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As demonstrations continued outside the Supreme Court over the fate of abortion rights in the U.S., workers were seen installing higher fences around the building late Wednesday.
For days, abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocates have clashed outside the building after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion published by Politico revealed that the high court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The court confirmed that the draft was "authentic" but maintained that a final opinion has not yet been issued.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden slammed the draft opinion, saying, “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. “Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history.”
Meanwhile, others have celebrated the development.
At least 23 states would institute abortion bans should Roe v. Wade be overturned, according to an NBC News analysis of Center for Reproductive Rights data.
Pence praises draft opinion overturning Roe
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday praised the draft opinion leaked earlier this week that signaled the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, proclaiming “Roe must go.”
Pence acknowledged the leaked draft opinion, published by Politico on Monday, at a speech in South Carolina and he noted that it is not final.
“We will hope and pray that that draft opinion soon becomes the majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pence said to applause at the Carolina Pregnancy Center gala in Spartanburg.
Louisiana lawmakers advance bill that would classify abortion as homicide
A bill advanced Wednesday by Louisiana legislators would classify abortion as homicide, allowing authorities to potentially charge women and girls with murder and criminalize in vitro fertilization, critics said.
The bill, dubbed the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act, passed 7-2 out of a state House subcommittee two days after Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The bill will now move to a full House vote. The legislation would still need support from the Senate and the governor before it could become law.
How limiting abortion access hurts women financially
The leaked draft of an opinion that suggests the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade and its federal protection for access to abortion would put decades of gains made by women at risk — and it would mean dire economic consequences for some of them.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday, Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., warned that forcing women to have and raise unplanned children would make it harder for women to pursue education, increase their incomes and build wealth.
“Pregnancy and parenthood is an economic decision,” she said. “This is going to shape people’s economic opportunities.”
Porter, a single mother herself, said the stakes of rolling back Roe v. Wade would be high not just for women but also for families, communities and the country. Child poverty would rise, public health services would be strained, and social resources would be stretched to their limits.
Chief Justice John Roberts calls abortion draft leak ‘absolutely appalling’
ATLANTA — Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday decried as “absolutely appalling” the leak of a draft decision indicating the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the constitutional right to abortion in his first public appearance since its disclosure Monday.
The leak prompted an internal crisis at the nation’s top judicial body and ignited a political firestorm, with abortion rights supporters staging rallies outside the courthouse and at various locations around the U.S.
“A leak of this stature is absolutely appalling,” Roberts said at a judicial conference in Atlanta.
“If the person behind it thinks that it will affect our work, that’s just foolish,” he added.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signs bill into law protecting abortion providers, out-of-state patients
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed into law Thursday a bill protecting abortion providers and out-of-state patients.
State and local agencies are now prevented by the law from cooperating in investigations and prosecutions of abortion providers, NBC Connecticut reported. The law also modifies the state’s extradition statutes and prevents an out-of-state patient’s medical records from being disclosed.
The legislation also loosens restrictions by allowing "advanced practice" registered nurses, nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions through 12 weeks of pregnancy, which NBC Connecticut reported is to address a potential rush on services from out of state.
In a statement he issued before the signing, Lamont warned the leaked draft opinion showed the Supreme Court may be close to "ending a woman's right to choose and ending Roe v Wade."
"That's not going to happen in the state of Connecticut, not as long as I'm here. No politicians are going to get between you and your doctor. You make the choice."
Jill Biden describes 'shocking' phone call when she and the president learned about draft Roe decision
In a forthcoming interview, first lady Jill Biden describes how "shocking it was when we heard the news" about the draft opinion. She said she and President Joe Biden had received a call about the leak.
"I am old enough that I can remember when Roe v. Wade passed," Biden told MSNBC's Symone Sanders in an interview set to air in full Saturday.
She said that while presidents nominate judges for seats on the high court, "If that goes to the state level, our state legislators will matter."
"People have to get involved," she added.
Schumer says vote to codify Roe just 'first step' in the fight
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants to put Republicans “on the record” with next week’s procedural vote to codify federal abortion protections but that it's just “the first step” of Democrats’ fight.
“This is not one vote and then this issue goes away,” Schumer said. “You’ll hear a lot from us through the next months, all the way through November.”
Asked why Democrats weren’t signing on to a narrower bill introduced by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Schumer said: “We are not cutting back. We’re not compromising. This is about a woman’s right to choose, fully. We’re not looking to compromise something as vital as this. People should show where they stand. This has been American law for 50 years.”
He said the draft Supreme Court decision aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade is what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and "Senate Republicans have fought for their entire careers, but they’re out of step with the mainstream.”
ACLU: 'Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better' if Roe is overturned
Brigitte Amiri, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, warned that if the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion were issued as written, about half the states would quickly ban abortion, "and the devastation and chaos that it will wreak is just horrific."
Amiri said that hostility to abortion is rising and that lawmakers are warning of increased penalties, from bans to fines to "homicide charges."
"We’ve also seen lawmakers introduce bills that would prevent people from crossing state lines to access abortion," Amiri said.
