Home>Congress>Statements on the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

Gov. Phil Murphy signs the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act on January 13, 2022, with Senate President Nicholas Scutari, former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, and former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

Statements on the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

By Joey Fox, May 03 2022 10:46 am

Last night, Politico released a leaked draft majority opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 case that established the constitutional right to abortion. Though the draft is not necessarily final and the ultimate outcome could change, many politicians in New Jersey and around the country have released statements or social media posts reacting to the news.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SHEILA OLIVER

“Outraged and at a loss for words. For 49 years, women in this country have had the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. We MUST fight this!”

CONGRESSWOMAN BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN

“This is a draft opinion. Abortion is still legal, and it’s still a right. But in case my colleagues needed another reminder: the clock is ticking. We MUST end the filibuster and make the Women’s Health Protection Act law…

We have made too much progress as a nation to backslide to a time when the law treated women as second-class citizens. Time is running out for the Senate to abolish the filibuster and write reproductive freedom into federal law.”

CONGRESSWOMAN MIKIE SHERRILL

“Like many Americans right now, I am shocked by the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The majority of Americans stand behind the reproductive rights enshrined in the landmark 1973 case and reversing it goes against both settled law and the will of the people.

Our founders were worried about the tyranny of the majority, but what we now face is a tyranny of the minority: the extreme right has attacked our voting rights, women’s rights, and continues work to undermine our system of democratic elections. The forthcoming partisan opinion – which includes the votes of three Trump appointed justices – carries out a decades-long attack on this constitutional right and a rollback of law that has been settled for half a century.

Many of us feared this day would come, but that does not diminish how deeply disturbed I am today as a woman, a mother, and a lawyer.

Overturning Roe threatens women’s safety and diminishes their economic future.

I will pledge, along with all Americans who value their rights and personal autonomy, to be resolute in my commitment to stand up and protect our freedoms.”

FORMER STATE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER LORETTA WEINBERG

“Expected – but still shocking – to read about the Alito draft on outlawing Roe v. Wade. NJ women are safe for the moment with our Reproductive Freedom Act. We must stand up and make our voices heard in huge numbers of votes.”

STATE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER TERESA RUIZ

“Went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night to the news that we could be facing a nightmare. In New Jersey, we prepared for the possibility that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. I am grateful that [former Senator Loretta Weinberg] championed a bill that I co-sponsored that protects a women’s right to chose in New Jersey. But this isn’t just about us. This is about every woman in America and the future of our daughters. This pending U.S. Supreme Court decision is a step backwards on our reproductive freedoms.”

STATE SENATOR SANDRA CUNNINGHAM

“I am deeply disturbed by reports that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. If the draft decision holds it will be detrimental to women’s rights more broadly and undoubtedly fatal for many. While I am grateful we took action to protect the rights of women here in New Jersey, we cannot stand idly by while the health and wellbeing of women around the country is in jeopardy. Instead of moving forward, we are moving backwards. It is my hope that elected officials at all levels of government will take action to shield their residents from this harrowing decision.”

ASSEMBLY MAJORITY WHIP CAROL MURPHY

“Reports of a leaked draft majority opinion by The United States Supreme Court confirms the dangerous reality that the highest court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion. We have prepared here in New Jersey by taking critical steps to protect a woman’s right to choose, but across our nation many women are on the verge of a reproductive care crisis. It is reprehensible that the highest court in the land is preparing to turn back the clock on women and reverse the progress we have made in our fight for equality. This decision will open the floodgates to radical policies prohibiting abortion in many states and force women to seek dangerous alternatives, which will result in tragic outcomes.

The trust and confidence in our judicial system can easily become compromised with a prematurely leaked decision coming from the highest court in the land. The American people deserve better than tactical political theater and this downright disturbing and unprecedented action requires the Department of Justice to investigate this breach of confidentiality to protect the American legal system.”

ASSEMBLYWOMAN MILA JASEY

“It is devastating to see the Supreme Court headed in this direction. Thankfully, here in New Jersey, we took a preemptive step to codify women’s reproductive health rights into State law with the signing of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act earlier this year. Regardless of what happens at the federal level, New Jersey will remain a place where all women are able to exercise their reproductive rights and make important and highly personal family planning decisions freely.

I am proud to have sponsored legislation that protects the freedom of choice and access to contraceptives for women in New Jersey, but the fact that we are still having this conversation in 2022 is an affront to all women.

A woman’s right to make personal health choices should be non-negotiable. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade over 50 years ago ensured that for all women. The thought that women throughout the country will lose a fundamental right under this new opinion is catastrophic.”

NJ-1 REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE CLAIRE GUSTAFSON

“For Donald Norcross to refer to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion as ‘the Republican Party’s war on women’s rights’ is laughable, especially given the fact that Norcross and his leftist allies have been leading the charge on the Democrat’s war on the unborn.

