Lawmakers, advocacy groups weigh in on apparent leak of draft opinion overturning Roe

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Lawmakers and advocacy groups reacted Monday to the unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark law protecting abortion rights, with many applauding the document and others denouncing it.

In the hours after Politico reported on the apparent draft, which has not been obtained or confirmed by NBC News, abortion rights protesters were seen gathering outside the Supreme Court.

Groups like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union slammed the apparent draft, with the abortion rights group’s CEO calling it “dangerous” — a sentiment echoed on Twitter by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.


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The National Women’s Law Center, a nonprofit group focused on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, tweeted, “Any Justice who signs onto this opinion is fueling the harm and violence that will happen to people who become pregnant in this country.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the “party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump.”

“Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people,” they said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said elected officials should codify the law through legislation immediately — or end the filibuster in the Senate if there aren’t enough votes to pass it.

Several Republican senators focused on who was behind releasing the document.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas called on the Justice Department and the Supreme Court to use “every investigative tool necessary” in the search for the leaker, while Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said on Twitter that it was “an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate.”

In a separate tweet, he added: “I will say, if this is the court’s opinion, it’s a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, said the organization will “wholeheartedly applaud” the draft if it becomes the court’s final opinion.

The opinion, reportedly written by Justice Samuel Alito, indicates at least five justices side with Mississippi in a case challenging the 1973 law.

The Supreme Court declined to comment.

Governors also weighed in on the opinion draft, with some vowing to defend rights in their states.

“To the nearly 2.2 million women in Michigan whose access to abortion hangs in the balance, I promise you this: I will fight like hell to make sure abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in our state,” Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who filed a lawsuit last month to protect legal abortion in her state, tweeted.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, said “abortion will always be safe & accessible” in the state.

“I refuse to let my new granddaughter have to fight for the rights that generations have fought for & won, rights that she should be guaranteed,” she tweeted.

While some Republican governors backed the news of the draft opinion, others defended the right to an abortion.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vowed to keep health care services for women “safe and legal.”

“As a pro-choice governor, I am committed to upholding Roe v. Wade, which is why I am proud of the bipartisan bill headed to my desk this year that expands access,” he said in a Tuesday morning statement.

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, also a Republican, doubled down in his pro-choice stance.

“If SCOTUS overturns Roe, it would be a massive setback for women in states without responsible laws protecting abortion access and reproductive health services,” he tweeted Tuesday. “I am proud to support every woman’s right to choose and I am proud that MA has and will always protect every woman’s right to choose what is best for them.”

Similarly, Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont said he wants “Vermonters to be assured that this state has prepared for this possibility.”

“Three years ago, we enacted a law that affirms the fundamental rights of all women and ensures reproductive health decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider — totally free from government interference,” he said. “This will remain true in Vermont regardless of what happens with the Supreme Court.” 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted if the report is true, she will “immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called out the leak as a “concerning” attempt to “manipulate the sacred procedures of the U.S. Supreme Court,” but said her “prayer is that Roe v. Wade is overturned and that life prevails.”

Chloe Atkins contributed.

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