In a ruling expected since a leaked draft earlier this Spring, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor of a Mississippi case that will allow individual states to ban abortions.
The 6-3 majority opinion upholds Mississippi’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, overturning a decision by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization 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 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.
How Justices Voted
The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a separate but concurring opinion. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan made up the minority opinion.
The ruling allows states to enact their own laws and restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, including in cases of rape and incest. It is estimated that about half the states in the U.S. will enact trigger laws that will now ban or severely restrict most abortions procedures based on the high court’s ruling.
The ruling will not affect the ability of New Jersey residents, as the state codified Roe v Wade earlier this year.
Following is a roundup of North Jersey lawmakers reaction to the decision:
Rep. Mikie Sherrill
“This decision is not conservative, it is radical. I had hoped against hope that the decision wouldn’t be as extreme as the leaked draft. The court is rolling back a constitutional right, out of step with the majority of our country and almost 50 years of legal precedent.
The freedom of women to control their bodies should not hinge on a state line. Women in Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma deserve the same rights as women in New Jersey. With the end of Roe, 28 states will likely take action to prohibit abortion entirely; 13 states already have trigger bans in place. Many of those bans contain no exemptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother. Lives and livelihoods of women across the country are not safe.
We are at a crisis moment in our country. I will continue to stand up against government overreach, defend reproductive freedom, and push my colleagues in the Senate to codify Roe.”
Sen. Bob Menendez
“After years of crusading, Republicans have succeeded in plunging our nation back to the dark days where women lived without bodily autonomy and access to safe reproductive care. 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.
With today’s decision, the conservative majority on the Court has thrown out nearly 50 years of precedent — jeopardizing long-established progress on civil rights, voting rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. Make no mistake, the justices who struck down Roe have callously turned their backs on women and families all across America. As a result, where a woman lives will now determine her ability to access a full range of reproductive health options. The wealthy, the powerful, and the well-connected will still have access to any and all care they choose. But lower-income women, especially of color, will not. This is more than just a healthcare issue, this is a human rights issue.
Today, I share your anger and disappointment. I share your frustration and your outrage. Tomorrow, and every day after until full reproductive health care access is fully restored, I stand ready to fight with you.”
Gov. Phil Murphy
“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.”
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24)
“The United States Supreme Court has reversed the flawed logic of Roe v. Wade and reasserted the democratic principle that elected state legislatures and the communities they represent should have the opportunity to make their own decisions on abortion without the mandates of an overbearing unelected federal judiciary. I believe in the sanctity of life. I also believe in medical science. Looking at the laws governing abortion in New Jersey, I believe we should follow the most up-to-date science when determining viability and legislate accordingly. I call on my colleagues from both parties to begin a bipartisan discussion on reforming New Jersey’s laws.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
“While we knew this was coming, it does not make it sting any less. The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. This ruling is a horrendous attack on a woman’s right to choose. This is a crisis, and we must act now to protect women’s health care.
In 2016, I ran for Congress against an anti-choice extremist with the promise that I would fight to defend the right to choose. As your Congressman, I have fought to ensure that every individual can make their own decisions about their health, and I won’t stop now.
We cannot sit idly by and watch as millions of people’s rights get ripped away. I voted to codify Roe v. Wade into law, and it’s time for the Senate to do the same. I will not stop fighting until we guarantee a woman’s right to choose.”
Frank Pallotta, the GOP candidate for the 5th Congressional District
“Voters want politicians who will be straight with them and take clear positions. I will never judge someone’s decision or situation.
I believe in the sanctity of human life. I also believe in medical science.
Advances in modern medical science expanded fetal viability even as politicians like Josh Gottheimer ignored science and pushed for laws that went in the opposite direction and essentially legalized manslaughter.
Roe v. Wade was founded on language that was nowhere in the Constitution, and it featured the usurpation of the elected legislatures’ role in determining public policy by the unelected judiciary. We now have the opportunity for real bipartisan reform on the laws that regulate abortion – and an opportunity to follow medical science in drafting those reforms.
Instead of following medical science, Congressman Gottheimer and his allies have pursued a wholly ideological agenda of more and more extreme abortion laws – including partial-birth abortion and abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth.
The Court is right to assert that ‘the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.’ Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed that Roe v. Wade was bad jurisprudence: as a Circuit Court judge, Ginsburg wrote that: ‘Roe ventured too far in the change it ordered’ – that it would have been ‘more acceptable’ to leave the broader decision up to the states.
Today, the Supreme Court did just that.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell
“A woman’s health care must be guided solely by her own decisions in private consultation with her doctor. No judges or politicians should have their hands on a woman’s bodily decisions. For the last 49 years, women in America have enjoyed these rights as settled law and today five unelected judges destroyed that precedent. Their decision will have catastrophic impacts on our nation both immediate and long-term.
This partisan decision will directly endanger the health of millions of American women, especially women of color and impoverished women. Already, at least 22 states are finalizing laws to criminalize a woman’s control of her own body. Outcomes that threaten women’s health care and would lead to criminal charges against women and medical providers are unacceptable in a civilized society. But that is precisely what will soon happen.