Norcross even went so far as to use abortion to engage in class warfare saying that if the draft opinion stands it will cause ‘immeasurable harm’ to ‘poor and working-class women.’ I assure you, as a working-class woman, giving birth caused me no immeasurable harm, obviously Norcross has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Rather than using the leaked Supreme Court document to rally his base, engage in class warfare and continue the war on the unborn, Donald Norcross should be demanding an investigation into the leak. If he’s not willing to secure an investigation into the leak, Norcross should stick to something he’s good at, like that time he admittedly ‘led the charge’ to get a law passed that provided millions of dollars in tax breaks for his friends and family.”

Unlike Donald Norcross, I understand it is government’s job to protect life, not destroy life. After raising five kids, I know how to say ‘no’ and I will always say no to abortion as a form of birth control.”

GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY

“A truly dark day in America with the news reports that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. This year, I signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act – codifying a woman’s right to choose into state law. New Jersey will not go backwards on reproductive rights.

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

SENATOR CORY BOOKER

“The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade – repudiating nearly half a century of legal precedent in the process – would be an outrageous attack on Americans’ most fundamental rights.

This opinion would strip people of the constitutional right to make their own medical decisions with their doctor, even in the most extreme and unthinkable circumstances, such as in the case of rape, incest, or if someone’s life is endangered by continuing a pregnancy.

In recent years Republican officeholders have accelerated their longstanding effort to control, criminalize, and dehumanize people’s most personal reproductive health decisions. Already, 13 states have laws on the books that would automatically ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. And it’s clear that Republicans in Congress are preparing to outlaw and criminalize all abortions nationwide.

Abortion is health care, and it’s the federal government’s mandate to protect people’s most fundamental rights.”

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ

“Here we are. Every woman’s autonomy is on the line. This decision will impact all of us as Republicans weaponize this to erode more and more of our rights over time.

In this moment, I want women in NJ and across the country to know that I will never stop fighting for your right to choose.”

CONGRESSMAN DONALD NORCROSS

“If true, extreme SCOTUS Justices are set to end reproductive freedom for millions of Americans. This will cause immeasurable harm and threaten a woman’s fundamental right to make their own health care decisions. The Senate MUST pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Now!”

CONGRESSMAN JEFF VAN DREW

“The Supreme Court was created to be an independent, autonomous body to uphold the founding principles of our great nation. This leak is inexcusable and undermines the sovereignty of our nation’s highest court. Regardless of where an individual falls on the political spectrum, this leak compromises the integrity of the Supreme Court and diminishes the public’s trust in the judiciary’s ability to issue impartial, neutral decisions regarding the most important and controversial issues facing our nation.

Whoever leaked this draft opinion must be held accountable to the extent the law allows. This is a clear effort to inflict public backlash of a Supreme Court decision to intimidate the Justices to reverse their position. Our founding fathers made clear that the Supreme Court was to act independently, absent any political influence and absent any public influence. Our Supreme Court justices took an oath of commitment to this country to make judgments following the Constitution; not following personal beliefs. During a time where public trust in our government is diminished, the public is now forced to question their trust in our judiciary. The leak of this independent and detailed reasoning of our Justices ruling on Dobbs is an attempt to interject the public into an issue that specifically is to be decided by the great minds appointed to the Supreme Court to accurately and carefully interpret decisions in accordance with our Constitution.”

CONGRESSMAN ANDY KIM

“Many are feeling deep anxiety and fear tonight about this. This is a draft doc, but it’s still a stark reminder that we cannot take anything for granted. The next 5 yrs in this country will shape the next 5 decades. It’s on all of us to fight for fairness and equality.”

CONGRESSMAN CHRIS SMITH

“The leak of Justice Alito’s February draft opinion on Dobbs is an egregious abuse of process and trust.

That said, the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to take a powerful step towards empowering elected representatives to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. We are at the tipping point.

A new national debate on abortion has begun and fresh scrutiny must be brought to bear on how the lives of unborn children are destroyed including by dismemberment with sharp knives, pulverization by powerful suction devices, or poisoning by any number of toxic chemicals.

I join millions of Americans who are hopeful that government sanctioned violence against babies and the exploitation of women by abortion is nearing an end – although in a very real way, the struggle to defend children in the womb and offer tangible assistance to their mothers now enters a critically important new phase.”

CONGRESSMAN JOSH GOTTHEIMER

“This leaked draft opinion would devastatingly overturn a woman’s right to choose. We must oppose any attempt to get between a woman & her doctor when making personal health care choices. The House has already voted to codify Roe v Wade & it’s high time the Senate does the same.”

CONGRESSMAN FRANK PALLONE

“Roe v. Wade has stood for nearly 50 years protecting the right to abortion.

