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The court confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the draft was "authentic"; Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak an "egregious breach" of the court's trust. But the court stressed that the draft did not represent the final opinion of any member or the full court.
The stunning news prompted immediate responses.
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." And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were quick to applaud or denounce the apparent decision.
Protests continued outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, and across the country in cities including Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego and Kansas City, Missouri.
Protesters hit streets across U.S. after leak of Roe document
Protesters demanding legal protections for abortions took to the streets across the country Tuesday, a day after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion was published that would overturn the pivotal Roe v. Wade ruling.
Demonstrations were held Tuesday in New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego and Kansas City, Missouri. In Washington, D.C., thousands gathered outside the Supreme Court building.
In New York City, protesters rallied in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as well as in Manhattan’s Foley Square, where hundreds attended, prompting police to close nearby streets, NBC New York reported.
“Every human being deserves the right to make decisions for their own body, their own health,” Victoria Davis told NBC New York at an abortion rights demonstration there.
Several hundred abortion rights protesters demonstrated in Austin, Texas. Texas last year passed a restrictive law that bans abortion at around six weeks. On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s governor signed a Texas-style ban into law in his state. The laws rely on lawsuits filed by private citizens.
There were also protests in downtown Los Angeles, where police said more than 200 people gathered outside a federal courthouse and marched to a square. A group “began to take the intersection,” officers ordered them to disperse, and rocks and bottles were thrown, the police department said. One officer was reported injured. A police spokesperson said there were no immediate reports of arrests.
He’s protested abortions outside Mississippi’s sole clinic for years. Now he might retire.
JACKSON, Miss. — For 38 years, David Lane has stood outside abortion clinics across Mississippi, trying to dissuade the patients who were seeking a form of reproductive health care that has been protected since 1973.
On Tuesday, he stood in the street outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in the state. Wearing a cap that nodded to his past as an Army medic, he waved pamphlets at passersby.
In a few weeks, the choice Lane was seeking to influence may no longer be available in Mississippi.
Nebraska lawmaker wants special session on abortion if Roe is overturned
A Republican legislator in Nebraska said Tuesday he'd work with the state's governor to call a special legislative session with the goal of outlawing abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
State Sen. Mike Hilgers said in a statement, "If the Court overturns Roe and Casey, and Nebraska reclaims its constitutional ability to prohibit abortion, I will work with the Governor to schedule a special session to protect the unborn."
Hilgers, who's running for state attorney general, was the author of a "trigger law" that would have automatically prohibited all abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, his legislation fell victim to a filibuster.
On Tuesday night, Gov. Pete Ricketts, also a Republican, said on Twitter that the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe was "a promising sign that the gross wrong of Roe will be righted and abortion decisions will return to the states."
Because his trigger legislation was not enacted, Hilgers said, a special session would be necessary if Nebraska wants a swift prohibition if the Supreme Court draft becomes the law of the land.
The National Association of Christian Lawmakers has provided state legislators with a model "trigger law" to automatically ban abortion in case the Supreme Court rejects Roe.
Thirteen states have adopted some version of it, said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert, the president of the group.
Senate Democrats take step in effort to codify Roe v. Wade
Senate Democrats took a first procedural step to consider a bill that would codify the abortion rights protections in Roe v. Wade into law, but the effort appears to lack the necessary votes.
The cloture motion, which will need 60 votes, is expected next week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said senators will have to publicly state their positions.
“Every senator now, under the real glare of Roe v. Wade being repealed by the courts, is going to have to show which side they’re on, and we will find the best way to go forward after that,” Schumer said Tuesday.
Schumer had vowed to have a vote on the issue after Politico published a draft Supreme Court opinion that indicated the high court could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
The bill, which is similar to the Women’s Health Protection Act, would protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy and protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.
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 law 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 Edinburgh, 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.
Harris: ‘We’re not going back’
WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris urged abortion rights advocates Tuesday to continue to fight efforts to restrict access to abortion and accused Republicans of waging war on women’s rights.
“It has never been more clear which party wants to expand our rights and which party wants to restrict them," Harris said at the annual meeting of Emily’s List, a group that supports Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights. "It has never been more clear which party wants to lead us forward and which party wants to push us back."
She said Republicans are seeking to return the country to a time before the courts ruled that there was a constitutional right to abortion.
“But we’re not going back,” Harris said.
Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, Harris said, it would be “a direct assault on freedom, on the fundamental right of self-determination to which all Americans are entitled."
"Roe protects the right to access abortion," she continued. "It also protects a woman’s right to make decisions about what she does with her own body.”
Harris' remarks were scheduled before the leaked draft opinion was reported.
