U.S. Supreme Court

Protesters Gather in DC After Leaked Draft Suggests SCOTUS May Overturn Roe V. Wade

"It hurts so much to know that it might be ripped away from me," one demonstrator said standing outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night

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Protesters gathered Monday night outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. in response to a draft opinion obtained by Politico, which, if verified, reveals the court's intention to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling.

Pro- and anti-abortion rights protesters descended on the court to make their voices heard Monday night and Tuesday morning.

At one point, both groups were intermingling and chanting over each other. Photos show police officers erecting extra barriers to keep the groups apart.

"A lot of people who are in marginalized and vulnerable communities that are going to be completely cut off from access, especially women in red states or LGBTQ identifying people. So, I want to be here because I can be," Sally Fried, a D.C. college student, said. "I want to be the voice for them."

Court police installed metal barricades in front of the stone building's steps on Monday evening after news broke of the draft opinion's existence. People could be heard loudly chanting "abortion is healthcare" and were holding signs as the crowd grew.

A leaked draft opinion reported by POLITICO and not confirmed by NBC News outlines a scenario where a majority of justices will overturn a decades-old ruling that allowed abortion nationwide. The news sent shockwaves through the nation and region leading to a protest at the high court on Monday night.

"I'm just a little in shock," said one protester, who said she expected the court would not overturn so many years of precedent.

The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the case, and opinions are known to change from the drafting process to the final published ruling.

Photos: Pro, Anti-Abortion Rights Protests Erupt at Supreme Court After Draft Opinion Leak

Chief Justice John Roberts said the leaked draft opinion is authentic, although not a final position, and the court will investigate the “egregious breach.”

NBC News has not obtained the draft. A Supreme Court spokesperson said Monday evening that the court declined to comment on the reported draft ruling.

Another pro-abortion rights protester in D.C. Monday evening said that she "absolutely" needed to be demonstrating in front of the court because it affects her rights so "personally."

"It hurts so much to know that it might be ripped away from me," she said.

Anti-abortion showed up with signs reading "I am the pro-life generation" and "abortion is violence." One demonstrator said that the potential ruling would end "killing en masse" of unborn humans.

The group Metro DC DSA said it would rally on the steps of the Supreme Court beginning at midnight Tuesday after the news broke.

The draft opinion in the case challenging Mississippi's 15-week ban on abortion was written in February by Justice Samuel Alito, the Politico report says. Alito, a member of the court's 6-3 conservative majority, forcefully rejected in the opinion his predecessors' original ruling, saying "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” according to Politico's report.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it added, according to Politico.

Justices typically vote shortly after arguments are heard in a case, according to those who cover the court extensively. Draft opinions are then created and circulated among justices and their clerks. Since they are drafts, justices can and have changed their votes.

If the draft or a version of it turns into a final ruling — expected to be released in June or early July — the legality of abortion would be left up to individual states to decide unless Congress made it legal nationwide.

The leak of a draft opinion, especially in a case of this magnitude, is largely unprecedented in modern times, according to those who cover the court, which covets secrecy as its members mull cases.

An initial draft majority opinion that Politico obtained suggests the Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark abortion rights case.
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