If this draft opinion is accurate, the Supreme Court is on the cusp of overturning half a century of precedent and decimating reproductive rights for millions of Americans. This is an assault on women and their ability to make their own health care decisions and undermines the right to privacy for all Americans. It is an ideological decision not based in the Constitution that will further undermine trust in the Supreme Court and cause devastating harm to our people and our nation.

However, today, abortion is still legal. It is not too late for the Justices to reverse course and uphold the law of the land. The health and rights of millions hangs in the balance.”

CONGRESSMAN TOM MALINOWSKI

“Americans are tired of having our lives upended. The last thing we need right now is for the Supreme Court to suddenly rip up 50 years of settled law on abortion. That’s just one reason why it would be a grave mistake for the Court to overturn Roe.

Whatever the Supreme Court does, Congress can codify Roe v Wade – as the House already has done. And we can elect members of Congress who will preserve the legal standard Americans have long lived with and overwhelmingly support. Let’s move forward, not 50 years backward.”

CONGRESSMAN ALBIO SIRES

“Last night’s leaked draft opinion out of the Supreme Court, which strikes down Roe v. Wade and invites state lawmakers across the country to ban access to abortion, is aalarming action by the Court. Not only does this draft opinion break with nearly fifty years of precedent, it also goes against the majority of Americans’ views on abortion access. The overwhelming majority of Americans support the precedent set in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion care legal in the United States in 1973. The counter-majoritarian Supreme Court is poised to inflict its widely unpopular view on women in the United States. This country cannot backslide on a woman’s right to privacy and access to abortion. It is more urgent than ever that the Senate immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, to federally codify a woman’s right to abortion care.”

CONGRESSMAN BILL PASCRELL

“A massive protest is forming in front of the Supreme Court in support of protecting women’s bodily autonomy. I’m proud our staff members are part.”

CONGRESSMAN DONALD PAYNE JR.

“This absolute tragedy is the direct result of the continued radicalism of the Republican Party and its turn to the far right. Now, women across the country are in jeopardy of falling backwards to a dark past when access to a safe abortion procedure was difficult or impossible. I have always been a proud supporter of a woman’s right to choose because I know that we must trust women to make their own health care decisions rather than dictating to them.

There is a solution to this urgent problem that must happen now. Last September, I joined Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. This legislation would guarantee the legal right to an abortion for all women nationwide. The U.S. Senate must act now to pass this bill and, if necessary, Senate leaders must abolish the filibuster to allow an up or down vote to be held. There is no other action that would rise to the urgency of this moment than doing whatever it takes to pass this bill. The American people are watching and they are counting on us to act. We must not let them down.”

NJ-3 REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE BOB HEALEY

“Tonight’s unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion means that a final decision on Roe v. Wade’s future is likely several weeks or months away.

In that time, I propose we, as a country, do something that sounds radical by today’s standards – respectfully debate this important issue on its merits & pass laws in each state that reflect the majority opinion of their respective constituents.

In NJ, the will of the majority may not be in line with my personal beliefs, and I respect that.

Personally, I am pro-life, while recognizing the need for exceptions that would allow a pregnancy to be legally terminated in the case of rape and incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk. I also oppose late term abortions & support parental notification for minors.

As a citizen, I will advocate for that position with my own state legislators and our governor, and I am hopeful that a compromise that reflects the diversity of opinion of our great state can be reached.”

NJ-4 REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE MIKE CRISPI

“OVERTURN ROE V. WADE NOW! We must end the vile practice of abortion in this country once and for all.”

NJ-7 REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE PHIL RIZZO

“Roe v. Wade WILL BE overturned!”

NJ-8 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE ROB MENENDEZ

“If the conservative Supreme Court majority votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, it will forever be a stain on our nation’s history.

I will ALWAYS fight to protect a woman’s right to choose. We must fight to retain the House and expand our majority in the Senate and urgently pass legislation to stop these vicious attacks on women’s health and reproductive freedom.

I thank Governor Murphy and the New Jersey legislature for passing the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act this year, codifying a woman’s right to choose into law.”

NJ-8 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE DAVID OCAMPO GRAJALES

“If Roe is struck down, no rights are safe. They won’t stop there. We must move to codify Roe and expand the court.

States across the country are going to use this decision to justify human rights abuses on millions of Americans. The Senate must swiftly move to abolish the filibuster so we can ✅ Codify Roe ✅ Repeal Hyde Amendment ✅ Codify same-sex marriage ✅ Codify right to self-identify.”

