North Jersey politicians reacted to a leaked draft majority opinion regarding written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that revolves around Mississippi’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Alito’s draft ruling would overturn a decision by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the Mississippi law ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent by seeking to effectively ban abortions before viability.
The opinion is considered a complete reversal of the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court 7-2 decision that found the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction as well as the subsequent 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that largely maintained the right.
Following are the statements and social media posts from political newsmakers in the Garden State:
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11)
“Like many Americans right now, I am shocked by the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The majority of Americans stand behind the reproductive rights enshrined in the landmark 1973 case and reversing it goes against both settled law and the will of the people.
Our founders were worried about the tyranny of the majority, but what we now face is a tyranny of the minority: the extreme right has attacked our voting rights, women’s rights, and continues work to undermine our system of democratic elections. The forthcoming partisan opinion – which includes the votes of three Trump appointed justices – carries out a decades-long attack on this constitutional right and a rollback of law that has been settled for half a century.
Many of us feared this day would come, but that does not diminish how deeply disturbed I am today as a woman, a mother, and a lawyer.
Overturning Roe threatens women’s safety and diminishes their economic future.
I will pledge, along with all Americans who value their rights and personal autonomy, to be resolute in my commitment to stand up and protect our freedoms.”
Sen. Cory Booker
“The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade – repudiating nearly half a century of legal precedent in the process – would be an outrageous attack on Americans’ most fundamental rights.
This opinion would strip people of the constitutional right to make their own medical decisions with their doctor, even in the most extreme and unthinkable circumstances, such as in the case of rape, incest, or if someone’s life is endangered by continuing a pregnancy.
In recent years Republican officeholders have accelerated their longstanding effort to control, criminalize, and dehumanize people’s most personal reproductive health decisions. Already, 13 states have laws on the books that would automatically ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. And it’s clear that Republicans in Congress are preparing to outlaw and criminalize all abortions nationwide.
Abortion is health care, and it’s the federal government’s mandate to protect people’s most fundamental rights.”
Sen. Bob Menendez
“Here we are. Every woman’s autonomy is on the line. This decision will impact all of us as Republicans weaponize this to erode more and more of our rights over time.
In this moment, I want women in NJ and across the country to know that I will never stop fighting for your right to choose.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5)
“This leaked draft opinion would devastatingly overturn a woman’s right to choose. We must oppose any attempt to get between a woman & her doctor when making personal health care choices. The House has already voted to codify Roe v Wade & it’s high time the Senate does the same.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2)
“The Supreme Court was created to be an independent, autonomous body to uphold the founding principles of our great nation. This leak is inexcusable and undermines the sovereignty of our nation’s highest court. Regardless of where an individual falls on the political spectrum, this leak compromises the integrity of the Supreme Court and diminishes the public’s trust in the judiciary’s ability to issue impartial, neutral decisions regarding the most important and controversial issues facing our nation.
Whoever leaked this draft opinion must be held accountable to the extent the law allows. This is a clear effort to inflict public backlash of a Supreme Court decision to intimidate the Justices to reverse their position. Our founding fathers made clear that the Supreme Court was to act independently, absent any political influence and absent any public influence. Our Supreme Court justices took an oath of commitment to this country to make judgments following the Constitution; not following personal beliefs. During a time where public trust in our government is diminished, the public is now forced to question their trust in our judiciary. The leak of this independent and detailed reasoning of our Justices ruling on Dobbs is an attempt to interject the public into an issue that specifically is to be decided by the great minds appointed to the Supreme Court to accurately and carefully interpret decisions in accordance with our Constitution.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9)
“A massive protest is forming in front of the Supreme Court in support of protecting women’s bodily autonomy. I’m proud our staff members are part.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-4)
“The leak of Justice Alito’s February draft opinion on Dobbs is an egregious abuse of process and trust.
That said, the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to take a powerful step towards empowering elected representatives to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. We are at the tipping point.
A new national debate on abortion has begun and fresh scrutiny must be brought to bear on how the lives of unborn children are destroyed including by dismemberment with sharp knives, pulverization by powerful suction devices, or poisoning by any number of toxic chemicals.
