NORFOLK, Va. — Elected officials that represent Virginia are weighing in on the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that suggests the landmark Roe v. Wade case will be overturned.
Politico made the report on Monday night about the draft opinion, which would end legalized abortion nationwide.
The Associated Press reports that a decision to overturn Roe could lead to abortion bans across the country. But the draft may not represent the final say on the matter, as opinions can change in the drafting process.
Gov. Youngkin says 'sacred' SCOTUS confidentially was broken with leak
Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin released a statement that criticized the leak of the draft opinion:
“I am in utter disbelief that the sacred confidentiality of the Supreme Court would be violated in this manner. Sadly, this leak was done in order to cause chaos and to put pressure on justices and elected officials. It’s premature to speculate on what the Supreme Court’s decision will be; however, we learned from listening to Virginians over the last year that we have much common ground on this issue. I am pro-life, and I have been very clear about that since the day I launched my campaign. While we wait for the final June decision, we will be focused on lowering taxes for Virginians, funding education and law enforcement because we need to get a budget passed."
Victoria LaCivita, the spokesperson for Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, also criticized the leak:
“This leak was an unprecedented breach of trust intended to undermine the Supreme Court. At this time, the draft opinion is just that - a draft. The Attorney General will respect whatever decision the Court makes.”
'I believe abortion care is health care': US senators for Virginia disagree with the opinion
Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who both support abortion rights, shared their thoughts on Twitter condemning the leaked opinion.
"I’m outraged by the reported leaked SCOTUS decision overturning Roe," Warner tweeted. "I believe abortion care is health care, and I’ll keep fighting for that in the Senate."
Kaine advocated passing the Women's Health Protection Act, which would codify protections offered within Roe. He followed up by accusing Republicans of stealing Supreme Court seats.
"The draft opinion shows why the Senate GOP denied Merrick Garland a hearing and rushed Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation," Kaine tweeted. "2 stolen seats = Taking away women’s rights. It’s been the goal all along."
Democratic representatives say the opinion is against women's rights, Wittman says he's pro-life
Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican who represents Virginia's first congressional district, released a statement expressing his opposition to abortion and criticizing the leak of the draft opinion:
"I am 100% pro-life, and I believe all life is precious and deserves to be protected—including the unborn. The unprecedented leak of the draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does irreparable damage to the trusted process of the Supreme Court: the ability to deliberate in private. Unfortunately, it is clear that the premature release of the draft opinion was done in an attempt to influence the court before the final decision is published, which is unacceptable, extremely harmful to the Court, and is an egregious attempt to damage the reputation of the Justices and the judicial process.”
Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia's second congressional district said she was concerned about the reports of the draft opinion, saying banning abortions won't stop abortions.
"If the leaked decision is made final, women across the country would be stripped of their constitutional rights to make choices about their own bodies," Luria said in a statement.
She added: "This is a decision to be made between a woman, her health care provider, and her faith—it is not the place of government to dictate a woman’s choices."
Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia's third congressional district released a statement supporting codifying abortion rights:
“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.”
Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia's fourth congressional district said the draft opinion is "an outrageous affront to women’s rights."
“Reproductive care is integral to comprehensive health care, and Americans deserve the right to have a family on their own terms," McEachin said in a statement. "This radical threat to judicial precedent is the result of decades-long efforts by conservative activists to defy norms and undermine established rulings."
Other state-level leaders respond
A spokesperson for Virginia Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert, a Republican, declined to comment on the draft opinion.
The Republican Party of Virginia released a statement criticizing Democrats as "extreme" on the issue of abortion:
“Virginia Democrats are too extreme on the topic of abortion, and their views are outside the mainstream. They consistently push for at-home chemical abortions, and partial-birth and late-term abortion, even up until the moment of birth. Virginia Democrats won’t even protect a baby that has survived an abortion. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the Republican Party of Virginia will unequivocally defend the dignity of all human life in our Commonwealth. The pro-life movement is on the right side of history.”
In response to Sen. Warner's tweet on the matter, the Virginia GOP said, "Only in the twisted mind of far-left Democrats like @MarkWarner can killing an unborn baby be considered 'health care.'"
State Sen. Louise Lucas, the highest-ranking Democrat in Virginia as the president pro tempore, argued that abortion rights are "hanging on by one vote," referring to the slim majority that Democrats have in the Virginia Senate.
State Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Virginia Senate majority leader said that Democrats would continue their support of abortion rights.