NEW JERSEY DEMOCRATIC STATE CHAIRMAN LEROY JONES

“This decision purportedly authored by Republican appointees on the Supreme Court would be an unprecedented – but not unexpected – assault on women and their right to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own health care. We all knew this was coming, yet we are still horrified by Republicans’ utter contempt for women and disregard for their bodily autonomy. Make no mistake, this is only the beginning. The Republican Party has gutted the Voting Rights Act and now Roe, and is coming for other rights – the right to love and marry whomever you wish, the right to contraceptives, etc. The radical agenda of the Republican right must be stopped, and there is only one way to do that:  get angry, get mobilized, and get voting.

Elections have consequences, and we know this because in New Jersey, the right to an abortion was codified into New Jersey state law last year by Governor Murphy and the Democratic-majority state legislature. However, millions of women across the country will now face a far different reality. We must rise up against the tide of radical conservatism that the Republican Party now represents and vote to defeat every single GOP enabler of this agenda.  Let us be clear: the Republican Party respects neither legal precedent, nor women’s rights. The only way to stop them is at the ballot box. Take your anger and make it count.”

STATE SENATE PRESIDENT NICHOLAS SCUTARI

“This is why we passed the Reproductive Freedom Act last session. The right to choose is safe and legal here in New Jersey. The impending Supreme Court decision will put this right in jeopardy for many across the country.”

STATE SENATOR ED DURR

“As someone who believes in the sanctity of life, I am hopeful that Justice Alito’s draft decision proves to be the final opinion that is approved by the majority to overturn Roe v. Wade and reaffirm states’ rights when it comes to abortion. While it’s possible things can change, it seems likely the Supreme Court is on the verge of fixing a 50-year mistake. It’ll be a major victory for the pro-life community and for all those who kept faith that change would one day come.”

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CRAIG COUGHLIN

“I was disturbed to learn last night that the Supreme Court is prepared to take the unconscionable step of overturning a woman’s right to choose, which has stood for nearly 50 years. Such a decision would have a profoundly adverse effect on women across the nation. I remain committed to protecting access, which is why we acted to codify the right to reproductive freedom in New Jersey. As a Legislature, we will keep working to maintain confidence in a woman’s right to safe and accessible reproductive healthcare.”

ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER LOUIS GREENWALD

“I was deeply saddened last night to read the Supreme Court of the United States leaked draft to overturn Roe v. Wade. Saddened not only because of the impact on a woman’s freedom and individual right to choose but because yet again this is another example of an attack on our American democracy. It has been the tradition of the courts to not delve into politics where public opinion impacts the stability of our laws and precedents.

It is clear this is no longer a conservative court, but a radical court that has no respect for precedent and I fear this might be the first of many decisions that jeopardize our American freedoms. It is politically motivated decisions like these that underscore the need for decisive action at the state level. Earlier this year, we codified a woman’s right to choose here in NJ. This state will continue to promote and protect safe access to reproductive healthcare.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND OF NJ

“To be clear: abortion is still legal in New Jersey. As of today, it remains your constitutional right, and a right that is protected in New Jersey state law.

Last night’s leak makes it clear that we are at a crisis moment for abortion access. The court seems prepared to end our nationwide, constitutional right to abortion. This outcome is as dangerous as it is unprecedented, and will open the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion. And this is not even the end goal for the anti-abortion movement: just this week, news broke that their ultimate goal is to pass a nationwide ban on abortion that would block abortion access in every state in the country.

The consequences of this impending Supreme Court decision will be swift and devastating for communities nationwide. Overturning Roe means 26 states could swiftly move to ban abortion – including 13 states with laws that could immediately go into effect. That means in half the country, people will no longer have power over their own bodies and their own lives.

In New Jersey, our right to abortion is guaranteed by the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, signed into law by Governor Murphy in January of this year. But rights without access are meaningless. There is much more to do in New Jersey to ensure that everyone – regardless of income, insurance coverage, or immigration status – can access the care they need to make their own personal decisions about their bodies and their lives.

The court, which is now dominated by justices hostile to our freedoms, has failed this country. We are devastated, we are furious, and we will fight back.

Understand that Planned Parenthood and our partners have been preparing for every possible outcome in this case and are built for the fight. Planned Parenthood health centers remain open, abortion is currently still legal, and we will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.”

NEW JERSEY CITIZEN ACTION

“We are angered and shocked by the U.S. Supreme Court’s apparent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This decision would set back decades of progress on women’s rights, force countless women to make choices endangering their health and well-being, and exacerbate the health care and economic crisis that women and families across our nation face today. It also serves as a warning of how anti-democracy forces have politicized our judicial process at the highest level, and that elections do have consequences.

We applaud Governor Murphy and New Jersey legislative champions for codifying a woman’s right to choose into state law through the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act. We stand by women’s rights to equal protection under the law and we will continue our resistance and our fight for these rights and women’s freedom throughout this nation. We urge all New Jerseyans and our elected leaders to stand with us against this continuing assault on women’s rights and our most sacred American institutions.”

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