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Northeast leaders react to Supreme Court's abortion rights ruling

West façade of the Supreme Court Building.
West façade of the Supreme Court Building.

Elected leaders from across the Northeast are reacting to Friday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade. Their statements follow.

New York

“Today is a devastating day for all Americans,” Democratic New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said. “Today, more than half of the American population became second-class citizens, stripped of their constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy, regardless of where they live. People in as many as 28 states will no longer have the right to control when, under what circumstances and with whom they want to have children. The right-wing justices of the Supreme Court have declared that they are no longer permitted to make decisions about their own bodies, their own families, and their own lives. Not only is this ruling an insult to women everywhere, but it is an affront to the 6 in 10 Americans who support women’s reproductive freedom. This ruling proves that our judicial system no longer represents the will of the American people and no longer represents logic, science, or equal justice under the law. But while today’s ruling is a terrible setback in the fight for women’s equality, it does not diminish our resolve. In fact, it is time to get to work and fight for our rights. At the federal level Democrats will fight to eliminate the filibuster and enshrine reproductive freedom into law. At the state level we will work to enact pro-choice legislation and flip legislatures to guarantee reproductive rights for all Americans. And in states like New York where reproductive health care is safe and accessible, we will open our doors to those seeking care. We cannot allow nearly 50 years of progress for women’s rights to be erased in one fell swoop. We have simply come too far to turn back now.”

"Today, the Supreme Court took away the right of millions of Americans to make decisions about their own bodies,” Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This decision is a grave injustice. I want everyone to know that abortion remains safe, accessible, and legal in New York. Just last month, in anticipation of this decision, I made an historic $35 million investment to support our state's network of abortion providers. Last week, thanks to the partnership of Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie, I signed a landmark, nation-leading package of legislation that further protects the rights of patients and empowers reproductive healthcare providers. The right to reproductive healthcare is a fundamental human right. History shows us that when abortion is banned, abortion becomes unsafe for women. Low-income individuals and people of color will be harmed the most. New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free. Our state will always be a safe harbor for those seeking access to abortion care. To anyone who is working to deny abortion access, our message is clear: not here, not now, not ever."

"This is a horrifying step backwards for our country, and an attack on women, their bodily autonomy and their ability to make potentially lifesaving health care decisions," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in statemetn. "For years when the Assembly Majority fought to pass the Reproductive Health Act, legislation that codified Roe v. Wade in New York State, we were told that it wasn’t necessary. That it was settled precent. That it was the law of the land. I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. In 2019, we were finally able to pass the legislation and guarantee New York’s women would have access to reproductive healthcare. But when it leaked that the Supreme Court was going to roll back the clocks on women’s healthcare, I knew our job wasn’t finished. We passed legislation that would protect the healthcare providers safety and to prevent other states from pursuing legal action against medical professionals who provide abortions or other reproductive health services. The horrifying precedent that today’s decision will set goes beyond Roe v. Wade. Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion suggests the Supreme Court should revisit decisions on contraception and same sex marriage. We cannot allow that to happen. We will not allow the Supreme Court to take away the rights of New Yorkers. New York will not allow women or the LGBTQ+ community to be treated like second class citizens. We will not allow women to have their bodily autonomy stripped away. And we will not allow others to come after the doctors and medical providers that give them critical, lifesaving healthcare. We will continue fighting to protect women’s rights to reproductive healthcare, and for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and for all Americans. Elections have consequences as this decision proves."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan on this week's Supreme Court decisions on guns and abortion
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan on this week's Supreme Court decisions on guns and abortion<br/>

“Today’s ruling is a vicious, dangerous, and deliberate attack on our most basic freedom as humans,” Democratic New York Attorney General Tish James said. “Every single person in this country should have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. But make no mistake: We will not go back to the inhumane and restrictive pre-Roe era. Regardless of the situation at the national level, New York will always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion. I will work tirelessly to ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from hostile states have access to the care they need and deserve. I will always fight to protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and expand access to this critical and lifesaving care.”

