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Reactions to leaked Supreme Court abortion ruling

President Joe Biden has said that “a woman’s right to choose is fundamental” and that his administration “will be ready when any ruling is issued.”

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.

Protests outside the Supreme Court and across the country continued into Tuesday night after a leaked draft opinion suggested the high court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court confirmed Tuesday that the leaked draft Politico published Monday was "authentic." Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak an "egregious breach" of the court's trust. The court maintained that the draft does not represent the final opinion of members or of the full court.

Senate Democrats took the first steps Tuesday to consider a bill that would codify the abortion rights protections in Roe v. Wade into law. However, the bill appears to lack the required 60 votes.

The cloture motion is expected next week, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying senators will have to publicly state their positions.

Some lawmakers condemned the draft opinion, while others celebrated it. President Joe Biden issued a statement Tuesday saying that "a woman's right to choose is fundamental" and that his administration "will be ready when any ruling is issued."

For full coverage, please click here.

Higher fences go up near Supreme Court building

Fiona Glisson

Fiona Glisson and Phil Helsel

Workers were seen installing higher fences around the Supreme Court building in Washington after days of demonstrations over the fate of abortion rights in the country.

The new fences, which are around 8 feet high, replaced the shorter fencing that had been put in place. The new fences started being installed around 90 minutes after abortion rights demonstrators left the area Wednesday night.

Demonstrators have gathered outside the Supreme Court building since Monday night, when Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. The high court has not issued a final opinion, and it has described draft opinions circulated internally as routine.

No major disturbances have been reported outside the Supreme Court building related to demonstrations.

Confrontation at protests over abortion in front of Supreme Court

Fiona Glisson

Fiona Glisson and Phil Helsel

There was a small confrontation at an abortion rights protest near the Supreme Court building in Washington on Wednesday after anti-abortion demonstrators with signs walked behind people giving speeches.

Around 40 police officers surrounded the anti-abortion group with bicycles to separate the two groups shortly after 8 p.m.

A man with a “dismantle Roe” sign walked behind someone giving a speech, and one person tried to grab that sign but was unsuccessful, video from the scene showed.

Protesters have demonstrated near the Supreme Court since Monday night, when Politico published a draft Supreme Court opinion that suggested the court could overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling.

The Supreme Court says it is a draft opinion, that draft opinions are circulated internally as a routine part of the court’s work, and that it does not represent a decision by the high court or the final position of any member.

Former Supreme Court law clerks worry leak could sow distrust among justices, staffers

Former Supreme Court law clerks said this week’s publication of a draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade was a disturbing breach of court tradition that could change how the justices do their jobs.

The extraordinary leak, unprecedented in the modern era, came as a particular shock to those who have experienced firsthand how the court and its staff operate behind closed doors.

Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2001 and 2002, said that when he first heard Politico had gotten hold of the internal document, “I thought it probably wasn’t true,” adding that it seemed “inconceivable” to him.

“When I found it was true, I thought we turned a very sad corner,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m worried this could happen again and again and is a sign of the times.”

Read the full story here.

LGBTQ people fear abortion rights reversal

Tat Bellamy-Walker

Jo Yurcaba and Tat Bellamy-Walker

Josiah Ramos, a Black transgender man, said he fears that a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn long-standing precedent protecting access to abortion would have a greater effect on transgender and nonbinary people, who already face barriers to care.

“We all should have the right to decide what we want to do with our bodies,” said Ramos, 23, a co-director of Black Trans Blessings, a trans-led organization in New York City. 

“I’m not ready to have a kid,” he added. “So if I, God forbid, was to get pregnant and I wanted to have an abortion, you’re basically trying to strip my right … and that’s not fair.” 

Read the full story here.

Can abortion galvanize Latino Democratic and Republican voters?

Mayra Macias, the chief strategy officer at Building Back Together, was at dinner with her 21-year-old goddaughter when the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked.

“Her jaw dropped, and she said, ‘What?!’” Macias said of her goddaughter. “The thought of not having access to abortion ... I think for her, it was definitely a wake-up call to start thinking about, again, how the courts and how Republicans and Congress and how our government really do have such a drastic impact on everyone’s day-to-day life.”