For decades, Republicans have packed the courts with right wing ideologues to achieve this outcome today. Terrified to eliminate Roe at the ballot box, Republicans have relied on partisan judges to do it behind closed doors. Republicans have succeeded in their sinister quest and Republicans are the cause of this decision. In lifetime seats, these so-called jurists have done something deeply opposed by most Americans. Women will die because of what the Supreme Court has done, and our national divisions will badly worsen. The House has already voted to codify Roe into hard law. The Senate should move with urgency and do whatever it takes to pass it. We must never lose our urgency to erase this decision and reverse this dark day in America.”
Billy Prempeh, Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District
“After 50+ Years Roe V. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court. This isn’t going to stop individual states from allowing abortion however. Today is a great day for humanity.”
Sen. Cory Booker
“Today the Supreme Court defied nearly a half-century of legal precedent by stripping Americans of one of their most fundamental freedoms: the right to decide what happens to their own body.
Overturning Roe v. Wade will harm countless Americans, particularly those facing the most unthinkable of circumstances, such as in the case of rape, incest, or if someone’s life is put in danger by forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term. In no uncertain terms, the Supreme Court today told Americans they have no right to make their own healthcare decisions.
This radical decision is the result of a decades-long assault waged by Republicans to undermine Americans’ constitutional rights. That assault will only accelerate in the weeks and months ahead. More than half of American states are certain or likely to ban abortion with Roe v. Wade overturned; 13 of them already have laws that immediately ban abortion with a decision overturning Roe. And we know that congressional Republicans will move forward with legislation to ban abortion nationwide if given the opportunity.
Today’s decision must also be the beginning of a new fight. The lives of countless people are now endangered. It is now up to us to deliver on efforts to protect Americans’ most basic and fundamental rights. And we will never give up until the cause of freedom is again won.”
Rep. Tom Malinowski
“The Supreme Court has made a radical decision to upend 50 years of settled law that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe should remain in place.
This decision now allows states across the country to mandate pregnancies for victims of rape and incest, and to punish women for crossing state lines to seeking necessary health care. In much of the country, women and their doctors will face criminal prosecution for abortion services, in some cases from the moment of conception, and even when a woman’s life is at risk. We will once again be living in a time when women risked their lives to obtain underground abortions.
Fortunately in New Jersey, our legislature passed and Governor Murphy signed a law codifying Roe v. Wade earlier this year. But our daughters, sisters, loved ones and dear friends living, working, and studying in other states will now be at risk. And our law in New Jersey would be eviscerated if a future Republican majority in Congress passes a nationwide abortion ban – which Republicans tried to do repeatedly when they were in the majority before, and have already told us they will try to do again.
That raises the stakes in this election exponentially. I support Roe v. Wade and will do everything in my power to enshrine it into federal law. We must expand the majority in both Houses of Congress willing to do the same.
New Jersey law may still protect a woman’s right to choose. But America is one country. How many of us have daughters, sisters, loved ones and dear friends living, working, or studying in states where women and doctors will now be treated as criminals for seeking an abortion?
Moreover, Republicans have told us that if they regain their Congressional majority, they will try to pass a nationwide abortion ban, which would overturn our New Jersey law. There can be no doubt any more that they mean what they say.
I support Roe v. Wade, and will keep working to enshrine it into law. My opponent Tom Kean Jr. voted against codifying Roe in New Jersey, and would help bring about a House GOP majority that will pass a nationwide ban. The stakes in this election could not be more clear.”
Tom Kean Jr, the GOP candidate for the 7th Congressional District, has not released a press statement or a posting on social media
Rep. Albio Sires
“Never before has the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right then taken it away. Never before has a generation of women lost a right their mothers enjoyed. Today’s Court majority has betrayed this country’s women and stripped them of their vital right of bodily autonomy. Their opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has overturned the constitutional right to abortion which was set in Roe v. Wade (1973) and later upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Fifty years of legal precedent have been forced aside based on the extreme political beliefs of six Supreme Court Justices.
This case fundamentally changes our nation in a way I never thought I would see. It leaves millions of women without dignity, without control over their own bodies, their futures, or their families. Trigger laws are going into effect in many Republican-controlled states banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest. While denying bodily autonomy and mandating women carry pregnancies, these states are also cutting funding for services for poor families, nutrition assistance for children, and access to health care and contraception. This is not pro-life.
Far from clarifying this highly personal issue for many individuals, this decision has ignited chaos across the country. Today, women woke up in a modern society with the right to make decisions about their own bodies and many will go to sleep governed by laws from as far back as 1846. Importantly for women in New Jersey, abortion remains protected, legal, and safe. Congress needs to federally protect the right to abortion so that all women in America have access to care like those in New Jersey.
This decision will be remembered as a stain on the Court, a disgrace to the Court, and a defilement to its legacy.”
Rob Menendez, Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District
“While today’s decision by the Supreme Court was expected, it does not dull the disappointment nor concern that I, like so many Americans, have for our country and for the reproductive choices of all Americans. Let’s be extremely clear: the Court’s decision represents the theft of a right that women have had for half a century to bodily autonomy and the right to make decisions about their own lives and futures.