“Every unborn child is precious, extraordinary, and worthy of protection. We applaud this historic ruling, which will save countless innocent lives,” Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District said. “The Supreme Court is right to return the power to protect the unborn to the people’s elected representatives in Congress and the states. In the days and weeks following this decision, we must work to continue to reject extreme policies that seek to allow late-term abortions and taxpayer dollars to fund these elective procedures. The people’s representatives must defend the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every American - born and unborn. As we celebrate today's decision, we recognize the decades of advocacy from the pro-life movement and we acknowledge much work remains to protect the most vulnerable among us."


"Six radical Supreme Court Justices have overturned nearly 50 years of precedent, stripping away the constitutional right to an abortion,” Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “After decades of scheming, Republican politicians have finally forced their unpopular agenda on the rest of America. They have decided that the government – not the person who is pregnant – should make a private health care decision and deny women the right to control their own bodies and futures. But these extremists will not have the final word. Democrats have tools to fight back, from legislation in Congress to executive orders from the President to initiatives at the state and local level – we just need to use them. We are angry – angry and determined. We will not go back. Not now. Not ever.”

“What we have feared most has come to pass. A stolen, illegitimate, and far-right majority on the Supreme Court has destroyed nearly fifty years of precedent guaranteeing the constitutional right to an abortion,” Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey said. “The overturning of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood is an egregious and overtly political act that jeopardizes the health, safety, and freedom of millions of Americans. Thirteen states with ‘trigger laws’ will now impose radical and unjust bans on abortion. Criminalizing abortion won’t stop abortion, it will only make it dangerous. Congress must do its part and respond to these affronts to reproductive freedom by passing the Women’s Health and Protection Act and codifying Roe into law – even if we must abolish the filibuster to do so. I once again ask my Senate colleagues, what other judicial outrage must we endure from the illegitimate Supreme Court majority before we act? The most fundamental rights we hold dear as Americans are at stake. The right to privacy is at stake. The right to use contraception is at stake. The right to marry who you love is at stake. And with this decision, the very lives of those seeking to exercise their right to reproductive freedom are at stake. We must act now and expand the Supreme Court to bring balance to the bench and restore its legitimacy in the eyes of the American people.”

“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access,” said Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”

“We are proud of the Commonwealth’s history of ensuring access to reproductive health care, and will continue to do so, despite today’s ruling from the Supreme Court,” said Republican Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With these actions, Massachusetts is once again leading the way in protecting a woman’s right to choose.”

“We knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less painful, less enraging, or less terrifying for the tens of millions of people who stand to lose access to basic, life-saving care," Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. "Today, for the first time ever, the Court has taken away a constitutional right – a right that has been recognized for nearly half a century. But in Massachusetts and other states where abortion will remain legal and accessible, we’ll do everything we can to ensure patients from across the country can receive needed care and to support and protect our providers who are offering that care. The majority of Americans want to keep abortion safe and legal, and I’m calling on Congress to do just that by codifying Roe.”

“Today’s ruling is the dangerous culmination of Republicans’ decades-long effort to roll back women’s freedoms and control their health care decisions," Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts' 1st District said. "This is a distressing and shameful step backwards. Democrats will fight like hell to protect women’s rights.”


“Today’s Supreme Court decision drastically oversteps the constitutional right for Americans to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without government interference,” Democratic Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said. “Decisions on reproductive healthcare should only be made between a patient and their doctor without the interference of politicians. This ruling will not only result in a patchwork of unequal laws among the states, but more importantly it will result in dangerous and life-threatening situations similar to what this country witnessed countless times in the era prior to the landmark Roe case in which women died or were left severely injured because they could not access the medical care that they should have every right to access on their own. I am grateful to live in Connecticut, where our laws make it clear that women have a right to choose. As long as I am governor, reproductive rights will be protected in Connecticut and I will do everything in my power to block laws from being passed that restrict those rights.”