Latino political consultants and those who organize voters said the latest news adds a new dynamic to their work mobilizing Hispanic voters.

The document, an early signal of where the court is heading, was leaked as Republicans are trying to capitalize on inroads that former President Donald Trump made with Latino voters, and Democrats are trying to win them back while preventing the GOP from chipping away more of its Latino voter base.

Read the full story here.

Abortion clinics brace for protests, harassment and violence if Roe falls

Security, always a major concern for abortion clinics, just became more urgent.

The leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade has clinics worried about an increase in harassment and other aggressive activity by abortion-rights opponents outside their doors.

Laurie Casey, the executive director of the WE Health Clinic in Duluth, Minnesota, said she is considering hiring security guards to boost protection in the aftermath of the Supreme Court leak. If the Supreme Court indeed nullifies Roe v. Wade, several states near Minnesota — including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan — would restrict or ban abortions. That could draw more protesters to Casey’s clinic.

“Our gut feeling tells us we could see increases in protests and harassment because of the decision,” Casey said.

Read the full story here.

Planned Parenthood CEO says politicians must be held accountable

Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said Wednesday on MSNBC that the organization must capture the outrage throughout the country because of the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Our job over the last few months has been to try to impart to folks the reality that Roe was very likely to be overturned,” she said. “After we have everyone out in the streets, now that everyone is showing up as best we can, is continuing to be loud, is to continue to make sure that elected officials see this outrage and to pivot immediately into capturing that rage and letting people know that we will hold them accountable.”

Politicians will have to explain to their constituents “why they are not taking votes to support access to safe abortion,” McGill Johnson said.

Murkowski says she will look at bill to codify Roe v. Wade

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Wednesday she will look at the legislation Democrats are expected to bring to the floor next week that would codify Roe v. Wade, but she noted that when the Senate voted to proceed to the bill earlier this year, she opposed it.

“I would actually like to see what changes, if any, had been made to that,” Murkowski said. “As you know, I did not support it last time, because I felt it was over-expansive and did not take into account some of the assurances that I think most want to ensure are kept in place as they relate, for instance, to religious freedom issues.”

In February, the Senate voted 46-48 to block a bill pushed by Democrats to codify abortion rights into federal law.

The legislation, the Women’s Health Protection Act, failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, and it would have fallen short of the 50 votes needed for passage after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined Republicans in opposition.

How has getting an abortion or lack of access changed your life?

NBC News

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, nearly two dozen states are likely to ban abortions or severely restrict access to the procedure. Thirteen have “trigger laws” that would ban abortion almost immediately, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Center for Reproductive Rights. Whether abortion remains legal would be left up to individual states, forcing people living in states that restrict the procedure to travel out of state to legally end their pregnancies.

How has getting an abortion — or deciding not to — changed your life? How has having access to an abortion clinic affected your decision?

Tell us by using the form here.

Sen. Rosen urges turnout in midterm elections to prevent 'nationwide abortion ban'

Anjali Huynh

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., expressed concern Wednesday morning over the future of abortion rights and urged voters to turn out in the midterm elections.

"This puts the women's right to privacy, women's right to have control over their own reproductive health choices, center stage," Rosen said on MSNBC. "If this right to privacy, if this precedent, 50 years of settled law, is overturned, as was said in the prior piece, what’s next?”

Politico published a draft Supreme Court opinion indicating that the court would vote to strike down Roe v. Wade. Rosen — who is on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — said those concerned about a possible ban should "take that fear, that anger, that concern" and vote.

"We don't want a nationwide abortion ban. Electing Democrats up and down the ticket will protect that," Rosen said, saying she doesn't believe Roe v. Wade would be passed into law with the current Senate makeup.

"We're going to try to explore any options we have to do that, but frankly I'm not sure that we have the votes," she said.

"The stories of the tragedy, that's not going to stop abortions. It's just going to stop women from getting safe abortions," Rosen added. "I don’t want to have to go on the news and have my colleagues say, 'This is terrible. What a tragedy. What a tragedy,' when they still try to move forward a nationwide abortion ban."

About 500 pieces of abortion restriction legislation are pending or enacted in more than 40 states

Dozens of bills restricting abortion have passed through at least one state legislative chamber in the first four months of the year, and governors in nine states have signed restrictions into law.

