Women in Congress
The leaders of the Democratic Women’s Caucus in the House, including Co-Chairs Lois Frankel of Florida, Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Jackie Speier of California and Whip Nikema Williams of Georgia, said the ruling would “go down in history as one of (the court’s) worst, most unjust decisions.”
“Women are not chattel, and the government should not have the right to mandate pregnancies,” they said in a statement. “Every situation and pregnancy is different, and all people deserve the freedom to control their bodies and make personal decisions about their lives and futures. We will never give up the fight for access to full health care.”
In her own tweet, Williams noted her decade-long employment with Planned Parenthood before coming to Congress that gave her a closer look at the consequences of restricting abortion access.
“I’ve seen the pain and devastation that comes when states eliminate equal access to legal, safe abortions,” she said. “The Supreme Court’s radical majority hasn’t just opened the door to that, it’s welcoming it with open arms.”
Schumer blames Senate GOP
Several Democrats blamed Senate Republicans for the Supreme Court’s conservative makeup and called for action in the chamber to protect abortion rights on the federal level.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement the ruling made Friday “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen” and called Senate Republicans “complicit in today’s decision and all of its consequences for women and families.”
Schumer urged voters to remember the court’s decision in November.
“Today’s decision makes crystal clear the contrast as we approach the November elections,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
“Elect more MAGA Republicans if you want nationwide abortion bans, the jailing of women and doctors and no exemptions for rape or incest. Or, elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe and protect a woman’s right to make their own decisions about their body, not politicians.”’
Biden also called for Congress to act and for voters to choose candidates in November who support abortion rights.
Ohio’s Tim Ryan, a Democratic House member running for the Senate, sought campaign contributions immediately after the ruling was released.
“I proudly voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House, only to watch it die in the Senate,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s clear the Senate is not working and women will pay the price unless we act. Make a donation to help us defeat my anti-choice opponent, JD Vance.”
Senate Judiciary ranking Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa celebrated the ruling, which he said protected “the rights of the unborn.” The ruling was well-reasoned in its overturning of judicial precedent — an action the high court has taken before, he noted.
“For many Americans, including myself, this decision is about far more than correcting a flawed legal analysis in Roe,” he said in a written statement. “It means that the rights of the unborn are no longer in jeopardy by our federal government. Our nation was founded on the fundamental principle we are endowed by our creator with the unalienable right to life — a right that must be protected.
“This ruling does not ban the practice of abortion but instead empowers the people, through their accountable elected representatives to make commonsense policy decisions. It takes policymaking out of the hands of unelected judges.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, a longtime champion of the religious right, called for state abortion bans in every state.
“Having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land,” he posted on Twitter.
Manchin, Collins blast Trump justices
But the court’s move Friday to directly contradict established precedent — especially by justices who’d explicitly identified Roe as settled during their confirmation hearings — opened it to criticism.
Even the most conservative member of Schumer’s caucus, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III, said Friday he was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling.
Manchin, who considers himself pro-life and voted for two of former President Donald Trump’s nominees to the court, criticized those justices Friday for breaking with what they’d said in confirmation hearings.
“I trusted Justice (Neil) Gorsuch and Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans,” Manchin said in a written statement.
Collins expressed displeasure with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh in a statement that slammed the decision for casting abortion policy into upheaval.
“This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show both consistency and restraint. Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government.
“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon.”
Manchin and fellow “pro-life Democrat” Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania blasted the decision for overturning established law.
“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,” Casey, whose father, as the commonwealth’s governor, challenged Roe in another of the cases the court overturned Friday, tweeted.
“This dangerous ruling won’t end abortions in this country, but it will put women’s lives at risk,” he added.
Senate fight to come?
With abortion rights no longer guaranteed by the judicial branch, many Democrats on Friday appealed for passage of legislation to protect abortion rights, including a House-passed measure that has stalled under the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.
“The Senate must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act,” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said in a statement. “Republican obstruction and abuse of the filibuster is not an acceptable excuse for inaction when the fundamental rights of millions hang in the balance.”
Collins’ statement promoted her own bill with Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski that she said would codify the protections in Roe. She was also working with Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine on a bipartisan bill, she said.
Abortion rights should be consistent nationally, Collins said, though states should be allowed to make minor policy adjustments.
“Our goal with this legislation is to do what the Court should have done — provide the consistency in our abortion laws that Americans have relied upon for 50 years,” she said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, promised the panel would hold a hearing next month to explore the “grim reality” of the decision’s consequences.
“I will keep fighting to enshrine into law a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices,” Durbin said. “We cannot let our children inherit a nation that is less free and more dangerous than the one their parents grew up in.”
Durbin spoke with Vice President Kamala Harris about the ruling as the two traveled on Air Force Two Friday morning, according to a pool report.
Ariana Figueroa and Georgia Recorder Deputy Editor Jill Nolin contributed to this report.