I join millions of Americans who are hopeful that government sanctioned violence against babies and the exploitation of women by abortion is nearing an end – although in a very real way, the struggle to defend children in the womb and offer tangible assistance to their mothers now enters a critically important new phase.”
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7)
“Americans are tired of having our lives upended. The last thing we need right now is for the Supreme Court to suddenly rip up 50 years of settled law on abortion. That’s just one reason why it would be a grave mistake for the Court to overturn Roe.
Whatever the Supreme Court does, Congress can codify Roe v Wade – as the House already has done. And we can elect members of Congress who will preserve the legal standard Americans have long lived with and overwhelmingly support. Let’s move forward, not 50 years backward.”
Rep. Albio Sires (D-8)
“Last night’s leaked draft opinion out of the Supreme Court, which strikes down Roe v. Wade and invites state lawmakers across the country to ban access to abortion, is an alarming action by the Court. Not only does this draft opinion break with nearly fifty years of precedent, it also goes against the majority of Americans’ views on abortion access. The overwhelming majority of Americans support the precedent set in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion care legal in the United States in 1973. The counter-majoritarian Supreme Court is poised to inflict its widely unpopular view on women in the United States. This country cannot backslide on a woman’s right to privacy and access to abortion. It is more urgent than ever that the Senate immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, to federally codify a woman’s right to abortion care.”
Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10)
“This absolute tragedy is the direct result of the continued radicalism of the Republican Party and its turn to the far right. Now, women across the country are in jeopardy of falling backwards to a dark past when access to a safe abortion procedure was difficult or impossible. I have always been a proud supporter of a woman’s right to choose because I know that we must trust women to make their own health care decisions rather than dictating to them.
There is a solution to this urgent problem that must happen now. Last September, I joined Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. This legislation would guarantee the legal right to an abortion for all women nationwide. The U.S. Senate must act now to pass this bill and, if necessary, Senate leaders must abolish the filibuster to allow an up or down vote to be held. There is no other action that would rise to the urgency of this moment than doing whatever it takes to pass this bill. The American people are watching and they are counting on us to act. We must not let them down.”
Gov. Phil Murphy
I want to briefly address the reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has voted to overturn the long-standing precedents of both Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and eliminate the federal protection of a woman’s reproductive freedom.
Quite frankly, while enraging, this news is hardly surprising. This is exactly why we took the step we did earlier this year in enshrining every New Jerseyan’s full reproductive rights into state law.
When I stood with lawmakers in October 2020 to introduce the Reproductive Freedom Act, it was just six days after Donald Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
It was as clear then as it is now that this Court, stacked with Trump appointees, could not be trusted to protect women’s reproductive rights.
If the Court takes this awful step, this decision will have no impact on New Jersey state law or the full right to reproductive freedom under our state law. This remains fully intact, because here in New Jersey, instead of hoping for the best, we prepared ourselves for the worst.
Throughout my governorship, I have fought for a single, basic principle: this must be a decision made between a woman and her doctor, period.
If a right-wing Supreme Court cannot recognize this simple truth, our elected officials in Washington must take matters into their own hands.
Congress must immediately pass federal legislation protecting the reproductive rights of all Americans, everywhere across this nation. If that means reforming the filibuster, then we need to reform the filibuster.
We must ensure that every American woman has the freedom that every New Jersey woman has.
And if this Congress won’t protect reproductive freedom, America needs to elect a Congress in November that will.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver
“Outraged and at a loss for words. For 49 years, women in this country have had the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. We MUST fight this!”
State Senate President Nicholas Scutari
“This is why we passed the Reproductive Freedom Act last session. The right to choose is safe and legal here in New Jersey. The impending Supreme Court decision will put this right in jeopardy for many across the country.”
State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz
I went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night to the news that we could be facing a nightmare. In New Jersey, we prepared for the possibility that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. I am grateful that Senator Loretta Weinberg championed a bill that I co-sponsored that protects a woman’s right to choose in New Jersey. But this isn’t just about us. This is about every woman in America and the future of our daughters. This pending U.S. Supreme Court decision is a step backward on our reproductive freedoms.”
