Local lawmakers, leaders react to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

The response from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to the Supreme Court's ruling.

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Friday, June 24, 2022
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Local lawmakers and leaders are reacting to the Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Local lawmakers and leaders are reacting to the Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions.

ABC News released a state-by-state breakdown of where states stand with abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that focuses on sexual and reproductive health, and further reporting.

In Pennsylvania, the right to an abortion is not protected by constitutional or statutory laws.

In New Jersey, the right to an abortion is protected under the state constitution.

In Delaware, the right to abortion is protected by updated state laws.

Here is the ongoing list of responses. It will be updated as more are released:

Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf (D) issued this statement:

"First and most importantly, it is critical that everyone understands that abortion services are available and unharmed in Pennsylvania by today's Supreme Court action. Providers may still provide reproductive health care services and patients should continue the health care plan they've developed with their physicians.

"Nonetheless, I am deeply disappointed in today's Supreme Court opinion and the impact this decision will have nationwide. The right to bodily autonomy-and privacy as a whole-is under attack in this country. We must do more to protect the rights of women and pregnant people in every state across the country that doesn't have a governor willing to wield their veto pen.

"As we approach a critical election cycle here in Pennsylvania, I cannot stress enough how important it is to exercise your personal right to vote. Elections matter.

"This decision did not happen overnight. Right-wing extremists have been strategically planning to dismantle decades long decisions to further their agendas and divide our country with policies designed to infringe upon our freedoms. They have done so one vote at a time, one election at a time across our beloved nation. We cannot allow this to continue.

"Americans are feeling defeated and angry today, and I don't blame them. However, as long as I am governor, I vow to protect abortion access and reproductive health care in Pennsylvania.

"To women and pregnant people in surrounding states and across the country where this isn't the case, you are safe here in the commonwealth."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) issued this statement:

"I am deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court, an institution we depend upon to protect our residents and most fundamental values, has arrived at a decision that will reverse Roe v. Wade and make it even more difficult for people to access an abortion if they make the entirely personal and private decision to seek one. Today is a staggering setback and this decision sadly paves the way for even more attacks on our constitutional rights.

"Abortion is healthcare. It is wrong to force someone to remain pregnant when it's not their choice, when it's not the right time, or when it's dangerous to their health or safety - a sad and dire reality for many. It is negligent to 'ban abortion' when abortion procedures will still happen, but are more likely to be unsafe under restrictive policies, needlessly and knowingly putting people's lives at risk. And it is shameful to promote these policies in open pursuit of political power, under a 'pro-life' banner and in the name of innocents, while failing to use that power to protect our country's children from the lethal dangers of poverty and violence.

"If you are sad, scared, or angry, I want you to know that you are not alone and this fight isn't over. I am thankful that abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania, and right here in Philadelphia. Most Americans and most Pennsylvanians support legal access to abortion, and I stand with them. We are determined to do everything in our power to protect this right and support anyone affected by the Supreme Court's decision."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), a candidate for Pennsylvania governor, said, "This is a devastating day in America. A woman's right to choose now depends on the state in which she lives, and the decision will be made by our next Governor. Doug Mastriano will ban abortion with no exceptions. I will keep abortion legal."

GOP candidate for governor, Senator Doug Mastriano (R), has not issued a statement as of yet.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D), a candidate for Senate, said "Deciding how and when to become a mother is a decision that should always be made by a woman and her doctor - not politicians. If there were any doubts left about what's at stake in this race, it became crystal clear today. The right to an abortion will be on the ballot this November in Pennsylvania. I will protect abortion rights. Dr. Oz will take them away. It's that simple."

Dr. Mehment Oz, the Republican candidate for senate, has not released a statement as of yet.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) said, "Today's decision upends almost a half century of legal precedent and rips away a constitutional right that generations of women have known their entire lives. This dangerous ruling won't end abortions in this country, but it will put women's lives at risk. And make no mistake-this is not the end goal, it's just the beginning. Republicans in Congress want to pass federal legislation to completely ban abortion. Our daughters and granddaughters should not grow up with fewer rights than their mothers."

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R) issued this statement, "The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization restores the American people's ability to determine abortion laws through their elected representatives, as the Constitution requires. Precedents that are wrongly decided should be overturned, just as Brown v. Board of Education was right to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson. This ruling is a win for the unborn, the Constitution, and democratic governance."

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D) said, "I was 13 when Roe became law of the land. 50 years later an extreme right-wing court has now ended the constitutional right to abortion - politicians can now control a women's body. I have tears of anger - girls like my 10-year-old granddaughter have less rights than me at 13."

U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D) said, "Roe was settled precedent for nearly my entire life-60% of Americans want it upheld. Roe meant freedom for women & families to choose. So let's call the SCOTUS ruling for what it is: a blatant attack on our freedoms. The long road to restoring our rights begins now. I'm ready."

Congressman Brendan Boyle (D) tweeted, "The United States just took a major and tragic step backwards."

