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U.S. Supreme Court leak spurs abortion rights rallies

Published : May 04, 2022 17:39 IST T+T-
Demonstrators protested outside of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Demonstrators protested outside of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rallies were held in the U.S. after a leaked document showed that the top court plans to overturn federal abortion rights.

The United States on May 3 saw people taking to the streets across the country, demanding abortion rights be protected following a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade is the U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1973 that legalized women's right to abortion across the country, though many U.S. states have placed limits on access to abortions.

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated under the slogan "Off our bodies" in several cities including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle. The national Women's March organization called on supporters to bring families and signs to "courthouses and federal buildings everywhere" promoting the social media hashtag #BansOffOurBodies." In Washington, nearly, 1,000 people assembled in front of the Supreme Court in Washington urging continued federal protection for abortion rights.

In Manhattan, New York Attorney General Letitia James told demonstrators that nearly two decades ago, she "walked proudly into Planned Parenthood" and had an abortion. New York City witnessed the day's biggest protest with over 2,000 people coming together in lower Manhattan's Foley Square with signs saying "Abortion is Freedom." Several hundred people marched in Austin, Texas, and small protests were held in cities across California. Some 30 people gathered outside a federal court in Los Angeles and chanted "No more shame, no more silence. Forced motherhood is fascist violence."

Leak being investigated

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on May 3 ordered a probe into the leak of the draft, calling it an "egregious breach of trust." On May 2, a draft opinion published by Politico news outlet said that the U.S. Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade judgment behind closed doors.

The court confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document in a press release. However, it cautioned that the draft opinion, which was from February, does not serve as the "final position of any member on the issues in the case." Written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the leaked draft is his opinion and what he believes reflects the opinion of at least four additional members of the top court. It does not reflect comments or reactions from other members of the nine-member court. In the draft opinion, Alito said he believes that "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start."

A decision to overrule the judgment would lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states in the U.S. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July. President Joe Biden has asked pro-choice lawmakers to craft legislature enshrining abortion rights into law.

dvv/sms (AP, Reuters)