May 26, 2022

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Democratic governors, attorneys general ‘horrified’ by Supreme Court draft, vow to defend abortion

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Democratic governors and attorneys general responded to the alleged draft of a forthcoming Supreme Court opinion striking down Roe v. Wade with horror and a renewed dedication to abortion rights.

The draft, which the Court refused to confirm or deny and which appears to date back to February, would reverse Roe v. Wade (1973) and allow the states to make their own laws on the hot-button issue of abortion. Since this is a draft, reported by Politico, and not an official signed opinion, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Drafts circulate and change.

“I am horrified by the apparent draft Supreme Court opinion leaked this evening that would overturn the right to abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., said in a statement Monday. “For the sake of women across the country, this should not be the Supreme Court’s final opinion when it comes to abortion rights.”

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Hochul said she refuses “to go backwards” on the issue. “I refuse to let my new granddaughter have to fight for the rights generations have fought for and won, rights that she should be guaranteed,” she said. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
(AP)

“For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms,” the governor added. “New York will always be a place where abortion rights are protected and where abortion is safe and accessible. Just as the Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp tall in our harbor, New York will never stop fighting for what’s right — unafraid and undeterred.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., called the draft an “appalling attack on the rights of women.”

“This draft opinion is an appalling attack on the rights of women across this country and if it stands, it will destroy lives and put countless women in danger,” he said in a statement Monday. “It will be the end of fundamental constitutional rights that American women have had for nearly 50 years.”

Newsom claimed that the draft opinion shows that the Court “does not value the rights of women.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes an appearance after the polls close on the recall election, at the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, California, U.S., September 14, 2021.

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes an appearance after the polls close on the recall election, at the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, California, U.S., September 14, 2021.
(REUTERS/Fred Greaves)

“We have a Supreme Court that does not value the rights of women, and a political minority that will stop at nothing to take those rights away,” he said. “This won’t stop with choice and the right to privacy. They are undermining progress, and erasing the civil protections and rights so many have fought for over the last half century.”

“We have to wake up. We have to fight like hell. We will not be silenced,” he concluded.

Newsom also released a joint statement with California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, calling for an amendment to “enshrine the right to choose” in the California Constitution.

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Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., described Monday as a “truly dark day in America.”

“A truly dark day in America with the news reports that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade,” he wrote on Twitter. (It remains unclear whether the Court has indeed voted to overturn Roe, and the situation may change even if it has.) “This year, I signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act – codifying a woman’s right to choose into state law. New Jersey will not go backwards on reproductive rights.”

This photo from Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, shows Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., during a gubernatorial debate at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, Pool)

This photo from Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, shows Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., during a gubernatorial debate at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, Pool)

“I want to assure every New Jerseyan that today’s news about the Supreme Court does not change access to abortion in our state,” he added.​ “Access to reproductive health care remains available to anyone who needs it in New Jersey.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser, D-Colo., pledged to defend “reproductive rights” if the Court will not.

“Now would be a good time to make clear that Colorado will protect reproductive rights regardless of whether #SCOTUS does,” he tweeted. “And we will be protect the right to travel here for abortion services as well.”

States with Democratic legislatures have passed laws codifying abortion in case Roe gets overturned. Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., signed a law creating a “fundamental right” to abortion and denying any right for the unborn. In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., signed a law codifying abortion rights and explicitly removing protections from unborn infants. 

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While many polls suggest Americans support Roe, in-depth polling reveals a more complicated picture. When asked about their opinion on abortion during specific periods of pregnancy and other situations, 71% of Americans say they support restricting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (22%), or in other limited circumstances such as rape and incest (28%), to save the life of the mother (9%) or not at all (12%). Only 17% of Americans said abortion should be available during an entire pregnancy and 12% said it should be restricted to the first six months.

This is a developing story and will be updated.