U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (D) tweeted, "It is rare in the United States for millions of Americans to wake up with fewer rights than they had the day before, but that is precisely what the Court has done today. Overturning Roe goes against the will of the American people, and we will fight back."

Archbishop Nelson Perez released the following statement: "I am grateful to the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States for their willingness to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and for their opinion, which affirms the deep value inherent to every human life.

As Catholics, we believe that life is God's most precious gift and that we share a responsibility to uphold its beauty and sanctity from conception to natural death. In addition to being strong advocates for the unborn, this responsibility extends to caring for the hungry, the poor, the sick, the immigrant, the elderly, the oppressed, and any of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized. In short, to be truly pro-life means to recognize the presence of God in everyone and to care for them accordingly.

The Church's strong commitment to protecting and preserving human life is a holistic one. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is one of the largest private providers of social services in the region. Our ministries and programs provide a continuum of care to those in need regardless of their faith tradition.

Our charitable programs provide formula, diapers, education, and comprehensive support services to pregnant women, fathers, new parents, and single parents. We have distributed more than a million meals in the greater Philadelphia region to those struggling with food insecurity. We shelter the homeless, support veterans, those in recovery, and help students with special needs receive the Catholic education they deserve. We have helped desperate families get back on their feet and bring joy to the lives of the aged and lonely.

I have often said that we are a people of hope. It is my personal hope that we can all live and work peacefully, side-by-side, to create a true culture of life in our Nation.

May God bless you."

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy (D) issued this statement, ""No number of leaked draft opinions nor any amount of speculation could have prepared American women for today's backwards and appalling Supreme Court decision to strip away the Constitutional right to reproductive freedom. While New Jersey planned for this eventuality by codifying a woman's right to an abortion under state law, it is incumbent that we do more to fully secure reproductive rights and ensure access to reproductive health care without delay. Until we do, my Administration will take the necessary steps to fully protect both New Jersey's women and those who come to our state to access the freedom which may no longer exist in their home state. In New Jersey, women will always have full autonomy over their own bodies and the right to make their own medical decisions."

Senator Cory Booker (D) tweeted, "This ruling is outrageous, heartbreaking, and puts Americans' lives in danger right now. They overturned Roe, but we will never give up. We will overcome Dobbs."

Senator Bob Menendez (D) tweeted, "The Supreme Court's failure to uphold Roe v. Wade is a devastating and disastrous decision that will impact millions of American women and will forever remain a stain on our country's history."

Congressman Andy Kim (D) tweeted, "I never imagined today would come. A day when the rights of Americans are going backwards. The health and lives of many women are in jeopardy by this reckless decision that overturns half a century of precedent. Americans will immediately feel this dangerous change in many states around the nation that will overnight change what health care rights and options women have. And the threat of a nationwide ban and further attacks on birth control makes no one feel safe. We passed legislation in the House that would stop this and the senate must find a way to codify the rights of women and families to make their own decisions about their health."

Congressman Donald Norcross (D) said, "The decision by conservative justices on the Supreme Court to allow states to roll back the rights of women is disgraceful. It will harm women across the United States, particularly poor and working-class women, by taking away their most basic human right: the right to control their own bodies. Women's health care decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors."

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R): Today, Congressman Van Drew issued the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade.

"The United States Supreme Court has the sacred responsibility of interpreting the Constitution and upholding our nation's founding principles free from political interference, which is exactly what it did today," said Congressman Jeff Van Drew. "The integrity of the Court and its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade must be respected, and we must come together to reject the latest attempts by those who disagree with today's decision to abolish or pack the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court made the right decision to return this issue to the states so they can create their own laws regarding abortion. Here in New Jersey, we must continue to speak out and fight against Governor Murphy's radical policies that call for taxpayer funded partial birth abortions.

"I am also calling on President Biden and House Democrats to forcefully condemn the Radical Left's continued calls for a 'Night of Rage' and to take immediate action to protect pro-life clinics, some of which have already been graffitied and firebombed in the weeks leading up to this decision."

Delaware

Governor John Carney (D) issued the following statement, "Today's decision upends half a century of settled law, and it will lead to risk and heartache for women and families across the country. Here in Delaware, a woman's right to choose is protected under the law, as it should be. These are deeply personal and private decisions -- decisions that ought to remain in the hands of the women who have to make them."

Senator Tom Carper (D) tweeted, "This Supreme Court decision is unconscionably cruel and wrong. It strips away 50 years of constitutional precedent and upends the lives of millions of American women. It's a dark day for our country and our Constitution."

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) tweeted, "Today's decision is a devastating and direct attack on women across the United States. The legal underpinnings of the decision are profoundly misguided and deeply alarming. While abortion will continue to be protected in Delaware, the consequences of this decision will now be borne disproportionately by women of color and in rural communities across the country where access to health care is already hard to come by. That we knew this decision was coming does not blunt the feelings of anger, disappointment, and indignation we feel today - but we must now channel that anger into action. We must work to codify Roe at the federal level. We cannot give up. We will not go back."