Protesters gather outside US Supreme Court after leaked document suggests court may overturn right to abortion

Protesters have gathered outside the US Supreme Court since Monday night, following the leaking of a draft opinion that suggests Roe v Wade will be overturned (Pictures: AP/Getty Images)

Protesters have gathered outside the US Supreme Court following the leak of a draft opinion indicating the high court will overturn abortion rights guaranteed under the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.

The protests broke out Monday evening after Politico published what it said was a draft opinion indicating the landmark legislation guaranteeing the right to abortion would be overturned – and have continued into Tuesday morning.

‘Abortion is health care!’ pro-choice protestors chanted on one side of the crowd. Hundreds of protesters took to the street, the majority of which were in support of abortion rights. Few handfuls of anti-abortion, pro-life protestors gathered in counter-protest, though their opposing chants were muffled by the masses.

Minutes after the leak, barricades were placed outside the Supreme Court building in preparation of protests. After news of the alleged draft spread, protestors quickly took to the front of the building, carrying makeshift signs and banging on drums.

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Protestors carrying hastily made signs reading ‘My body, my choice’ and other similar phrases described the shock of the news.

‘I absolutely have to be out here, because this is something that affects me so personally and hurts so much to know this might be ripped away from me,’ Juliette Molz told NBC Washington.

Pro-abortion activists cheered: ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, sexist fascists have to go,’ amid a tense crowd of anti-abortion advocates, who in response echoed: ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v Wade has got to go.’

The leaked opinion, drafted by Justice Samuel Alito, rejects the 1973 decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights as well as the subsequent Planned Parenthood v Casey decision in 1992, which largely maintained the right.

Protesters gather outside the US Supreme Court Tuesday morning after the draft opinion was leaked (Picture: Reuters)

‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,’ Alito allegedly wrote in the draft, which is dated Feb. 10, and published to Politico’s website.

‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,’ he wrote in the document, reportedly labeled as the ‘Opinion of the Court.’

The Politico report also provoked response from lawmakers on both sides of the issue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement said that if Politico’s report is accurate, the court will inflict the ‘greatest restriction on rights in the past fifty years.’

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the alleged draft a ‘direct assault on the dignity, rights, & lives of women’ in a Tweet.

Members of the press take photos as demonstrators gather in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC on Tuesday (Picture: Reuters)

‘It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal,’ Clinton said.

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state would propose an amendment to ‘enshrine the right to choose’ in the state’s constitution.

Even before the bombshell report was leaked, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Emily’s List organization announced a plan to spent $150million on the 2022 midterms to support candidates who would protect abortion rights.

While Democrats expressed outward rage following the report, responses from Republican lawmakers were more calculated, and many focused on getting to the bottom of the leak.

Pro-choice activists gather in DC on Monday night (Picture: Getty Images)

If Roe is overturned, abortion is likely to remain legal in liberal states or states with Democratic governors. Over a dozen states currently have laws in place to protect abortion rights.

Several Republican-led states have passed various abortion restrictions in recent years that defy Roe’s ruling.

If the draft Supreme Court document is authentic, the leak would be unprecedented. The high court, which currently holds a 6-3 conservative majority, is expected to produce its opinion in late June or early July.

A Supreme Court spokesperson declined to comment on the authenticity of the document.

Protests are expected to continue throughout the day Tuesday, and likely for the rest of the week.

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