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Congressional Black Caucus Issues Statement on Leaked Draft of SCOTUS Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

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Washington D.C. , May 3, 2022 | comments

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS ISSUES STATEMENT ON LEAKED DRAFT OF SCOTUS DECISION TO OVERTURN ROE V. WADE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty and members of the Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement on the draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that eliminates the constitutional right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade:

If, in fact, this opinion is issued, it will fundamentally change us as a nation. Overturning Roe v. Wade will have disproportionately devastating impacts on communities of color, marginalized groups already facing discriminatory obstacles to health care, and will resonate globally. Elections have consequences,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. “To the women of America, I speak directly to you: Your right to make personal health care decisions is still the law of the land. And while this opinion marks an unprecedented attack on our womanhood, the Congressional Black Caucus will continue fighting to protect every woman’s bodily autonomy. It is time to abolish the filibuster and pass the Women's Health Protection Act. It is critical in this moment to remember the human tragedy of this decision. A woman’s right to govern her body is a fundamental human right, which must be enshrined in law.”

"The radical right stole two seats on the Supreme Court. And now the so-called majority apparently plans to rob women of their long-held reproductive freedom," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "We will not go backward."

“Today the women of this country have gotten the first view of a leaked document from the Supreme Court, that basically describes the destruction of Roe V Wade. Is there any doubt that this majority right-wing Supreme Court is poised to finalize a decision that will be devastating to poor women, and minority women in particular? This decision is closer to finalization than not. Despite the pending decision, women must fight with every breath of life, to resist, resist, resist,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

“Access to abortions is essential. While this draft decision is not final, it is a devastating attack on women’s rights. Overturning Roe and Casey will be detrimental and disproportionately harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities already facing systemic discrimination,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Commitee. “We have seen State legislatures across the nation pass draconian laws infringing on people’s bodily autonomy. Banning abortions will not stop abortions. It will only prevent people from accessing abortion care within our healthcare system and force them to seek other alternatives. We must fight to ensure that all have the right to reproductive freedom.”

“We all knew the odds, but it is nonetheless shocking to see a Court move towards overturning 50 years of precedent in a stunning revocation of our right to have an abortion,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. “If accurate, this decision will deal a shattering blow to millions, especially low-income people and women of color. Every American should have the right to make their own personal health care decisions that impact their lives, health and futures. It is chilling to think this court is unwilling to protect those rights. But just as important: this is NOT an official ruling. Abortion is still legal. Now more than ever, the U.S. Senate must preemptively codify Roe into federal law by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Lives depend on it.”

“In my nearly 30 years in Congress, I have watched Roe and Casey endure waves of coordinated, direct attacks on their legality,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. “And today, it appears that the same court that established the right to an abortion as precedent is poised to senselessly strip it away. Let me be clear: the right to have an abortion is fundamental, and the decision to have one should remain solely between a woman and her physician. It is important to note that this reported decision is only a draft, which means abortion is still legal right now. But it is equally as important to note that an official decision is likely imminent, which means we’re running out of time to act. The House has done its part to codify the protections offered by Roe by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. The Senate must now take up this bill immediately and send it to President Biden’s desk.”

“This apparent draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade represents the most disastrous and significant setback in access to abortion care this nation has seen in 50 years.  This draconian ruling would strip away a woman’s freedom to her own choices—about her healthcare, her body, and her agency—and undercuts what has not only been established law for half a century, but a precedent rooted in basic principles of justice and personal liberty,” said Congressman David Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. “Should this ruling be finalized, I am disheartened that our grandchildren must face the same battles of two generations past. Now, we must do everything in our power to stand up for women’s healthcare and fight for their equal treatment under the law. We must enshrine abortion rights into law.”

“Every woman, regardless of her background or socioeconomic status, deserves the right to make her own medical decisions. That is why I was proud to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act last fall to protect reproductive rights at the federal level. These reports make it abundantly clear why the Senate must immediately pass that bill and send it to President Biden’s desk, “ said Congressman Bobby Scott, Chairman of the House  Education and Labor Committee (VA-03).