Emotions run high as protesters weigh future of abortion
WASHINGTON — The plaza outside the Supreme Court is once again ground zero for demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate, but the tensions and emotions this time around far exceed those of previous protests.
Thousands of protesters gathered after a leaked draft opinion published Monday night by Politico suggested that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established abortion rights nationwide, could be overturned this summer. Some came from in and around Washington, while others had traveled from other parts of the country.
Amy Marden, 37, of nearby Alexandria, Virginia, was among the abortion rights supporters who flocked to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
She said she was protesting for two.
Abortion opinion leak unprecedented but not a Supreme Court first
The Supreme Court has been vexed by leaks in the past, but Monday’s disclosure of a majority draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade dwarfs any that have come before, experts said.
“Basically what we’re facing right now is totally unprecedented, and it’s going to have political repercussions that are pretty severe,” Peter Irons, the author of “A People’s History of the Supreme Court,” said of Politico’s publication of the 98-page draft ruling by Justice Samuel Alito. “I think there will be a lot more distrust on the court.”
In a statement Tuesday, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the document was authentic but said “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak a “betrayal.”
“This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here,” he said in a statement. He ordered an investigation into the source of the leak.
Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia, noted that the high court has suffered from occasional leak problems since at least 1852.
Oklahoma governor signs bill banning abortions after about six weeks
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill banning abortion after about six weeks, saying Tuesday that he wants the state to be the “most pro-life” in the country.
The law, dubbed the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, bars doctors from performing abortions once cardiac activity is detected in a fetus — or before many women know they’re pregnant.
Like a Texas abortion law that was enacted last year, the Oklahoma legislation permits private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion.
The law, which takes effect immediately, allows abortions for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest.
Abortion rights advocates have already challenged the new law in court, but it’s unclear when the state’s high court will issue a ruling in the case.
Democrats energized after leaked abortion decision jolts midterms
Not yet 24 hours after the publication of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn constitutional protections of abortion rights, Democrats at every level across the country were capitalizing on a potentially seismic shift in the political landscape that could upend what was to have been a bloodbath of a midterm election for an otherwise disillusioned party.
Attacks on Republican candidates are underway, as are a flurry of pleas for donations. Ads defending abortion rights are rapidly populating social media. The Democratic National Committee launched a text messaging campaign to move people to the streets, while some of the most powerful Democratic groups in the country were huddling to reshape their messaging.
“This decision and this leak — hell, that just re-stoked the fire in our bellies,” said Felesia Martin, the vice chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “You know what I say? ‘God bless you and thank you.’ We’re going to take this and let it motivate us and re-energize us to do the work.”
Eldest daughter of plaintiff in Roe v. Wade decries Supreme Court draft
The eldest daughter of the plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case decried a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the ruling, telling MSNBC that the decision would reverse decades of social progress in the U.S.
Melissa Mills, the daughter of Norma McCorvey — best known by the pseudonym "Jane Roe" — told MSNBC's Katy Tur on Tuesday that she was in "disbelief" and said the federal government should not be able to encroach on a woman's right to make choices about her body.
"Nobody should control a woman's body," Mills said. "We came all this way, [but] 50 years later and here we are. We're stepping back from all the strides we've made for women, and now they're taking it away."
"Not every woman wants to have a child. Not every woman is a mother. That should be that woman's right to decide," Mills added. "Nobody else."
Anti-abortion activist scales San Francisco's tallest building
An anti-abortion rights activist from Nevada scaled San Francisco’s tallest building Tuesday, police and his family said.
Maison Des Champs, 22, was arrested at the top of the 61-floor Salesforce Tower. It’s the tallest building in San Francisco and the 12th highest in the U.S., according to its owners.
“He’s always been a daredevil,” his mother, said Robin Des Champs. “I’m super glad that he’s safe, that’s all I can pray for.”
Barack and Michelle Obama denounce draft Supreme Court opinion
Barack and Michelle Obama condemned the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, saying in a lengthy statement posted on social media Tuesday that the reversal would be a "blow" to women as well as anyone who believes in a free society.
"Today, millions of Americans woke up fearing that their essential freedoms under the Constitution were at risk," the former president and the former first lady said in the joint statement.
"If the Supreme Court ultimately decides to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, then it will not only reverse 50 years of precedent — it will relegate the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues," the Obamas said.
"The consequences of this decision would be a blow not just to women, but to all of us who believe that in a free society, there are limits to how much the government can encroach on our personal lives," they added.
The Obamas called on Americans incensed by the draft opinion to join activists at local protests, volunteer on political campaigns, demand that Congress codify Roe v. Wade into law and vote in elections, including the midterm elections in November.
"In the end," the Obamas added in closing, "if we want judges who will protect all, and not just some, of our rights, then we've got to elect officials committed to doing the same."
