SEATTLE - The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years — a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases.
Reaction came pouring in after Friday’s outcome overturning Roe v. Wade which is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.
The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito.
The Washington State Department of Health said abortion was legal in the state before Roe v. Wade and remains legal today.
Washington state politicians quickly put out statements both decrying and celebrating the decision.
Sen. Patty Murray: "Today, Republicans dragged this country backwards by half a century. Republicans ripped away our rights and made this generation the first generation of American women with fewer rights than their mothers. Republicans are forcing women to stay pregnant and give birth when they don’t want to—no matter the circumstances. They are even passing laws to jail women who get abortions and the doctors who provide them. Right here in the Senate, it was Republicans who stacked our Supreme Court with anti-abortion justices, who blocked Democrats’ efforts to protect abortion rights, and who right now are pushing for a federal abortion ban. Everyone needs to understand this is a real crisis that'll hurt millions of people across the country—Republicans want a federal abortion ban & #RoeVWade is no longer settled law. We aren’t going to stand idly by while they rip away abortion rights or go after birth control next. We are going to stand up and fight back with our voices and our votes—to protect the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions. The American people will not forget Republicans’ cruelty—not today, not tomorrow, and not this November."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: "Today, a decades-long project of the extreme right-wing has come to fruition: the Supreme Court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. As one of the one in four women in this country who has had an abortion, I am outraged for what this will mean for those who need abortion care — particularly those who will be most harmed by this decision: Black and Brown women, those who live in rural areas or have lower incomes and can’t afford to cross state lines for care, young people and LGBTQ people, and women in abusive relationships. The Supreme Court has now mandated forced pregnancy, taking away an intensely personal freedom for pregnant people to make decisions about our own bodies with a doctor or loved one, and instead bringing politicians into your decision and your bedroom. Every woman, every family, every pregnant person should fear what this means for their futures."
Rep. Dan Newhouse:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers: "This is one of the most momentous days in American history for the dignity and sanctity of every human life. This is just the beginning of a new era to define the human rights issue of our generation and to provide care, hope, and support for moms and their children at every stage of their lives. Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats want an extreme and discriminatory pro-abortion agenda to be the law of the land. Their Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act nationalizes abortions for all nine months, making America just as radical as China and North Korea. It legalizes discriminatory abortions at any stage based on a baby’s sex, race, and disability, including Down syndrome. It also overrides state laws that protect women from coercion. No part of this agenda celebrates the dignity, value, or potential of human life. Yet, nearly every Democrat in Congress is on the record for it. The Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act, which is more radical than Roe, must be stopped by a movement united behind our unalienable, God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Every life is worth living. May this remain the moral bedrock that guides us and our great nation."
Senator Maria Cantwell: "This is a sad and tragic day in America. Millions of Americans are losing their rights to control their own bodies and their own healthcare. Despite decades of Republican Supreme Court nominees coming before the Judiciary Committee and saying that they believe Roe v. Wade is settled law, they have taken a sledgehammer to the right to privacy. Some of our state’s biggest employers could be asked to give personal reproductive data to states that criminalize abortion. That’s why, as one step, I co-sponsored the My Body, My Data Act, which would give Americans strong, enforceable rights to protect their most sensitive health information. We know that 70% of Americans did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. They want these rights upheld. Mainstream Americans have counted on this right, depended on this right, exercised this right, and now several justices on the Supreme Court are going back on their word and upending settled law to take this right away. Americans could now be criminalized for exercising their personal right of if and when to start a family, and be at risk of suffering life-altering pregnancy complications or death — and their doctors and nurses could be thrown in jail. I am hopeful that Americans will respond, as we always have when our rights are taken away. The 70% of Americans who agree must have their voices heard on the constitutional right to privacy. I’m calling on all Americans who believe in this right to exercise their voice and their vote. Every legislative tool and initiative process should be considered. As we face attempts to shut down vital health services, now more than ever we need to give our support to the patients who depend on them and the medical professionals who provide them."
This is a developing story and will be updated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.