PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Supreme Court handed down a decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, making it so that abortion is no longer constitutionally protected.
Local leaders were quick to offer their reaction to the decision.
Below are the statements released to 12 News so far. More will be added as they come in.
Gov. Dan McKee
“Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a travesty, full stop. Here in Rhode Island, we will always support a woman’s right to choose. Despite today’s ruling, Rhode Islanders still have the right to access abortion health care services in our state thanks to the General Assembly codifying these protections into law – but all people should have the ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions, no matter where they live.
“Make no mistake about it: today’s Supreme Court decision will not stop abortions. It will only make them less safe. It’s time for Congress to act and support a woman’s right to choose, just like Rhode Island has done.”
Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disgraceful setback for millions of Americans and a reminder that political complacency is not an option.
As a mother, the most basic thing I want for my son and daughter is for them to have opportunities to live happy, healthy, and independent lives. I will now have to explain to my daughter that she may not grow up to have the same fundamental access to healthcare as my son.
I am deeply grateful that Rhode Island continues to protect access to abortion, but we must do more. We cannot tolerate encroachments on a this fundamental right to choose. I am disappointed that our state’s legislature did not pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act this year, and I will fight to make it a top legislative priority for next year’s session.”
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline
“Today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade is an abomination denying women the right to make their own healthcare decisions. The Court is completely out of step w: overwhelming majority of Americans. The Senate needs to abolish the filibuster and codify Roe v Wade.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin
“This is an awful day for our country. The extreme, right-wing Supreme Court has now overturned decades of settled case law, in a dangerous assault on precedent and our democracy. The constitutional rights of millions of women to make this very personal healthcare decision between herself and her doctor were just stripped away. I am deeply concerned that this Court is dragging our nation in a very dangerous direction. I fear that this decision will only further divide an already divided country.”
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
“This is a sad, dark day for women everywhere, who have relied on the protection of Roe as settled law, and for the Court, whose reputation degrades further. Today’s decision shreds a half-century-old legal precedent in order to deny women the right to decide if and when to have children. That is among the most private, personal, and significant decisions in life, and the Court in Roe v. Wade rightly held the Constitution’s guarantee of individual liberty protects such private decisions against government interference. Now, Roe’s privacy protection is gone and state legislatures can meddle freely in these intimate and difficult decisions. The consequences for millions of women are immediate, as an array of antiquated anti-abortion laws snap back into place.”
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed
“This is a significant blow to equal rights for women. Because of this ruling, access to health care and the ability to receive appropriate treatment will now depend on what state you live in, your economic status, and the scrutiny and judgment of others. For women seeking reproductive health services, there is no longer a right to privacy or equal protection under the law. This appears to be part of a coordinated attempt by partisan ideologues on this Court, aided by partisan Republican leaders in Congress, to roll back people’s fundamental rights. And, no one should be under the impression that Republicans will drop their efforts to ban abortion nationally knowing the Court will favor such a law.
“Fortunately, Rhode Island law serves as a shield to blunt the impact of this decision on our residents. But that is not the same as a Constitutionally-guaranteed right. Laws can change and state laws can be pre-empted by federal law. That is why the Court’s ruling overturning this basic Constitutional protection is so corrosive to women’s rights everywhere.
“Women should have the right to make their own choices about their lives, health, and future without interference from partisan justices or politicians. Until today, they did. While I will continue to do everything within my power to pass legislation in the U.S. Senate to codify a woman’s right to choose, I hope more Americans – men and women – who believe in women’s reproductive health rights will make their voices heard at the ballot box. That is the only remedy for this poisonous ruling and the divisive agenda that Republican leaders and the Court’s majority have embraced.”
Attorney General Peter Neronha
“For nearly half a century following the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, a woman’s right to choose whether to end her pregnancy has been an established, fundamental right. Indeed, that fundamental right has been so firmly established over the lives of multiple generations of Americans that until recently, the notion of the Supreme Court going backwards in time and eliminating it has been unthinkable. And yet that is precisely what the Supreme Court has done today, in a decision that endangers women’s health and turns the Court’s own long-standing principles recognizing the critical importance of adhering to legal precedent on their head.”