7 key sections and takeaways from the Supreme Court draft opinion
While the draft, which is dated February, is subject to change before the court issues a final opinion, the potential decision has reignited the debate over abortion rights and the arguments made by anti-abortion supporters.
Overall, the draft is highly critical of Roe v. Wade and makes several key points as to why the majority of justices would back overruling the decision.
These ‘trigger law’ states would ban abortion only if Roe is overturned
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, these 13 states will be waiting.
While almost two dozen states are poised to ban or severely restrict abortion access in the event the landmark 1973 ruling is overturned, an NBC News analysis of Center for Reproductive Rights data shows 13 states across the South and Intermountain West have so-called trigger laws, or bans on abortion that only go into effect if Roe is struck down.
Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates blast Supreme Court draft
High-profile figures in American business and media criticized the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, posting impassioned messages on social media Tuesday.
Sheryl Sandberg, a chief executive at Meta and author of the bestselling book "Lean In," said in a Facebook post that "this is a scary day for women all across our country."
"If the leaked draft opinion becomes the law of the land, one of our most fundamental rights will be taken away," Sandberg said in part.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates tweeted that he was shocked by the news, adding that reversing Roe "would set us back 50 years and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable women in society."
"Women, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, will bear the heaviest burden," Rather tweeted. "Will it spur fury or apathy?"
Plan to overturn Roe 'rocks my confidence' in court, Murkowski says
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who backed two of former President Donald Trump's three Supreme Court nominees, said Tuesday she's stunned by reports that the high court is on the verge of ending abortion rights.
"Roe is still the law of the land. We don’t know the direction that this decision may ultimately take," Murkowski told reporters in the wake of Monday night's report that the court is moving toward overturning Roe v. Wade.
"But if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I would just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," she said.
Murkowski, who backs abortion rights, voted to confirm Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett but stopped short of backing Brett Kavanaugh. Those Trump-appointed justices comprise half of a 6-3 conservative majority that's poised to potentially end half-century-old protections for women seeking legal abortions.
Google searches for 'abortion pill' skyrocket
Searches on Google for abortion medication — including the terms "abortion pill," "mifepristone" and "misoprostol" — all increased following Politico's report about the Supreme Court's draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mifepristone and misoprostol are both medications that come in pill form that can be used for abortions. According to a 2020 survey from the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, over half of the abortions done in the U.S. involve the use of pills.
In the last several years, as some state restrictions on abortion tightened and President Donald Trump appointed justices to the Supreme Court, abortion pills have become a way for people to sidestep state restrictions. As The Atlantic reported, some people have also proactively obtained abortion pills in preparation for a potential rollback of Roe v. Wade.
California leaders vow to protect abortion in constitution
California voters could get a chance to add abortion protections to the state’s constitution this fall.
California’s governor and top legislative leaders committed late Monday to putting an amendment on the ballot this November that would “enshrine the right to choose” in California.
Their comments came hours after Politico published a draft opinion from the court that revealed a majority of the nine justices want to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that stopped state governments from banning abortion.
“We know we can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution,” Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said in a joint statement. “Women will remain protected here.”
Newsom’s office said their goal is to put the amendment on the ballot this November. Lawmakers will have to act quickly to make that happen. They have to vote on it before the end of June to give state officials enough time to print the ballots.
It takes a two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. But that shouldn’t be a problem in California. Democrats control so many seats they could muster the necessary votes without relying on Republicans.
VP Kamala Harris warns 'rights of all Americans are at risk'
Vice President Kamala Harris warned in a statement Tuesday that the "rights of all Americans are at risk" if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The landmark ruling, she said, not only ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion but also "protects the fundamental right to privacy."
"What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies," Harris, the first female vice president, said. "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."
Harris said if the right to privacy is weakened, "every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life."
"This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have," she said.
Biden says overturning Roe v. Wade could put other rights at risk
President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that if the draft opinion stands, the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could throw other rights, like the right to privacy, into question.
"If the rationale of the decision as it was released were sustained, a whole range of rights are in question," Biden said. "And the idea we’re letting the states make those decisions … would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done."
Biden said rights like the right to privacy and the right to marriage may also come under fire, based on the precedent.
"If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision," Biden said. "It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence."
Governors weigh in on potential Roe v. Wade overturn
Democratic governors and Republicans who support abortion rights vowed to maintain status quo in their states, even if the Supreme Court overturns half-century-old protections under Roe v. Wade.
A bombshell Politico report Monday night outlined Supreme Court efforts to possibly overturn Roe, leaving that issue and other civil rights to the discretion of states.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, tweeted to her constituents, "I promise you this: I will fight like hell to make sure abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in our state."
