WASHINGTON — Nearly five decades of unencumbered women's reproductive rights in America could be in jeopardy.
A leaked draft opinion from the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that those justices are in favor of overturning the landmark decision, Roe v. Wade. The 1973 ruling protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
Virginia's U.S. senators, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, are concerned.
"I think it will create a system where people will seek out abortions in unsafe circumstances the way it was back in the 1950s and 1960s," said Warner. "And my fear is, by the Supreme Court jumping feet first into these culture wars, that this women's right to choose may just be the first step. Is the next step going to be rolling back any kind of rights women have to obtain contraceptive devices? Does it mean the gay rights or marriage equality will be the next battlegrounds?"
"It is extremely troubling, and I'm going to hope that the court may come to their senses about the turnback of the Constitutional clock," Kaine said.
Kaine said polling shows the vast majority of Virginians and Americans support a woman's right to choose.
"There are many people who are like me, personally pro-life, and we live our lives that way, but we don't think women who make other decisions or have a different opinion should be criminalized for the decisions they make for their own reproductive lives," he said.
The Republican Party of Virginia also weighed in, calling Democrats "too extreme" when it comes to abortion.
The party added in a statement on Wednesday: "The pro-life movement is on the right side of history."
Kaine said he hopes the Senate will vote next week on the "Women's Health Protection Act."
And about the leak itself, Warner said it is "appropriate" that the court "will bring to justice" the person responsible.