"So the hostility that we are going to see is going to be exponential, and we will be doing everything that we can to fight back. We will be looking at state courts, state constitutions. We will be doing everything that we can, but I fear that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better if Roe v. Wade is overturned."
She warned that the legal interpretation in Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion signaled that "a whole host of rights that we care about are on the table for erosion, and that includes contraception, the right to marry and so many other rights."
O'Rourke says voters will reject Texas Gov. Abbott over abortion moves
Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas, told NBC News’ Garrett Haake that Texans do not support the state's restrictive abortion law or its trigger law that would further restrict the procedure if Roe v. Wade were struck down.
"Those who are going to be most affected are also overlapping with those who traditionally haven’t been voting in Texas elections," O'Rourke said. "The very young, those who are experiencing poverty, Black and brown people in communities across the 254 counties, understanding now that their rights have been foreclosed by one person, Greg Abbott, and that Republican-majority Legislature — that is going to be energizing, galvanizing. I should say that is already energizing and galvanizing, because we’re seeing this and hearing this from people."
O'Rourke said the issue could be a winning one for state Democrats this year.
"People are going to show up in record numbers because they want to be heard, and we want our fellow Texans, and the rest of the country, for that matter, to know that what Greg Abbott is doing is not a reflection of who we are or what we want," he said. "And the one way that we’re going to change that is to win political power by this governor’s — by winning this governor’s race."
Garland says Justice Department committed to defending the right to abortion
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the leaked Supreme Court draft that revealed the high court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade wasn't a final decision and that he wouldn't discuss the court's deliberative processes.
"But what I will say is that the Justice Department has steadfastly been committed to defending the right to abortion. We are amicus in the Dobbs case. The solicitor general herself argued on behalf of the United States in the Dobbs case," Garland said. "If the law changes, we will address appropriate next steps at that time. But what will not change is our commitment to defending the rights of women and all Americans."
Schumer says Senate will act next week on procedural vote to codify federal abortion protections
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate will have a key procedural vote Wednesday related to the Democratic bill to codify federal abortion protections.
That motion will need 60 votes to end debate on a motion to proceed to the Women’s Health Protection Act and is expected to fail, potentially with unanimous Republican opposition. The vote will not be on the bill itself, but on a procedural motion to move forward with the bill.
The Senate held a similar vote on a slightly different version of the bill in February. That vote failed 46-48, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joining all Republicans in voting no.
Sen. Menendez on leaked draft: Republicans who wanted to see Roe overturned ‘got what they wanted’
In response to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that revealed the high court was likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said on MSNBC on Thursday that Republicans “got what they wanted, and now they don’t want women in the nation to know that it is Republicans who are stripping away a woman’s right to choose.”
Menendez added that undermining and changing 50 years of precedent for abortion rights from Roe v. Wade signaled “you can change 50 years of precedent on voting rights, civil rights and any other right you think that we have as a country that has been assured.”
He said Republicans who have advocated for restrictions or bans on abortion now are trying to distance themselves from the court’s leaked draft.
Draft ruling on abortion is ‘frontal assault’ on legal basis for landmark LGBTQ cases, Rep. Torres says
The Supreme Court's draft ruling on abortion is a "frontal assault not only on reproductive rights," but also on landmark LGBTQ cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., said.
Speaking on "Morning Joe" on Thursday, Torres said the draft ruling, which suggests the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, was an assault on "the legal basis for a whole range of legal cases."
However, he said it particularly posed a threat to landmark LGBTQ cases, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.
"If the Supreme Court, if the government can determine whether you can have an abortion, then where do you draw the line?" Torres said. "Can the government determine whom you could marry or whom you can be intimate with or how you could raise your children? All of these rights that we’ve long taken for granted are at risk."
Some state lawmakers have already taken steps to protect same-sex marriage in the event that the Supreme Court does reverse the landmark 2015 decision.
Olivia Rodrigo speaks out about abortion rights at Washington concert
Olivia Rodrigo spoke out in support of abortion rights during her concert in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
"Our bodies should never be in the hands of politicians," the 19-year-old singer said in one video posted on Twitter. "I hope we can raise our voices to protect our right to have a safe abortion, which is a right that so many people before us have worked so hard to get."
Rodrigo joins a growing chorus of musicians and celebrities who have spoken out for abortion rights, including Phoebe Bridgers, Amy Schumer and Whoopi Goldberg.
How has getting an abortion or lack of access changed your life?
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?
North Carolina could see abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Democrat says
Rep. Deborah Ross, D-N.C., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said she fears North Carolina could see an abortion ban enforced in the future if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Speaking on MSNBC's "Way Too Early," Ross said with the midterms approaching, there was a "risk" an abortion ban could one day be enforced in North Carolina, noting that when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper "first took office, there was a Republican majority, a supermajority that could override his vetoes."
"We’ve only recently been able to withstand any attempts to override his veto in our Legislature," she said.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has said it believes North Carolina lawmakers "will likely try to prohibit abortion."
"The current governor is supportive of abortion rights, but numerous medically unnecessary restrictions make it difficult to access abortion care in the state," it said on its website.