The legislation ranges in scope, from access limits, counseling requirements and parental consent to outright bans on medication abortions or the mailing of abortion pills.

Read the full story here.

Biden warns draft abortion opinion has deeper implications than just abortion rights

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday weighed in further on the leaked draft opinion after he said he had a chance to look through it.

In response to a question about a possible ruling to reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Biden said, "This is about a lot more than abortion."

"What are the next things that are going to be attacked?" he told reporters at the White House after delivering remarks about paying down the national debt. "Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history."

NBC News

Rep. Cuellar attacked on his anti-abortion stance by opponent Cisneros in Texas Democratic runoff


Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Haley Talbot

Rebecca Shabad, Garrett Haake and Haley Talbot

WASHINGTON — Texas Democratic House candidate Jessica Cisneros is demanding her party’s congressional leaders drop their support of her primary opponent, Rep. Henry Cuellar, over his opposition to abortion.

Her attack on Cuellar comes as a blockbuster leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade is galvanizing Democrats to defend abortion rights and could shake up the midterm elections this year.

“As the Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade, I am calling on Democratic Party leadership to withdraw their support of Henry Cuellar who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House,” Cisneros said Wednesday morning in a statement to NBC News.

Read the full story here.

Phoebe Bridgers opens up about getting an abortion, says everyone deserves ‘access’

Grammy-nominated singer Phoebe Bridgers revealed she had an abortion last year while on tour, stressing to her social media followers the importance of accessibility in light of Monday’s bombshell leak that indicated the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour. I went to planned parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill,” the 27-year-old artist tweeted and shared on her Instagram story Tuesday.

“It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access,” she continued, sharing links to organizations that help provide abortions in states with limited access.

Read the full story here.

'It won't stop with eviscerating a woman's right to choose,' Rep. Gwen Moore says

Noah Levy and Chantal Da Silva

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., said she believes the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade could put other rights "on the chopping block."

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” Moore, a member of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, said she was once “naive” in believing that the U.S. would never return to a “pre-Roe v. Wade” era.

Discussing the draft ruling indicating the Supreme Court plans to overrule Roe v. Wade in a pending decision, Moore said it was interesting that Justice Samuel Alito, the reported author of the draft, “could just ignore the Ninth Amendment that says that the — that unenumerated rights, you know, should not be a bridge.”

“So that just puts on the chopping block gay marriage, birth control, numbers of other rights that we have,” she said.

Moore said she has seen people die from botched abortions and self-abortions, adding: “I personally have had to hustle up as a poor Black woman, hustle up money, and seeking money from women’s fund to travel to New York to get abortion care.”

"This brings back all the nightmares of — that I’ve ever had of the body snatcher, of Big Brother. And people need to understand that it won’t stop with eviscerating a woman’s right to choose," she said.

NY attorney general says she 'chose to have an abortion' decades ago and makes 'no apologies'

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday that she "chose to have an abortion" decades ago and made "no apologies" for her decision as she vowed to fight if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Speaking before protesters who gathered in Manhattan, James, an outspoken defender of abortion rights, said she had an abortion almost two decades ago, NBC New York reported.

She said she made the decision shortly after being elected as a New York City Council member.

“I was just elected and I was faced with the decision of whether to have an abortion or not, and I chose to have an abortion,” she said. “I walked proudly into Planned Parenthood, and I make no apologies to anyone.”

Now New York's attorney general, James has proposed a New York fund to help provide abortions to women who are unable to access the procedure in their own states.

“We will not go backward,” she said. “No judge of the Supreme Court can dictate to me or to you how to use your body.”

Latino abortion rights advocates warn of ‘dark times’ if Roe v. Wade is reversed

As soon as Texas implemented its restrictive 2021 abortion law, Omar Casas got busy helping distribute packets with Plan B contraceptive pills and condoms in the Rio Grande Valley.

The volunteer work just became more urgent with Monday’s leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion, said Casas, who volunteers with South Texans for Reproductive Justice.

“What we fear is that abortion was targeted first and that in all likelihood emergency contraception and birth control will be targeted next,” said Casas, 31, of Edinburg, Texas.

