Justice Samuel Alito and the conservative majority changed almost nothing in the opinion published on Friday, making practically the same draft ruling leaked to Politico in May the law of the land.
Alito did include sections in the published ruling that address dissents offered by the three justices in the court’s liberal minority, and a section addressing a concurrence written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
But by and large, the published version is the same as the draft: it overturns Roe and Casey, does so with the same reasoning, and virtually in the same terms.
The opinion remains blistering, calling doctors that perform abortions “abortionists,” for example — language that comes as part of an analysis which suggests that performing the procedure is a criminal act.
At only one point, TPM found, did Alito tone down his writing.
In the draft, Alito wrote that “until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Zero. None.”
In the final, published version, Alito excised the final two words. There is no “Zero. None.” in the published opinion.
Most of the changes between the drafts are simply copyedits — changing “%” to the written-out “percent,” or expanding citations.
The changes that go beyond style tweaks are still largely insubstantial.
In the draft, Alito wrote that the court was considering “whether a right to obtain an abortion is supported by other precedents.”
In the published version, Alito wrote that the court was considering whether the same right is “part of a broader entrenched right that is supported by other precedents.”
At other points, Alito slightly changed descriptions or medical terminology. In the draft, for example, he wrote “certain dilation and extraction procedures.” In the published version, he referred to “evacuation procedures.”
Elsewhere in the draft, Alito referred to fetal viability “after conception.” In the published version, it’s fetal viability during the weeks “of pregnancy.”
The changes are minor, and, in a sense, serve to illustrate the broader point: the extreme draft that was leaked in May did not change.