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, tweeted, "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."
"As a pro-choice governor, I am committed to upholding Roe v. Wade," Sununu said in a statement. "So long as I am governor, these health care services for women will remain safe and legal."
Supreme Court says draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is 'authentic,' Roberts orders investigation into source of leak
The Supreme Court's public information office said Tuesday that the leaked draft indicating that the Supreme Court would overturn abortion rights protections, published by Politico, is "authentic," but it "does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. added that he had directed the marshal of the court to investigate where the leak came from.
"To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed," Roberts said. "The work of the Court will not be affected in any way."
He said the court's workforce was "intensely loyal."
"This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here," Roberts said.
Chairman of House Democrats' campaign arm says voters should focus on November
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suggested Tuesday that voters need to focus on electing Democrats in November to ensure people can keep their freedoms.
"Democrats: We’re angry and hurt, I know. But it’s not about filibuster, size of the court or what the Senate hasn’t passed. It’s about Republicans, not us. We can save our freedoms. But, it’s November, stupid," Maloney tweeted.
House Democrats are at risk of losing the majority in the House in the midterm elections this November. Other Democrats have pointed out in light of the draft Supreme Court opinion that elections matter.
Collins expresses shock that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh support overturning Roe v. Wade
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed dismay Tuesday over a reported Supreme Court draft opinion from February that suggests Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh support overturning Roe v. Wade.
"If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement released by her office.
She added, "Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case."
Collins ignored repeated questions Tuesday morning from reporters on Capitol Hill about whether she felt lied to by Kavanaugh. "I put out a statement," she said.
The moderate GOP senator voted to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after she repeatedly said he made clear he felt the 1973 landmark ruling was settled law.
U.S. Capitol Police adds officers to Hill in anticipation of demonstrations
The U.S. Capitol Police spokesman said the force is adding officers to Capitol Hill in anticipation of possible protests and demonstrations.
"We are working closely with our partner law enforcement agencies to prepare for any potential demonstrations in the area of the Supreme Court, including adding additional officers in the area," the spokesman said.
Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night after Politico published what it said was a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court would overturn abortion rights protections guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Planned Parenthood, with others, vows to spend $150 million on midterm elections
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY’s List and NARAL will spend $150 million on the midterm elections, Planned Parenthood Votes announced Tuesday.
"Voters are waking up this morning to the news that their constitutional right to an abortion, which they have relied on for nearly 50 years, may soon be a thing of the past," Jenny Lawson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, said in a statement. "And they are going to know exactly who to blame: the anti-abortion politicians, many of whom are on the ballot this November, who waged a decades-long, coordinated campaign to outlaw abortion in every state they could."
"The court may be turning its back on nearly 50 years of precedent, but voters have the final say," Lawson said. "Politicians will hear them loud and clear at the ballot box this November."
The Planned Parenthood Votes statement said voters oppose overturning Roe by a 30-point margin.
SCOTUS leak part of 'intimidation' plan, top Republicans say
Republicans, many of whom want to outlaw abortion, called the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade a calculated plan to “intimidate” the justices.
“The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic’s institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter, retweeting a comment about the alleged “destruction of trust” brought by Monday night’s bombshell leak.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the disclosure amounted to an “attack” on the high court’s independence.
“Last night’s stunning breach was an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in a statement. “By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law.”
23 states would ban abortion in a post-Roe America
An NBC News analysis of Center for Reproductive Rights data showed that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, 23 states would institute abortion bans, with “trigger laws” on the books in 13 of those states.
A second abortion-rights advocacy group, the Guttmacher Institute, counted 26 states considered certain or likely to ban abortion, based on laws passed before and after Roe, in the event it was overturned.
Biden calls for voters to act in wake of potential Roe overturn
President Joe Biden told voters Tuesday it'll be up to them to protect reproductive rights, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
In his first comments since Monday night's bombshell Politico report that the high court is poised to end a half-century-old right of women to seek abortions, Biden said "a woman's right to choose is fundamental" and the ultimate responsibility rests with the American electorate.
If the court eliminates Roe, then it "will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose," Biden said in the statement.
"And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November," the statement said. "At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law."
Lawmakers, advocacy groups react
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.
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.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted that 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.
Protesters rush to Supreme Court after draft ruling is leaked
Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night after Politico published what it said was a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court would overturn abortion rights protections guaranteed in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
“Dread and horror” drove Juliette Molz, who recently moved to Washington from New Jersey, to join other demonstrators calling for the protection of abortion rights outside the high court after the explosive report.
“I absolutely have to be out here, because this is something that affects me so personally and hurts so much to know this might be ripped away from me,” Molz told NBC Washington.