WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court released its much-anticipated decision and ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, the longtime legal precedent guaranteeing the right of legal abortion in the United States.
The 6-3 ruling comes after months of protests and decades of legal fighting over abortion rights in the country, as well as a leaked draft opinion hinting what the ultimate decision would be.
Immediately after the decision was announced Friday, politicians and other officials across D.C., Maryland and Virginia announced statements sharing their reactions and next steps, if any.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
The mayor in the District showed her support previously for upholding Roe v. Wade and expressed her opinions quickly after the ruling Friday.
"Washington, D.C. is a proud pro-choice city and access to abortion is still legal here. This is about health care. This is about women’s rights. This is about bodily autonomy. A majority of Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose. This fight is urgent but not over," she posted on Twitter.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R)
Gov. Youngkin praised the decision in his Friday statement. He said that he's asked senators and delegates to join in an effort to bring together legislators and advocates from across the commonwealth to find areas where people can agree and find a successful path forward.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states," he said. I'm proud to be a pro-life Governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life."
"The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions," he continued. "We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life."
He's also calling for a 15-week threshold for legal abortions in Virginia, which currently allows them through 25 weeks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law—that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”
DC Attorney General Karl Racine
"My office will do everything in our power to fiercely defend and strengthen the right to abortion in the District so that everyone can create their family how and when they choose."
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
Gregory said the Roe v. Wade decision 50 years ago created a divided nation.
"Human life is precious and sacred. With the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, now we can begin to heal those divisions that have so diminished us as a people and as a society. We rejoice in this latest step in our journey, but our work is not done. Locally and nationally, we still have more to do to advance the dignity of human life and to make sure that the full range of life issues are adequately addressed. This includes supporting pregnant women in making life-affirming choices, providing better availability of prenatal and postnatal care for children and their mothers, advocating for affordable child care and safe schools, and advancing policies that support mothers in school and in the workforce."
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Norton condemned the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and stated that not only has the constitutional right to abortion been revoked, but the decision calls into question whether the Supreme Court will overturn other longstanding and recent precedents protecting unenumerated rights of individuals.
She also noted that the decision presents a unique threat to abortion access in the District of Columbia because of Congress’ plenary legislative authority over D.C.
“I am outraged by the Supreme Court’s decision today,” Norton said. “Congress must immediately codify the right to abortion in federal law. The decision is also a reminder to the country that D.C.’s lack of statehood means D.C. is subject to the whims of Congress.
"Republicans have repeatedly used D.C. to try to impose policies they cannot or do not have the support to impose nationally. A future Republican Congress may try to ban abortion in D.C., thinking they can get away with it because it would only apply to D.C. residents. They are wrong. We will never allow that to happen.”
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R)
Victoria LaCivita, a spokesperson for Attorney General Jason Miyares, issued the following statement regarding the decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
"Today the Supreme Court ruled that the issue of abortion should not be decided by unelected federal judges, but by the people of the States through their elected representatives. Good and reasonable people can disagree on this issue but now Virginians, not federal judges, can decide its future. The Attorney General will continue to uphold and enforce both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Virginia."
Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-09)
Griffith tweeted his approval of the ruling.
"Roe v. Wade was a constitutional error that has produced decades of tragedy. The Supreme Court got the law right today in Dobbs. The Court has returned to the individual states the ability to make their own decisions on this issue."
Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin (D-04)
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a half-century of judicial precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade is a devastating and unacceptable attack on constitutionally protected freedoms," McEachin said.
"The Supreme Court, comprised largely of Trump-appointed justices, is undermining the legitimacy of its institution while ushering in a dangerous and unprecedented dynamic. This decision is one of the greatest rollbacks of rights in recent times and represents the first time our daughters will have less rights than their mothers. These restrictions will also disproportionately impact low-income Americans and people of color and cause severe socioeconomic impacts on the most vulnerable among us. Overturning Roe v. Wade endangers the health, freedoms, economic mobility, and overall well-being of millions of Americans across our nation and strips women of their right to make the most personal and intimate decisions about their own bodies."
PHOTOS: Roe v. Wade overturned by Supreme Court
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears (R)
Sears shared her plans to support Gov. Youngkin and to keep the justices and their families safe following the landmark decision.
"We support the First Amendment and the right to protest peacefully but not at the expense of the safety of others. We are a civilized society. The baby in the womb wants to live. We ask for God's protection for our commonwealth and our country", she stated.
Virginia Rep. Ben Cline (R-06)
U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)
"The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is an all-out assault on women’s right to an abortion—our worst fears, realized—handed down by an extreme and partisan Court that is violating decades of precedent," Wexton tweeted.
Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-15)
“The Supreme Court of the United States today corrected a nearly five-decades old decision and returned power to the states as it relates to abortion," Gilbert stated; a self-described pro-life delegate since being elected in 2005.
