Politico on Monday published a draft ruling for the case examining a Mississippi law that prohibits virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The 67-page document, written by Justice Samuel Alito, determines that the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey do not have grounds in the Constitution.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court had no comment in response to questions about the report.
Democrats issued fiery reactions to the draft ruling, characterizing it as an assault on rights of women and all Americans and sounding the alarm about steps that must be taken to safeguard the nearly 50-year precedent.
In a joint statement late Monday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Politico’s report, if correct, illustrates that “the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans.”
They said the reported votes by Republican-appointed justices to overturn Roe v. Wade would be “an abomination” and “one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.”
“The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump,” the top Democratic lawmakers wrote. “Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people.”
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) — the No. 3 Senate Democrat and the chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee — said the leaked majority opinion is a “five alarm fire.”
“In a matter of days or weeks, the horrifying reality is that we could live in a country without Roe. If this is true, women will be forced to remain pregnant no matter their personal circumstances. Extreme politicians will control patients’ most personal decisions. And extreme Republicans will have eliminated a fundamental right an entire generation of women have known their whole lives,” she added.
Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) sounded a similar note, calling the reported draft ruling “devastating.”
“Overturning #Roe would create a second class of citizens & make the dystopian horrors of forced pregnancy a reality, especially for low-income women. But that is exactly the goal: to take away our rights, agency, and humanity. We will not go quietly,” she added on Twitter.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said if true, the reported majority ruling represented “a huge leap backward.”
“I hope these reports are nightmarish imaginings,” Blumenthal wrote on Twitter. “If true, this decision would be a horrific moment inflicting a huge leap backward with incalculable costs & chaos for countless women & their families.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on others to stand up and support the protection of abortion rights.
“An extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever,” Warren wrote on Twitter.
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also denounced the draft ruling the same night it was reported, writing on Twitter, “Not surprising. But still outrageous.”
“This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, & lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace,” Clinton added.
Some Democrats were quick to point fingers. In a tweet soon after Politico’s report, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blamed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for blocking the codification of Roe v. Wade by Congress.
Manchin in February sided with Senate Republicans in opposing a bill that would have codified abortion rights. The legislation fell short in a 46-48 Senate vote, despite passing through the House last year.
Manchin has also come out against filibuster reform, which would allow Democrats to pass legislation through the Senate with a simple majority.
“As we’ve warned, SCOTUS isn’t just coming for abortion – they’re coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
“Manchin is blocking Congress codifying Roe. House has seemingly forgotten about Clarence Thomas. These 2 points must change,” she added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took to Twitter to call for codifying Roe v. Wade through Congress. As of February, however, the initiative did not have the 60 votes to pass the Senate in the absence of changes to the filibuster.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes,” the former presidential candidate wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) made the same plea, writing on Twitter, “We must overcome this and codify Roe V. Wade NOW.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), however, said the next step forward following the reported majority ruling is expanding the Supreme Court.
“A stolen, illegitimate, and far-right Supreme Court majority appears set to destroy the right to abortion, an essential right which protects the health, safety, and freedom of millions of Americans. There is no other recourse. We must expand the court,” Markey wrote on Twitter.