Today’s ruling will not prevent abortions from occurring in states that ban them, but will prevent access to safe abortions by licensed providers. Instead of providing women with greater access to healthcare and reproductive choice, too many women in our country will be forced between carrying a pregnancy to full term or seeking alternatives that put their health at risk.
While in New Jersey Governor Murphy and the Legislature have provided women the security and safety they are owed by codifying the right to choose earlier this year, it is clear that we will need to fight harder than we ever have before to do the same on the national level.
The House and Senate must act urgently to pass legislation to ensure that abortions remain accessible to those seeking them across our country- and, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I pledge to put all my efforts into this fight.
In our strive towards a fairer, more equitable future, today’s decision by a conservative, unelected, hypocritical majority of the Supreme Court is a devastating step backwards and one that we cannot – and will not – stand for. I pledge to be in this fight for however long it takes to ensure women once again have the reproductive freedoms they so rightly deserve. We cannot – and will not – accept anything less.”
Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.
“This is a tragic day in America. Today, the Supreme Court has decided that women do not have the right to determine their reproductive health care choices and that state legislatures should have control over women’s bodies. Clearly, Supreme Court decisions are no longer based on the Constitution nor on legal precedent. Instead, this is another horrible example of a court that represents the radical right-wing agenda of the modern Republican Party. These policies are rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Yet, the Republican Party and radical right are determined to increase their power and eliminate the rights Americans have fought to gain for decades. Now, women across the country could return 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.
Now, the Senate must stand up for Americans and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. This legislation would guarantee women the legal right to their own reproductive health choices, including abortions. If necessary, Senate leaders must abolish the filibuster to allow an up or down vote to be held and establish women’s reproductive rights into federal law. American women should have the right to determine their health care choices and not state legislatures. 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 depend on Congress to protect their rights. We must not let them down.”
New Jersey Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones
“This decision is an unprecedented assault on women and their right to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own health care, and it once again proves Republicans’ utter contempt for women in this country. The Republican Party and its agents on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, weakened gun safety laws that are proven to keep communities safe, and have now destroyed 50 years of legal precedent in overturning Roe — all in the service of forcing their extreme conservative agenda on an American public that absolutely does not support it.
At this tenuous moment in our nation’s history, it’s impossible not to question the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and its ability to serve its constitutional function. Minority rule cannot continue to be imposed on an American society that wants to move forward into a better future, not be pulled backwards by a radical court that is completely out of touch with the will of the people.
Let’s be clear – this is not just about Roe. This is about Republicans seeking to create a Christian theocracy at all levels of government and upending our democracy. Justice Thomas proved that in his concurring opinion, where he disgustingly signaled that rulings protecting same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage, and the right to contraception should be next on the Court’s chopping block.
While we can be thankful that the right to an abortion was codified into New Jersey state law last year by Governor Murphy and the Democratic-majority state legislature, millions of women across the country will now face a far different reality. We must collectively rise up against this tide of radical conservatism and vote to defeat every single enabler of this destructive agenda.”
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin
“First and foremost, we are committed to ensuring that access to reproductive health care services remains legal, safe and accessible here in New Jersey.
Overturning Roe v. Wade with today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, Trump’s conservative majority has undone decades of advocacy and legal precedent to empower state laws that are already taking their toll on countless women and families. Thankfully, New Jersey proactively codified Roe v. Wade in January.
Standing by reproductive rights and a woman’s right to make decisions for herself, we will carefully evaluate the Court’s decision and any possible impact on New Jersey. We are nevertheless left appalled by this majority of right-wing extremist Justices and wholeheartedly support a woman’s right to choose.”
State Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (R-29) State Sens. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Nellie Pou (D-35)
“There are no words that can capture the profound depth of sadness, disappointment and betrayal that women throughout our country feel today. We cannot and will not go back on a woman’s right to choose and we remain deeply concerned with how this ruling may signal the further erosion of rights related to access to contraceptives and gay marriage.
In one decision, the Supreme Court has put the health and lives of our daughters, sisters and mothers in jeopardy. New Jersey already put strong protections in place ahead of this decision, and we will take all the necessary steps to safeguard providers and preserve the right to choose here in the state. Everyone deserves the right to access reproductive health care, whether that is in the form of birth control, IVF or abortion. We will continue to fight for the fundamental human right of bodily autonomy for all women. Today our thoughts are with all those living in states poised to ban abortion.”
Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31)
“It’s heartbreaking to see our country moving backwards. Today, millions of women across the country have lost the right to make vital decisions about their bodies and reproductive health. I fear for these women and the state of our democracy as other long-established rights may be stolen away by the Court’s disregard for precedent.
“Nobody should tell a woman what to do with her body, especially when it comes to reproductive health. These are deeply personal, difficult decisions that are not made lightly, and it’s shameful that we’re still debating this issue. I’m proud that, earlier this year, we took steps to codify a woman’s right to choose in state law, ensuring New Jersey will always be a place where the right to reproductive freedom is protected.”