“I am deeply troubled by reports that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming months," said Congressional Black Caucus First Vice Chair Congressman Steven Horsford. "While this decision is not final, it would be an outrageous break with 50 years of precedent. Nevadans voted to enshrine protections in our state Constitution that safeguard a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion by an overwhelming margin in 1990. But without federal protections, many states will deny women this right. We cannot allow that to happen. That’s why I will continue advocating for a woman's right to choose in Congress. The Senate must act to get the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act to the President for his signature immediately."

“This is gut wrenching. From this draft opinion, a majority of the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade and rip up 50 years of precedent and women’s rights,” saidCongressional Black Caucus 2nd Vice Chair and Co-Chair of the Democratic Womens’ Caucus Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. “I can’t stress enough the dangerous effect this will have on women and families across the country. We are already seeing states pass abortion bans to restrict reproductive freedom. And this opinion will only speed that process up. Let me be clear: abortion bans don’t ban abortions, they just ban safe abortions. Those cheering this on do not live in reality. It sends a message that you don’t believe that women should have autonomy over their own bodies or that you don’t trust us to make our own health care decisions. Furthermore, the United States has a maternal mortality crisis, and it disproportionately affects Black women and other women of color. Striking down Roe v. Wade would cause maternal mortality to skyrocket. While this news is devastating, we cannot give up this fight. In September 2021, the House voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which would codify the vital protections in Roe v. Wade. It’s time for the Senate to act now to pass this much-needed legislation. We don’t have to wait for the Supreme Court to issue its final ruling, and we cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Too many lives are at stake. In the meantime, remember: this is a draft opinion, abortion remains legal, and it is still a right.”

“Motherhood is a gift to many women, including myself; but it should never be involuntary. Forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term deprives us of our autonomy and equality,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “This draft opinion is terrifying, and confirms what we already knew: that this extreme Supreme Court is hostile to women. Just as important, however, is that abortion is still legal, it's still a right, and it's still available in the United States. No matter what, I will continue to fight to make our right to choose the law of the land.”

“Overturning Roe v. Wade will set women’s rights back generations. The impact of this unjust decision will be felt especially by Black women, low-income women, and rural communities. We must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act into law,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. “This is not to mention the United States’ shameful maternal mortality rate and inequitable access to care. We must codify the right to a safe abortion for women in every single state. I will continue the fight to ensure women’s access to healthcare, including abortion.” 

“Black and brown folks have been sounding the alarms for years and none of it was hyperbole. Our fundamental right to abortion care is under attack, and the draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade shows that the stakes could not be higher. We must be clear: abortion care is still legal in America, but Congress must legislate to protect this fundamental human right and codify it into law,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce of the Pro-Choice Caucus. “We know that our most vulnerable communities will bear the disproportionate brunt of any decision restrict and deny access to abortion care -- particularly Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+ and low-income people. We must legislate as if our lives depend on it, because they do. The Senate must move with urgency to abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act without delay.”

“The horrifying draft SCOTUS opinion would not only end the constitutional right to abortion but threaten other constitutional rights," said Congresswoman Elenor Holmes Norton. "It’s also a unique threat to DC women. A Republican Congress could ban abortion in DC."

“The draft opinion by the Supreme Court is a devastating blow to women’s reproductive rights,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell. “A woman’s personal health care decisions should be made between her and her doctor. The Senate must immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure that women everywhere can access a full range of reproductive health care services.”

“If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade as the leaked draft decision suggests, it will have life-changing consequences for millions of Americans trying to make their own health care decisions. Black and Brown women in particular will shoulder the burden of abortion bans across this country, as they face more barriers to access the means and services to receive the reproductive health care they need," said Congressman Mondaire Jones. "A far-right majority on the Supreme Court has launched a full-out assault on our fundamental rights. I was glad to vote in the House to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade, and I will continue urging my colleagues in the Senate to abolish the filibuster so they can do the same. Congress must also take immediate action to expand the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights."

