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What they’re saying about the Roe v. Wade news

The leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s take on Roe v. Wade has ignited passions around the country as it seems imminent that the right to a legal abortion in the United States will be taken away. Here’s a look at comments from politicians, columnists, professors and others on the topic.   

Alito’s draft recognizes the rights of an hour-old zygote, but not of a 12-year-old impregnated by a rapist. More precisely: Alito would authorize any state legislature to criminalize the abortion of an hour-old zygote by a 12-year-old rape victim. 

David Von Drehle, in his column, “Alito’s draft opinion would imperil far more than abortion rights.”

Washington Post

I do not know where this retraction of civil rights will end, but I do know it will go down as a milestone in a decades-long conservative campaign to force a country of 330 million people to abide by a bigoted set of ideologies. This movement seeks to rule by hollow theocracy, despite our constitutional separation of church and state. The people behind this campaign do not represent the majority of this country, and they know it, so they consistently try to undermine the democratic process.

Roxane Gay, in her column, “It’s time to rage.”

The New York Times

We say, how dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? When we look at the big picture, those who attack Roe have been clear, they want to ban abortion in every state. They want to bully anyone who seeks or provides reproductive health care. . . . When the right to privacy is attacked, anyone in our country may face a future where the government can interfere with their personal decision. Not just women. Anyone. And it has never been more clear.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Associated Press

There was nothing up for grabs about Roe v. Wade. The decision is almost 50 years old. It has summoned strong plurality support in the country since it was decided and now, in fact, has majority support. Countless people have structured their lives around it. While undercutting it to some extent, the Supreme Court itself reaffirmed it in 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. All this leaked draft opinion is, then, a naked power grab.

Barry Friedman, Dahlia Lithwick and Stephen I. Vladeck in their column, “Supreme Court leak signals the triumph of politics over the law.”

Washington Post

The sanctity of human life is all-important right up to the point when that flesh-and-bone child enters a world where programs designed to support women, the poor or households teetering toward economic ruin are being scaled back by a party that claims to be about family values.

Michelle Norris, in her column, “The GOP roars about abortion. Then they abandon the children.”

Washington Post

Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. Your faith and opinions should not oppress the lives of others. But Alito is the same man who agreed that Hobby Lobby and other Christian corporations should be able to deny their employees medical coverage on the basis of their beliefs. . . . America should not be able to hold a person hostage to their pregnancy, make one’s body a prison, and then call itself a land of liberty.

Jenee Osterheldt, in her column, “The Uterine State of America: Our lives depend on Roe v. Wade.”

Boston Globe

This decision is not just about abortion. It represents just one, albeit powerful, part of a multipronged, desperate effort by a shrinking and aging group, while they still wield power, to impose their vision of a 1950s white Christian America on an increasingly diverse nation.

Robert P. Jones, in his column, “Alito and public opinion reveal link between Roe and broader white Christian nationalist agenda.”

Religion News Service

If Roe v. Wade falls, people, mostly girls and women, will die. The conservative majority of the Supreme Court knows this. They don’t care.

Renee Graham, in her column, “This could be the unsettling of Roe v. Wade as ‘settled law.’”

Boston Globe

Our view is that nothing is achieved by criminalizing abortions or by forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to procure one in a state such as Illinois, where that right is protected. History teaches us that the number of abortions in America does not change much due to their legality or lack thereof; what changes is the health danger presented to women, both physical and mental. And the rich have always been more likely to be served than the poor. And, yes, all of that is relevant to Roe v. Wade.

Editorial: “A lousy day for the Supreme Court.”

Chicago Tribune

The system of white supremacy creates and perpetuates poverty in Black, brown, and Indigenous communities. Although Roe made abortion legal, it failed to make it accessible to communities who could not afford this basic health care procedure — or who were denied by the state from being able to use their insurance to pay. Limiting abortion access is part of the decades-old anti-abortion strategy used to terrorize Black and brown communities.

Elecia Gonzales, in her column, “Abortion restrictions are white supremacy in action.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

The best argument for legal abortion is often the real-world effect of abortion prohibitions. But by the time the backlash to such laws generates enough momentum for reform, many women’s lives will be ruined. . . . The 2016 election, which allowed Donald Trump to reshape the Supreme Court, was, among other things, a referendum on women’s equality. Women’s equality lost.

Michelle Goldberg, in her column, “An America without Roe v. Wade will be a dark place.”

The New York Times

Go down the list of contentious legal questions, and it quickly becomes clear that conservatives do not follow Alito’s approach anywhere else besides Roe. . . . The reasons Alito himself gives, in short, for singling out Roe cannot explain the decision to overrule that case. All apply equally to opinions that Alito and colleagues have embraced and enforced with vigor. . . . Indeed, what is striking about the modern Supreme Court is not so much that its members have “ardent views” but that those views reflect the immediate priorities of the Republican Party. 

Aziz Huq, in his column, “Alito’s case for overturning Roe is weak for a reason.”


It’s appalling because it doesn’t just chip a little piece off Roe v. Wade. It takes a pickax to it and in doing so, it opens up the risk of losing a whole stack of other rights that we’ve come to depend on.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

The New York Times

It’s really quite a radical decision. It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence. Every other decision based on the notion of privacy is thrown into question.

President Biden

USA Today

While most Americans have moderate views on abortion, this court is radically conservative and morally evangelical, dressed up as constitutional rigour.

Rosie DeManno, in her column, “Reversing Roe v. Wade would be an egregious assault on women’s rights.”

Toronto Star

It’s always easy to express concern about the unborn and the dead because doing so requires no actual responsibility, and it’s no surprise that many churches only ever seem to care about those groups in particular. They constantly talk about protecting fetuses and preparing for the afterlife while mostly neglecting the people who suffer as a result of their broken theology.

“The Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta, in his column, “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, conservative Christians may regret it.”


The right-wing justices and their supporters appear ready to reject one of the Founders’ core principles: that religion shall not be imposed by government edict. . . . This is not about “culture.” It is about appropriating state power to enforce theocratically driven positions. . . . Let’s call it what it really is: state-enforced theocracy, or if you prefer, religious authoritarianism.

Jennifer Rubin, in her column, “Let’s throw out the term ‘culture wars.’ This is religious tyranny.”

Washington Post

It’s important to note that the policies we’re talking about here are basically a matter of legislating the religious beliefs of just one segment of the public.

Gail Collins, in her column, “Don’t be fooled. It’s all about women and sex.” 

New York Times

The court’s coming decision to overturn Roe represents a straightforward attack on the American secular ideal. It will probably be the first of many developments, as the wall of separation crumbles and as conservative religious authority floods American life.

David Sehat, professor of history at Georgia State University.

Washington Post

The confirmation of Trump’s third Supreme Court pick, Justice Amy Coney Barrett — who some anti-choice activists believe was anointed by God to help the Supreme Court overturn Roe — could also strengthen the Religious Right’s already successful push to weaponize and redefine religious liberty in ways that weaken the Establishment Clause.

Peter Montgomery, in his column, “Overturning Roe is just the beginning.”

Right Wing Watch