Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night after Politico published what it said was a draft opinion indicating it would overturn abortion rights protections guaranteed in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling.
“Dread and horror” drove Juliette Molz, who recently moved to Washington from New Jersey, to join other demonstrators calling for the protection of abortion rights outside the high court after the explosive report.
“I absolutely have to be out here, because this is something affects me so personally and hurts so much to know this might be ripped away from me,” Molz told NBC Washington.
Crowds chanted “abortion is health care,” and some carried signs with slogans like “legal abortion once and for all” and “we won’t go back,” videos and photos showed.
The document published by Politico suggests at least five justices side with Mississippi in its case before the court challenging the landmark ruling.
NBC News has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the document, and a spokesperson for Supreme Court said the court had no comment. A final opinion is not expected until late June or early July, and justices’ votes can change from the reported draft opinion by then.
Outside the court Monday, some of those who gathered were hopeful that the report means that the Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned.
“I’ve been praying for this as long as I’ve understood what a baby was,” one woman who declined to give her full name told NBC Washington. “It’s a big deal. Life begins at conception.”
The crowd Monday night numbers in the hundreds, the Reuters news agency reported. Most supported abortion rights.
“The first line in the draft is that this is a moral issue,” Annie McDonnell, 19, a student at George Washington University, told Reuters. “If it’s a moral issue, you shouldn’t be depriving us of our choice.”
Police put up barricades around the building, according to NBC Washington.
The Politico report also sparked reactions from lawmakers on both sides of the issue, as well as advocacy groups and others.
If the Supreme Court document is authentic, the leak would be extraordinary and appears to be unprecedented. The high court has what is considered to be a 6-3 conservative majority.