“It appears that the Supreme Court is poised to reverse over 50 years of judicial precedent and redefine the Constitution to remove a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not. I believe that decision should ultimately rest with the woman, her God and her doctor—not with 50 different State legislatures that may likely encourage Americans to spy on their neighbors’ personal health choices for cash; stalk women, their friends and supporters; criminalize doctors and otherwise limit access to healthcare,” saidCongressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. “I believe abortion should be legal, safe, and an available choice in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life or health of a woman.”

“This absolute tragedy is the direct result of the continued radicalism of the Republican Party and its turn to the far right,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “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.”

“Abortion is a constitutional right that must be protected by any means necessary.” said Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01). “The right to choose has always been vulnerable to a Supreme Court stacked with Trump-appointed judges. It is why the American people turned out to deliver control of the House, Senate, and White House to Democrats. We cannot throw up our hands like there isn’t anything we can do to protect the reproductive freedom of millions of people in this country — especially when Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+ and low-income people are the communities that will be harmed the most. While abortion is still legal this morning in America, people are going to die because of the decision of a far right Supreme Court. Unless Congress acts. The Senate must abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, immediately.”

"Our priorities should be our national security, public safety, inflation, border security, education…but the attack on women’s rights is stronger than ever," said Congresswoman Val Demings. "If the report is true, our fundamental freedoms can be taken away at the stroke of a pen. But I tell you the truth, we refuse to go back. The House has already passed legislation to codify Roe in federal law and protect America's women. This is all on the Senate. They must act now to protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions."

“If the reports prove accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to take direct aim at the rights and lives of women and decades of settled law,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown. “Overturning Roe would strip fundamental human and constitutional rights from millions of women, including in Ohio where the legislature is considering new laws that would threaten a woman’s right to choose. These restrictions would be particularly devastating for low-income women and women of color, who already face countless roadblocks to health care. In Ohio and across the country, there is overwhelming support for leaving Roe’s protections intact. In this critical moment, the Senate must codify Roe v. Wade by passing the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act.”

“I remember life before Roe, and I never want women to be taken back to those times. Abortions are legal and safe, and must remain that way. We cannot allow partisan conservative justices to have the final say on women’s reproductive rights. It’s time to end the filibuster and codify reproductive rights for women today and for future generations,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

“The leaked draft opinion is an attack on poor and working-class women across the country,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “With Republican state houses across the nation passing “trigger laws” to eliminate a woman’s right to choose once a ruling comes down, the time for talk is over. The Senate must end the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act into law now. The health and welfare of millions of women are at stake.”

“If this is indeed SCOTUS’ final decision, this is a dark day for individual rights in our nation,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. “Louisiana’s trigger ban will immediately go into effect if Roe vs. Wade truly is overruled, meaning that thousands will be instantly prevented from accessing critical healthcare, even in cases of rape or incest. This is an unacceptable reality. But the fight isn’t over until reproductive rights are fully protected. To everyone in Louisiana: I’ll keep fighting for your rights, and that includes the right to choose.”

“The unprecedented leaking of a Supreme Court draft opinion pales in comparison to the action the Supreme Court is poised to take, which is to destroy the rights of women. We’ve already seen the Supreme Court chip away at voting rights. In this opinion, they hacked away the fundamental privacy rights of women. It does not augur well for every Americans’ right to privacy,” said Congressman Hank Johnson. 

“If the reports are true, the rights of women are under direct assault by the highest court in our land.  Since January 1973, the date of the decision in Roe v. Wade, it has been deemed to be settled law that has been repeatedly reaffirmed by many Supreme Court decisions that a woman’s right to an abortion is her right to bodily autonomy that must be protected,”said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. “There is no woman of reproductive age today who knows what it is like to live without the freedom of choice in this most intimate of health decisions.  We must stand for what is a basic human right and against anti-abortion efforts like those in the State of Texas that would take away the right of every woman to decide for herself the profound and fundamental decision about all aspects of her healthcare. The Trump Court Justices all stated that they believed in precedent, how tragic that they are now showing us who they are.”