While North Carolina does have a pre-Roe abortion ban in place, the Guttmacher Institute, another abortion-rights advocacy group, has said it is "unclear if the state's law would be implemented quickly."
In midterm battlegrounds, both parties try to weaponize abortion
The draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn constitutional abortion protections is opening a new front in competitive midterm races across the country, as each party looks to paint the other as woefully out of step with voters.
With control of Congress at stake, Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to put opposing candidates on the defensive by forcing them to take difficult stances that wouldn’t play well in a competitive general election race in November.
Some of the largest groups funding gubernatorial and Senate contests are racing to fine-tune their messaging.
One of the front lines is Nevada, where abortion rights have limited protections under state law.
Senate GOP campaign arm urges candidates to portray Democrats as well outside 'mainstream' on abortion
The GOP’s Senate campaign arm is responding to the bombshell Supreme Court leak on the likely demise of Roe v. Wade by circulating new polling data and messaging on abortion for Republican candidates, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
Polling conducted by On Message Inc., a GOP strategy firm with long ties to Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, appears to show voter support for messaging focused on “restricting late term abortions” rather than prohibiting abortions altogether.
The documents, which cite responses to focus group questionnaires, also direct GOP candidates to be a “compassionate, consensus builder” when talking about abortion, while targeting Democrats for “extremist views” and having an “obsession” with abortion rights.
U.S. eyes emergency contraception grants if Supreme Court cuts abortion rights
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration was looking at grants to help fund expanding access to emergency contraception as a possible response if the Supreme Court overturns a 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.
“What we have done to date ... where we have seen restrictions ... is created for example the dire need grant awards, which provide funding to expand access to emergency contraception,” Psaki told reporters in a press briefing.
Biden also appealed to voters on Tuesday to protect abortion rights by backing candidates who support them in November’s midterm elections.
Women in U.S. could obtain abortions in Canada if Roe v. Wade is overturned, minister says
Women in the U.S. could obtain abortions in Canada if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a Canadian minister has said.
Asked in an interview with Canada's public broadcaster Tuesday whether Americans would be allowed to access abortions across the border, Karina Gould, Canada's minister of families, children and social development, said, "I don't see why we would not."
"If they, people, come here and need access, certainly, you know, that’s a service that would be provided," she said on CBC News Network’s "Power & Politics."
Some religions support abortion rights. Their leaders are speaking up.
After an abortion law took effect in Texas last fall that allows private citizens to sue someone who performs an abortion or helps someone obtain one after six weeks of pregnancy, Rabbi Mara Nathan, the senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, knew she wanted to address it in a sermon.
“It definitely felt like a risky sermon to give,” she said, “but I felt like I really didn’t have a choice.” In the sermon, which she titled “The Right to Choose Is a Jewish Value,” Nathan took aim at the law, known as S.B. 8, and outlined how, as she put it, “Judaism has always been pro-choice.”
Various streams of Judaism interpret Jewish law differently. Reform Judaism, of which Nathan is an adherent, supports abortion rights.
Now, in the wake of the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion that threatens to roll back constitutional protection of the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, Nathan is one of many faith leaders across the country gearing up to speak out about abortion rights.
Workers assemble fences around the Capitol grounds near the Supreme Court amid ongoing abortion-rights demonstrations Wednesday.
Abortion pill provider sees spike in U.S. interest after SCOTUS leak
A provider of prescription pills that are used to terminate pregnancy at home has seen a spike in interest from U.S. women this week, following news that the Supreme Court would likely reverse Roe v. Wade, nonprofit Aid Access said on Wednesday.
An increasing number of U.S. states have introduced restrictions that greatly limit access to abortions, and many are expected to ban the procedure outright should the court’s final decision allow individual states to determine whether it is legal. Abortion pills, which can be sent by mail to a patient’s home rather than requiring a visit to a clinic, are viewed as a way to circumvent such bans.
Aid Access is a telehealth service with headquarters in Austria that provides access to abortion medication in the United States.
Christie Pitney, CEO of Forward Midwifery, a Washington, D.C., telehealth practice that works with Aid Access, said that the number of women requesting prescriptions for abortion pills, or information about their use, through the group’s website has tripled since the draft opinion was leaked.
In total, the Aid Access website had 38,530 visitors on Tuesday, an almost 2,900 percent increase from Monday’s 1,290 visitors, Pitney said. The new surge this week represents “insanely higher numbers,” she said.
At least 19 states outright ban or restrict the use of telehealth to get abortion pills. To get around such restrictions, Aid Access works with doctors in Europe who prescribe the pills for patients via a mail-order pharmacy in India.
Those practices are not legal, but U.S. state authorities have acknowledged that they have no effective way of policing orders from foreign doctors and pharmacies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the group a warning letter in March 2019 and ordered it to cease mailing pills from abroad.
Demonstrations continue outside Supreme Court
Demonstrations over the fate of abortion rights in the U.S. continued outside the Supreme Court into the night Wednesday.
For days, abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocates have clashed outside the court in Washington after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion revealed that the high court was on track to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Workers were seen Wednesday installing higher fences around the Supreme Court after demonstrators left the area.
The new fences are around 8 feet high and replace shorter fencing that had been put in place.