OnPolitics: Everything to know about leaked SCOTUS draft on abortion

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Activists gather to rally for abortion right in front of the Bruce R. Thompson courthouse in Reno, Nevada on May 3, 2022.
Activists gather to rally for abortion right in front of the Bruce R. Thompson courthouse in Reno, Nevada on May 3, 2022.

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers.

A draft Supreme Court opinion published by Politico on Monday suggested the court is considering a ruling that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a constitutional right to abortion.

The stunning leak of a draft opinion, set off an unexpected firestorm around one of the nation's most divisive culture war issues and simultaneously raised questions about the court's deliberations and its ability to keep those discussions secret. The Supreme Court on Tuesday verified the authenticity of the leaked draft but said it did not represent the court's final view.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft obtained by Politico. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled."

Though Supreme Court deliberations have leaked before, including during President Richard Nixon's administration, the release of a draft opinion from the closely guarded high court was highly unusual in modern times. Politico said the draft was circulated in February, about two months after oral arguments in the blockbuster case.

It's Amy with the latest news about abortion in the U.S.

What is the legal case at issue?

The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which centers around Mississippi's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion rights advocates say allowing the ban to take effect would essentially overturn Roe by wiping away one of its central holdings: that women have a right to an abortion until viability, the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb, or about 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

What will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned? What states will ban abortion?

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, states would be free to make abortion illegal. Nearly half of the states already have restrictive abortion laws in place that would take effect immediately upon the ruling. Another 16 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws explicitly protecting abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Who will be most affected by a ban on abortion?

Women of color and other marginalized, low-income people will be most affected by an overturning of Roe v. Wade, health and policy experts said.

Half of U.S. states, concentrated in the South, Midwest and Plains, have restrictive abortion laws set to go into effect should the reversal take place. Experts say those who disproportionately have trouble accessing health care, often people of color, will be most impacted.

More than half of the nation’s Black population lives in the South, where women of color, including Hispanic women, make up a significant proportion. The Plains states also have a large Indigenous population. Days ago, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a six-week abortion ban similar to one adopted by Texas last year.

If Roe is overturned, people may travel hundreds of miles to get to states where abortions are still allowed. Younger and lower-income people may not be able to afford the cost of travel.

Can President Biden, Congress protect abortion rights?

While President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers vowed to use legislation to codify abortion rights, the Senate's filibuster remains an obstacle.

In effect, filibuster rules require 60 votes to end debate on legislation and move to a vote. Currently, the Senate is evenly divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as a tie breaking vote.

As a result, many progressives are calling on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster.

Biden did not say Tuesday when asked whether he would support eliminating the filibuster to try to codify Roe. v. Wade, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that question was misguided because there are not enough votes in the Senate to codify Roe v. Wade regardless.

More stories on abortion you should read:

  • 'It's a really scary time': Anguish and anger erupted across the country Tuesday as abortion-rights advocates began flooding the streets, from the steps of the Supreme Court to New York, Nevada, Texas and California.

  • Was the leak illegal? The leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion was probably not illegal, according to legal experts, who said firing or disbarment were likely punishments.

  • 'We're never going back': Within hours of a leaked report, crowds began to congregate in front of the high court to celebrate and condemn what would be a politically seismic ruling.

  • How do Americans feel about abortion? About 49% of Americans said that abortion should be "legal and accessible" in a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll published this month. Only about a third of Republicans felt that way, compared with 73% of Democrats.

  • Congress to vote on abortion: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promises a Senate vote on abortion rights after SCOTUS opinion draft leak.

Happening tonight: Ohio is one of two states holding its primary on Tuesday. Indiana is the other. Here's what you need to know about each race. -- Amy

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will Roe v. Wade be overturned? What we know about leaked SCOTUS draft