“Generations of women fought for the right to vote. They fought for a seat in the university classroom, a seat in the boardroom, and a seat in our government. And they fought for the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies,” said Congresswoman Lucy McBath. “Generations of women secured these gains so that we could build on their efforts toward a just and equitable society. We cannot allow their work to be undone. We must protect the rights of women everywhere to make decisions about their reproductive health, their families, and their futures.”

Congressman Dwight Evans said, “The draft Supreme Court opinion should alarm every American who, like me, believes in the right to choose and opposes forced pregnancy, which would have a disproportionate impact on  Black and Brown women. I voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act when it passed the House last September. The Senate has made more than 160 exceptions to the filibuster – the ‘Swiss cheese filibuster,’ as I call it. It is time for senators to make an exception to protect one of Americans’ most fundamental rights – the right to choose. And this looming threat from the Trump-McConnell court should show everyone that elections matter.”

“The draft decision from conservatives on the Supreme Court is extreme, it’s dangerous, and will erase decades of progress for women’s rights. Such a reckless decision throws out long established precedent, putting at risk the civil rights of all Americans. We need action at every level to protect reproductive health care and the progress so many have fought for,” said Congressman Anthony G. Brown. “Congress must codify the protections enshrined by Roe and make clear that we stand with women and their autonomy. I will never stop fighting to protect these freedoms.”

“If handed down, the draft opinion by the Supreme Court will be a direct assault on access to essential health care and the right to reproductive freedom,” said Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33). “Congress must act now to protect Roe v. Wade by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act as soon as possible. I will never stop fighting because abortion access is health care – plain and simple.” 

“The Supreme Court draft opinion is one of the most disgraceful decisions in the history of the United States. Rather than conserving Roe V. Wade, which has been reaffirmed repeatedly for decades, these reactionaries disguised as “conservatives” have chosen to radically dismantle a core constitutional right,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “This is a clear assault on the health,  safety, and reproductive rights of women across the country. It is time for the Senate to end the filibuster and finally codify Roe V. Wade.”

“Rejecting Roe v. Wade 50 years later amounts to an all out assault on women’s reproductive rights and freedoms, and it is a political act by an extreme and hostile Supreme Court. Fifty years ago it was established that every woman has the right to the control of her body, a right that already existed for every man. And yet, here we are again facing another egregious wrong with this draft opinion from Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., seeking to make an argument for stripping away women’s reproductive rights. Today, more so than ever, it is incumbent upon elected officials at every level of government to fiercely protect a woman’s right to choose,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09).

“The U.S. Supreme Court is dangerously close to overturning Roe v. Wade. This draft reminds us we are in the midst of a nationwide attack on women’s healthcare. Abortion access and reproductive care for tens of millions of women is critical and every person deserves to make their own decision in this deeply personal matter,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05).

“The draft decision authored by Justice Alito, if accurate, would be a devastating blow to women across the country,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL).“Restricting abortion rights disproportionately impacts women of color and rural communities where access to health care is already hard to come by. This report underscores the importance of immediately working to codify Roe at the federal level. But just as important, this is a DRAFT decision. People across the country should know that, as it stands, abortion is still legal and it is still a right - a right we won’t give up.” 

“This draft decision from the Supreme Court would limit women's freedom and autonomy to make deeply personal choices. As I have said before, it’s a woman’s body, not yours. She alone bears the burden, pain, and joy that it brings. Make no mistake, this ruling will not stop abortions, it will only put women — particularly Black and low-income women — at unspeakable risk and further limit the opportunities available to women of color, adversely affecting the lives of millions for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24). “I am proud to have supported the Women’s Health Protection Act to extend reproductive health access to every American, regardless of where they live and how much they earn. This is a wake-up call for Congress to get off the sidelines and work to put an end to extremist attacks on the reproductive rights of women. We refuse to be dragged backwards to the dark ages of back-alley abortions and to deny our young women the right to make choices about their bodies and their future.”

