

4:31 p.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he intends to hold a vote to codify Roe v. Wade

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

(Senate TV via AP)
(Senate TV via AP)

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it’s “a dark and disturbing morning for America,” in the wake of the draft Supreme Court opinion obtained by Politico that would strike down Roe v. Wade

He said, “The Republican-appointed justices reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade will go down as an abomination. One of the worst, most damaging decisions in modern history.”

Schumer argued the blame for this reported decision falls on “every Republican senator who's supported Sen. [Mitch] McConnell and voted for Trump justices pretending that this day would never come.” He said they will now “have to explain themselves to the American people.”

Schumer said while this day has come, “we will fight it all the way.”

As the Supreme Court “is poised to strike down Roe,” Schumer said it’s his intention that the Senate will vote to codify the right to abortion into law. But in the split 50-50 Senate, there is currently no path forward to do that.

“A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise,” he added. “This is as urgent and real as it gets. We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see which side every senator stands. Every American is going to see on which side every senator stands.”