State Sen. Ed Durr (R-3)
“As someone who believes in the sanctity of life, I am hopeful that Justice Alito’s draft decision proves to be the final opinion that is approved by the majority to overturn Roe v. Wade and reaffirm states’ rights when it comes to abortion. While it’s possible things can change, it seems likely the Supreme Court is on the verge of fixing a 50-year mistake. It’ll be a major victory for the pro-life community and for all those who kept faith that change would one day come.”
Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin
“I was disturbed to learn last night that the Supreme Court is prepared to take the unconscionable step of overturning a woman’s right to choose, which has stood for nearly 50 years. Such a decision would have a profoundly adverse effect on women across the nation. I remain committed to protecting access, which is why we acted to codify the right to reproductive freedom in New Jersey. As a Legislature, we will keep working to maintain confidence in a woman’s right to safe and accessible reproductive healthcare.”
NJ-7 Republican Candidate Phil Rizzo
“Roe v. Wade WILL BE overturned!”
NJ-8 Democratic Candidate Rob Menendez
“If the conservative Supreme Court majority votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, it will forever be a stain on our nation’s history.
I will ALWAYS fight to protect a woman’s right to choose. We must fight to retain the House and expand our majority in the Senate and urgently pass legislation to stop these vicious attacks on women’s health and reproductive freedom.
I thank Governor Murphy and the New Jersey legislature for passing the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act this year, codifying a woman’s right to choose into law.”
New Jersey Democratic State Chairman Leroy Jones
“This decision purportedly authored by Republican appointees on the Supreme Court would be an unprecedented – but not unexpected – assault on women and their right to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own health care. We all knew this was coming, yet we are still horrified by Republicans’ utter contempt for women and disregard for their bodily autonomy. Make no mistake, this is only the beginning. The Republican Party has gutted the Voting Rights Act and now Roe, and is coming for other rights – the right to love and marry whomever you wish, the right to contraceptives, etc. The radical agenda of the Republican right must be stopped, and there is only one way to do that: get angry, get mobilized, and get voting.
Elections have consequences, and we know this because in New Jersey, the right to an abortion was codified into New Jersey state law last year by Governor Murphy and the Democratic-majority state legislature. However, millions of women across the country will now face a far different reality. We must rise up against the tide of radical conservatism that the Republican Party now represents and vote to defeat every single GOP enabler of this agenda. Let us be clear: the Republican Party respects neither legal precedent, nor women’s rights. The only way to stop them is at the ballot box. Take your anger and make it count.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ
“To be clear: abortion is still legal in New Jersey. As of today, it remains your constitutional right, and a right that is protected in New Jersey state law.
Last night’s leak makes it clear that we are at a crisis moment for abortion access. The court seems prepared to end our nationwide, constitutional right to abortion. This outcome is as dangerous as it is unprecedented, and will open the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion. And this is not even the end goal for the anti-abortion movement: just this week, news broke that their ultimate goal is to pass a nationwide ban on abortion that would block abortion access in every state in the country.
The consequences of this impending Supreme Court decision will be swift and devastating for communities nationwide. Overturning Roe means 26 states could swiftly move to ban abortion – including 13 states with laws that could immediately go into effect. That means in half the country, people will no longer have power over their own bodies and their own lives.
In New Jersey, our right to abortion is guaranteed by the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, signed into law by Governor Murphy in January of this year. But rights without access are meaningless. There is much more to do in New Jersey to ensure that everyone – regardless of income, insurance coverage, or immigration status – can access the care they need to make their own personal decisions about their bodies and their lives.
The court, which is now dominated by justices hostile to our freedoms, has failed this country. We are devastated, we are furious, and we will fight back.
Understand that Planned Parenthood and our partners have been preparing for every possible outcome in this case and are built for the fight. Planned Parenthood health centers remain open, abortion is currently still legal, and we will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.”
Former State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg
“Expected – but still shocking – to read about the Alito draft on outlawing Roe v. Wade. NJ women are safe for the moment with our Reproductive Freedom Act. We must stand up and make our voices heard in huge numbers of votes.”