Casas and other Latinos on the front lines of providing abortions under increasingly restrictive state laws said that the leaked opinion signals an end to abortion access and that it would exact a heavy toll on Hispanics and other people of color. Many say they’ve already been given a preview of what could be to come in states like Texas.

Read the full story here.

The biggest health risks women would face if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the change would pose a profound threat to maternal health in the U.S., experts said.

If Roe is overturned, nearly two dozen states are likely to ban abortions or severely restrict access. Thirteen have “trigger laws” that would ban abortion almost immediately, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Research suggests the bans and restrictions would have manifold effects on maternal health. For one, if more pregnant people can’t get the abortions they seek, they’d shoulder the risk of the United States’ relatively high — and rising — rate of death from pregnancy-related causes, which is particularly elevated among people of color.

In addition, pregnant people would face the risk of prosecution for seeking to end pregnancies in states where abortion is banned, and research has shown that unwanted pregnancies have many harmful long-term consequences for mothers, including a higher chance of financial hardship and a severe toll on mental health.

Read the full story here.

Supreme Court leak shows importance of leaking information 'in the public interest,' WikiLeaks says

WikiLeaks has applauded the leak of the draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a tweet early Wednesday, WikiLeaks said it "shows the importance of leaking truthful information in the public interest."

The organization was founded by Julian Assange and works to publish news leaks provided by anonymous sources.

Politico on Monday published the Supreme Court document, which the court on Tuesday confirmed was "authentic." It said the draft does not represent the final opinion of members or of the full court.

A court formally approved Assange's extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. on espionage charges in April, with the final decision to be made by British Home Secretary Priti Patel. U.S. prosecutors have said Assange unlawfully helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified information later published by WikiLeaks, which they said put lives at risk.

NBC News

Abortion Rights To Reshape Election With Roe Precedent At Risk
Anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates demonstrate Tuesday evening outside the Supreme Court.Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates demonstrated Tuesday evening outside the Supreme Court.

'I am angry': Elizabeth Warren vows to fight back if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has vowed to fight back if the Supreme Court moves ahead with overturning Roe v. Wade.

"I am angry," Warren, a Democrat, said, speaking outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The "United States Supreme Court thinks they can impose their extremist views on all of the women of this country, and they are wrong."

"I am angry because we have reached the culmination of what Republicans have been fighting for, angling for, for decades now, and we are going to fight back," she said.

"I am angry because of who will pay the price for this," she continued. "It will not be wealthy women. Wealthy women can get on an airplane. They can fly to another state. They can fly to another country. They can get the protection they need. This will fall on the poorest women."

"I have seen the world where abortion is illegal, and we are not going back," she said as the crowd joined in, chanting "we are not going back" and "not ever."

NBC News

Texas Democrat who opposes abortion says there cannot be an outright ban

The Associated Press

LAREDO, Texas — U.S Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, one of the last Democrats in Congress to oppose abortion, said Tuesday that the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade goes too far and would divide the country.

The 17-year incumbent is in the midst of the toughest re-election fight of his career against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. She is backed by abortion rights groups ahead of their May 24 primary runoff, which could become the first test of whether the court leak will galvanize voters, as many Democrats are predicting.

In a statement, Cuellar reiterated his opposition to abortion but said the draft “is not based on precedent and is not incremental in nature.”

“As a Catholic, I do not support abortion, however, we cannot have an outright ban,” Cuellar said. “There must be exceptions in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother.”

Cisneros trailed Cuellar by about 1,000 votes in the March primary. She criticized him again Tuesday for being the only House Democrat who didn’t support a bill earlier this year to protect abortion rights.

‘Speak up. Don’t be ashamed’: Activists who fought for Roe urge younger generation to keep fighting

Heather Booth has long believed that freedom is a constant struggle, so when she saw the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion potentially overturning long-standing abortion rights, she was “horrified but not surprised.” 

Booth, 76, protested for abortion rights before they were engraved in the landmark Roe v. Wade case. She also founded an underground network as a college student out of Chicago in 1965 called “Jane” that helped women undergo abortions until they became legal eight years later.

Today, she continues to lend her voice to the movement she feels is seriously under threat. 

“Now is the time to organize,” Booth said, encouraging anyone disturbed by the Supreme Court draft opinion leaked to Politico and published Monday night. 

Read the full story here.