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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8:26 a.m. ET, May 3, 2022

Here's what the Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade says

From CNN's Tierney Sneed, Ariane de Vogue and Joan Biskupic

TV camera crews are positioned in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3.
TV camera crews are positioned in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

In a stunning breach of Supreme Court confidentiality and secrecy, Politico has obtained what it calls a draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down Roe v. Wade.

In the draft opinion, Alito writes that Roe "must be overruled."

"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."

He added, "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's representatives."

"That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand," he said, according to the draft.

CNN has not independently confirmed the document's authenticity. Politico says it has authenticated the draft.

It appears that five justices would be voting to overturn Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts did not want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning he would have dissented from part of Alito's draft opinion, sources tell CNN, likely with the court's three liberals.

That would mean that the five conservative justices that would make up the majority overturning Roe are Alito and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Things to remember: The final opinion has not been released and votes and language can change before opinions are formally released. The opinion in this case is not expected to be published until late June.

According to the draft, the court would overturn Roe v. Wade's holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The opinion would be the most consequential abortion decision in decades and transform the landscape of women's reproductive health in America.

Read the full report here.