“All Virginians want fewer abortions, not more and House Republicans stand ready to achieve that goal. Our Caucus is ready to work with Democrats to protect the life of unborn children, particularly those who science has proven can feel pain in the womb. I sincerely hope that Democrats will end their use of scare tactics and work with Republicans as the people of Virginia expect. This decision places an enormous responsibility back into the hands of the General Assembly. As Speaker of the House, I do not take this burden lightly, especially given the extreme pro-abortion policies that were enacted over the last few years. There is more that unites than divides us on this issue and there is much work to be done.”
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
“I am deeply disturbed that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upsetting decades of precedent protecting the right of women to make fundamental personal decisions about contraception and abortion without unnecessary government interference. That’s why I’ve been engaged in efforts in the Senate to codify the basic framework of Roe v. Wade and related cases into federal law. We’re not going to give up on the fight to protect the right to choose.”
U.S. House Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)
Spanberger announced her reaction via a Twitter thread.
"Today is a dark day," the thread begins. "As a mother, sister, and daughter, I know how today's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade feels for millions of American women. I strongly disagree with the majority’s decision to undermine the right to privacy and a woman’s right to choose."
Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega (R-VA)
Spanberger's Republican challenger in the general election for Virginia's 7th Congressional District, Yesli Vega, called the decision a celebration of democracy.
"Today's decision by the Supreme Court corrects the grave misreading of the 14th Amendment made in 1973. The majority of Americans agree that we should have fewer abortions not more. That limits should be applied and not allowed up to and even after the point of birth, as we have seen here in Virginia. Abigail Spanberger has always sided with radical liberals like Ralph Northam to create an abortion pipeline primarily in minority communities. While this decision does not ban abortions, it does return control back to state governments to make their own careful and deliberate decisions on the issue of abortion as the representatives closest to the wishes and desires of their citizens. Those who respect democracy should respect and celebrate this decision. The federal government was never meant to have this kind of power and I'm glad it's returning to the state where we have a pro-life Governor at the helm."
Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-01)
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano
Attorney Descano acknowledged the fear many women may have following the ruling — and he shared that he, too is worried for the world his 10-year-old daughter will be growing up in.
"As long as I'm in office, no woman will ever be prosecuted for making their own healthcare decisions," he said in a video posted to his Twitter page.
Virginia Rep. Bob Good (R-05)
Thank God for the SCOTUS’s courage," the representative tweeted. "May Republicans in Congress match that courage by demanding a vote on the Life at Conception Act, and finally bring an end to the atrocity of abortion in America."
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
Attorney General Frosh’s statement was also put out shortly after the ruling. Frosh shared that he is "proud" of his vote to codify Roe v. Wade more than 30 years ago into state law.
“Today’s decision strips away the fundamental right of women to control their own bodies. Including in its sweep even survivors of abuse, rape, and incest, it robs all women of autonomy to make the most personal decisions about their health care. Its harms will have disproportionate impact on women of color and those of low income, many of whom already lack meaningful access to affordable health care of any kind. And even more broadly, this decision overturning 50 years of precedent also threatens the rights of all Americans to make private decisions about their lives without government interference."
“I am proud of the work that our office has done since to protect and expand access to reproductive health care services across Maryland. We will continue to champion the rights of women to make their own health care decisions and to safeguard the right to privacy for all Marylanders.”
"The right to choose is fundamental and a decision that a woman should make in consultation with a doctor or other health care provider, free of political interference from federal, state, or local government," Cardin posted to Twitter.
Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Marc Elrich
Elrich expressed dismay at the ruling and said multiple Supreme Court justice nominees lied during their nomination hearings.
“The Supreme Court ruling today jeopardizes women, rolls back fundamental rights, and, ultimately, will significantly impact the health and life of many women in our Country," he stated. "This ruling turns the clock back on the progress that has been made to ensure the right of women to have an abortion. This is not about law, this is about a twisted ideology."
In addition, Elrich shared action the county plans to take against states attempting to criminalize abortion.
"While we cannot directly affect other states actions, we can make certain Montgomery County does not provide additional revenue to states which are unwelcome to women’s freedom. Therefore, I have directed Chief Administrative Officer Richard S. Madaleno to draft a new policy for County employees (with limited exceptions) that bars County payment for travel to states with policies that roll back a woman’s right to choose, and I call on other jurisdictions which cherish a woman’s autonomy to withhold funds from these states as well. While Montgomery County does everything it can to protect the right to an abortion, we will also not give taxpayer dollars to states that try to drag us back to a dark past."
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Sen. Manchin released a statement detailing that, despite his personal beliefs, he is deeply disappointed with the ruling.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. It has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years and was understood to be settled precedent. I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.
As a Catholic, I was raised pro-life and will always consider myself pro-life. But I have come to accept that my definition of pro-life may not be someone else’s definition of pro-life. I believe that exceptions should be made in instances of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. But let me be clear, I support legislation that would codify the rights Roe v. Wade previously protected. I am hopeful Democrats and Republicans will come together to put forward a piece of legislation that would do just that.”
Editor's note: Correction: Tim Kaine is a member of the U.S. Senate from Virginia, not from Maryland.
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