“For nearly half a century, a woman’s right to choose has been enshrined in law under the ruling of Roe v. Wade. The draft opinion threatening to overturn those protections is an outrageous affront to women’s rights in our nation and a clear threat to the judicial precedent set forth by the Court,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). “Overturning Roe threatens decades of progress for women’s rights and endangers the health, freedom, and well-being of millions of Americans across our nation. The House has taken the bold and necessary action to codify Roe v. Wade into law by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Now the Senate must pass this legislation with all deliberate speed to protect reproductive health care and preserve a woman’s right to choose.”  

“Overturning Roe v. Wade is an indication that the U. S. Supreme Court is ideological in conflict with the American people.  Women deserve better and must be afforded the protection of their bodies and persons just like everyone else, “ said Congressman Danny K. Davis (IL-07).  “If the draft opinion is accurate, this decision sets the stage for political organizing around the country, and you can count me in.”

“We now have a chilling picture of a post-Roe v. Wade country. Upending over 50 years of legal precedent is a dangerous assault on bodily autonomy. While working for Planned Parenthood for a decade, I heard from countless patients—primarily women of color—who made tremendous sacrifices to get the abortion care they needed. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, those sacrifices will put reproductive healthcare out of reach for millions of people, or force them into dangerous, unregulated procedures,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Whip of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. “The House of Representatives did its job by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Now the Senate must pass this lifesaving legislation and end the filibuster to protect the rights of all Americans.”

“The potential overturn of Roe vs. Wade would be a direct affront on the last 50 years of advancement in a woman’s right to determine her own destiny. We will not roll back our progress and I will not tire until there is federal protection for every woman’s right to choose,” said Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20). “Decades of attacks have left abortion rights hanging by a thread in the U.S. I am proud to have voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act, and  will keep fighting until every person, no matter where we live, how much money we make, or what we look like, has the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives and futures.”

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade is but the genesis of rights being denied in revelations yet to come,” said Congressman Al Green (TX-09). “Should the court overturn Roe v. Wade, the court will not only invalidate and eviscerate a woman’s inexorable constitutional right to choose, the court will also put at risk Loving v. Virginia and the right for couples of different races to marry, as well as Lawrence v. Texas and the right for consenting adults of the same sex to copulate. It opens the door to many issues related to privacy that are not currently causes célèbres yet impact the private lives of Americans.”

"Make no mistake -- Overturning Roe v. Wade is a critical part of the far-right's Jim Crow 2.0 scheme to reverse the progress our community has made," said Congressman André Carson. "Outlawing abortion and other critical aspects of reproductive health care takes away the ability for Black women and Black families to make their own personal family planning decisions, which prevents our communities from moving forward. That's why the Congressional Black Caucus will remain dedicated to protecting abortion rights across America. The House has acted by passing the Women's Health Protection Act, and the Senate must act now."

“Access to reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion, is in jeopardy,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10). “That is why I voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which will codify the rights enshrined by Roe v. Wade into law and protect this fundamental right across the country. I will continue fighting to ensure that happens. If this report holds true, the Supreme Court of the United States has taken our nation in the wrong direction, risking the lives of not only women but all Americans. Regulating access to reproductive health care is about one thing; control. The impact of this decision will fall hardest on people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care in the first place—particularly people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet. As we look towards the future, we have a responsibility to use every tool at our disposal to protect your right to make your own decisions related to your health care, free of intrusion.”

“Everyone deserves guaranteed access to healthcare, including reproductive care. Overturning Roe v. Wade would put the lives of women across the country at extreme risk. It would fly in the face of decades of judicial precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion. This is just the start and far-right extremists will not stop here. It’s clearer now more than ever that we need to abolish the filibuster, expand the court, and pass the Women's Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade into law,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05). 

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