“In overturning Roe, the Court strips women of the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions and puts that power in the hands of the government," Democratic Connecticut US Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “A woman no longer has the right to decide when and whether to bear children. In fact, if Mitch McConnell is in charge, he’ll be leading a national ban on abortion, shredding laws in Connecticut and other states protecting women’s choice. Every American should have the right to decide whether and when to have children. Politicians do not know better than women what kind of care they need from their physicians. The government should never be allowed to dictate decisions about pregnancy that should remain between a woman and her doctor. The government should not be able to impose a forced pregnancy on anyone – especially a pregnancy that is the result of abuse or rape or threatens their life.”

“A group of unelected politicians masquerading as justices just eliminated a constitutional right that generations of women have known and relied on – the right to make decisions about their own bodies, to decide if and when to have children," Democratic Connecticut US Senator Chris Murphy said. "This is a disaster for every person in every state – even in states like Connecticut that have proactively protected the right to an abortion. And it’s only the beginning. Overturning Roe was the first step toward achieving the Republicans’ ultimate goal: a nationwide abortion ban. Today is a devastating day, and those of us who believe government should stay out of women’s health care must do everything in our power to fight back. Giving up is not an option."


“I know many Vermonters like me are deeply disappointed following today’s decision by the Supreme Court, as this decision rolls back a federal right that women have had for decades," Republican Vermont Governor Phil Scott said. "It’s Important to note, a woman’s right to choose is a principle we will uphold in Vermont, and we, in fact, have prepared for this unfortunate outcome. In 2019, I signed a law that affirmed the fundamental rights of all women and ensured reproductive health decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider. That does not change with this ruling. Additionally, in November, Vermonters will be able to further solidify this action with a constitutional amendment on the ballot. As I have said, I will be voting for that amendment, and I encourage Vermonters to stand up for the rights of women and do the same. To that end, In the coming days, I will formally provide public notice to Vermonters, as required by the Vermont Constitution and state statute, that Proposal 5, a proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution passed by the General Assembly, will appear on the November general election ballot. Further, I call on Congress to immediately work to codify the right to choose for all Americans as we have done for Vermonters."

"Overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want," Vermont Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe."

"Today will go down as a tragic day in the fight for human rights and women’s rights. Never in my lifetime has an established fundamental right been stripped away. SCOTUS has failed spectacularly in its duty to protect and uphold the constitutional precedent, Democratic Lt. Gov. Molly Gray said. "Every Vermonter and American is owed the right to reproductive liberty, and here in Vermont, we will do everything in our power to protect it. I encourage Vermonters to channel their outrage and take action by passing Proposal 5 this fall to enshrine reproductive liberty in our Vermont Constitution. At the federal level, we must codify Roe. With that precedent now officially upended, this must happen now. Vermonters will always step forward when our country steers off course. It’s time, again, for us to be a north star for the nation, to stand together and lead the way toward a safer and more just future for all.”  

"Today’s opinion from a narrow majority of the Court is not the end of abortion," Democratic Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said. "It is the end of a woman’s right to safe reproductive health care. It is the end of women’s choice. It sets us back. It does not move us forward. What message does this send to women? That their choice — that their right to govern their bodies — doesn’t matter? That politicians know better? State legislatures cannot write their way through the myriad of circumstances that can arise for women in pregnancy. These states, though, say today that they know best. The Court, today, says that those state legislatures know best. No, not the 163 million women in this country. Not a woman about her own body. Government knows best. For years I have heard Republicans in the Senate talk about limited government, about their worries that government interferes too much with our daily lives. Today, I ask them, is there any more significant interference than that of getting between a woman, or any person, and their health care choices? This is hypocrisy of the highest order. Americans come to court to find justice. To find protection under the law. Today, the Supreme Court abandons that role. I fear for what it means for the progress we have fought hard to achieve. For our more perfect union. For generations to come."

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