“I want to reassure Rhode Islanders that the right to an abortion remains protected here in Rhode Island. In 2019, Rhode Island codified Roe v. Wade and its progeny under our state’s Reproductive Privacy Act, ensuring that Rhode Island will not return to the days of illegal and unsafe abortions that endanger lives and create criminal liability for physicians.”
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea
“I am appalled at the Supreme Court’s final ruling. Access to abortion is a fundamental right and I’m proud that we’ve worked together to protect that right in Rhode Island, including codifying Roe into state law. As governor I will do everything in my power to ensure that Rhode Islanders will continue to have equitable access to safe and legal abortions. Passing the Rhode Island Equity in Abortion Coverage ACT will be a priority for me as governor but I would welcome a special session of the General Assembly to pass this law prior to January 2023.”
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a devastating step backward for women and underscores how high the stakes are for this election. In Congress, I will fight to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law so that women across the country can make their own healthcare decisions. As General Treasurer, Magaziner advocated and helped pass the Reproductive Privacy Act into state law.”
House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi
“I am disheartened by the extreme decision by the US Supreme Court today. Fortunately because the General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act in 2019 when I was the House Majority Leader, Roe v. Wade was codified into state statute so the women of Rhode Island continue to be able to make the personal decision to access safe and legal abortion. We will continue the discussion in our next legislative session on a bill that would provide Medicaid funding for the procedure.”
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey
“In anticipation of a decision like today’s Supreme Court decision, the Senate acted in 2019 to codify Roe v. Wade into state law. As a result, no Rhode Islander is losing rights today. The EACA has financial implications and should be considered as part of the budget, but was not included in the proposal presented to the Legislature in January, or in the budget the House sent to the Senate last week. We plan to address this issue in the 2023 session.”
Dr. Ben Brown, Women & Infants Hospital
“Today the US. Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, paving the way for states to ban abortion outright. We know that there are at least 26 states that are likely to move quickly or immediately to ban abortion in their states. We know that this is going to be devastating to people who need medical care and to their communities and to their families. Abortion remains legal in Rhode Island and here at Women & Infants Hospital, we remain here to care for our patients and our communities and to ensure that people who need abortion care are able to access it.”
Steven Brown, Executive Director of ACLU of Rhode Island
“Today’s court decision is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights and reproductive freedom.
Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy against their will has life-altering consequences, including possible serious health risks from continued pregnancy and childbirth, and the derailment of efforts to achieve equal status in the workplace and to make critical decisions about their lives, families, and careers.
Thanks to the General Assembly’s passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act three years ago, abortion remains safe and legal in Rhode Island. But it is essential that our leaders go further to ensure abortion is not only legal, but also accessible and affordable for everyone who needs it. It is therefore absolutely critical that legislators pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act at the earliest possible opportunity.
Some of our most fundamental rights are now in jeopardy as a result of this decision, and the ACLU of Rhode Island pledges to work with others in fighting back against this extraordinary judicial attack on our basic freedoms.”
Rhode Island Right to Life
“Presently, we must pray for peace, and for protection from the violent and destructive acts by abortion extremists that have been spreading throughout the country, targeting pregnancy help centers and churches. Tragically, abortions will continue to be available in Rhode Island and elsewhere throughout the country. Thus, we must continue to tell the truth that abortion hurts women and kills their preborn children. We must continue to defend the conscience rights of health care professionals, of taxpayers, and of all our citizens. Mostly, we must continue serving, supporting, and providing for mothers and expecting mothers as we have been doing for more than fifty years.”
Rhode Island Democratic Party
“Today is a dark day in American history, and we must organize and work together to fight back against the oppression of anti-choice extremists. Democrats believe women in America have the right to make their own health care decisions and that politicians should never get in the way of these private decisions.”
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is the culmination of a coordinated Republican effort to attack this fundamental freedom – but Democrats will fight back with every tool we can, and voters of every political persuasion will hold the GOP accountable in 2022.”
The Womxn Project
“Let’s be clear that this ruling is truly catastrophic, but the work and the fight is not over. It will never be over. We will keep speaking up and showing up to ensure we control our bodies, our families and our futures – that we can all live healthy lives with dignity. We don’t depend on courts and politicians. We depend on each other! And that is what gives us hope – that together we are strong. We have seen time and again how much amazing progress is possible when we leverage our collective strength.”
Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
“This is personal. We are all outraged and devastated that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and taken away our federal constitutional right to abortion. The Supreme Court has just undone nearly 50 years of legal precedent and can no longer be counted on to uphold our fundamental freedom. By stripping Americans of their federal constitutional rights, this ruling will begin a ripple effect — spreading abortion bans across the country and allowing lawmakers to have free rein in personal medical decisions.”
Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin
“I am very pleased that the Supreme Court has now effectively overturned Roe v. Wade that for decades has directed abortion legislation in this country. The decision is proper for both moral and legal reasons. In recognizing this decision, however, it is abundantly clear that the work on behalf of human life is not over; it has now just moved to a new arena and has assumed new urgency.”
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Gov. Charlie Baker
“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access. This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
“Six radical Supreme Court Justices have overturned nearly 50 years of precedent, stripping away the constitutional right to an abortion. After decades of scheming, Republican politicians have finally forced their unpopular agenda on the rest of America. They have decided that the government — not the person who is pregnant — should make a private health care decision and deny women the right to control their own bodies and futures. But these extremists will not have the final word. Democrats have tools to fight back, from legislation in Congress to executive orders from the President to initiatives at the state and local level — we just need to use them. We are angry — angry and determined. We will not go back. Not now. Not ever.”
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey
“What we have feared most has come to pass. A stolen, illegitimate, and far-right majority on the Supreme Court has destroyed nearly fifty years of precedent guaranteeing the constitutional right to an abortion. The overturning of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood is an egregious and overtly political act that jeopardizes the health, safety, and freedom of millions of Americans.
“Thirteen states with ‘trigger laws’ will now impose radical and unjust bans on abortion. Criminalizing abortion won’t stop abortion, it will only make it dangerous. Congress must do its part and respond to these affronts to reproductive freedom by passing the Women’s Health and Protection Act and codifying Roe into law – even if we must abolish the filibuster to do so.
“I once again ask my Senate colleagues, what other judicial outrage must we endure from the illegitimate Supreme Court majority before we act? The most fundamental rights we hold dear as Americans are at stake. The right to privacy is at stake. The right to use contraception is at stake. The right to marry who you love is at stake. And with this decision, the very lives of those seeking to exercise their right to reproductive freedom are at stake.
“We must act now and expand the Supreme Court to bring balance to the bench and restore its legitimacy in the eyes of the American people.”
Rep. Jake Auchincloss
“For the first time in my life, the Supreme Court has rolled back a fundamental individual right. And a majority of Americans are angry. We’re angry because we know that women should control decisions about their own bodies and their own lives. Abortion is going to remain safe and legal in Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth is stepping up to be a safe haven for women who are in healthcare deserts. At the federal level, we are also working to protect access to abortion medication. But what we really need is for the Senate to step up and follow the House’s lead in making Roe the law of the land.”
Massachusetts State Democratic Party
“Today’s news has sent shockwaves across our country and we, first and foremost, stand in unwavering solidarity with the women of Massachusetts and the United States. Massachusetts has some of the strongest reproductive equity laws in the nation and abortion remains legal in Massachusetts thanks to advocacy from local leaders and the actions of Democrats on Beacon Hill. Despite that, we will not simply stand by as the basic human rights of women are stolen elsewhere. Many Republicans have worked diligently and systematically for years to ensure this day would come while others in the GOP have remained pathetically silent and looked the other way. Either way, history will take note. What Republicans surely did not expect is the response this will mobilize in all 50 states. This is a dark day in America, but we will not be deterred in our pursuit to right this wrong. It is Democrats who will ensure we restore these protections and honor a person’s right to make decisions about their own body.”
Reproductive Equity Now
“Let us be clear: overturning Roe was not the anti-abortion movement’s end goal. They are coming for a federal abortion ban. They are coming for birth control, gender-affirming care, and LGBTQ+ marriage. We cannot sit idly by. We need every single person off the sidelines and in this movement with us. So please sign up to volunteer with Reproductive Equity Now, donate to your local abortion fund, and elect pro-reproductive equity candidates up and down the ballot. The battle for abortion rights will be fought and won in the states so invest your time, resources, and energy into state and local organizations in the toughest fights. We need you now more than ever.”