The U.S. Supreme Court has reportedly voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that Politico obtained.
The 98-page draft opinion overturns the 1973 decision that guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decisionPlanned Parenthood v. Caseythat largely maintained the right. "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Alito writes.
Needless to say, this revelation will send shock waves throughout the legal landscape and also generated many reactions here in Illinois (with agreement/disagreement happening largely along party lines).
Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker was quick to tweet, "Hell no!" in response to the news about the leaked opinion, according to CBS News. Pritzker added, "In Illinois, we trust women. We cannot let their most profound and personal rights be violated."
Appearing on CNN, Pritzker also said, "Illinois is already an island in the Midwest that protects women and protects minority rights, but we've seen thousands of women here who have been left with no other choice but to cross state lines to Illinois to exercise those rights.
Illinois is one of the few states that protects abortion rights, codifying the process even if the U.S. Supreme Court bans it.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement saying, in part, "Make no mistake: This decision will reverse the gains that women have made in the workplace and in every other aspect of their lives since the Court first decided Roe. Also, the architects of this destruction will not stop at a woman's right to choose. The Court's draft opinion will establish a precedent for gutting the legal underpinnings used to protect against gender-based discrimination overall including women's rights, trans rights, immigrant rights, and of course, the right to same-sex and interracial marriage. This decision truly epitomizes the dangers that exist at the intersection of racism and sexism.
"This Court truly does not care about settled legal precedent or its legitimacy as an independent body. The zeal with which Alito writes on behalf of the majority about the end of Roe leaves no doubt that the right-wing majority cares more about politics than the law. For shame."
"This is utterly shameful but we can stop it. The Senate MUST end the filibuster and codify Roe," U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) tweeted, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
Ald. Pat Dowell (who is also running for Congress) said in a separate statement, "As a mother, I know the tough choices women make every day for their families. I believe healthcare decisions should be made between a medical provider and their patient. And I believe in the right to privacy codified in the Fourth Amendment. For all of these reasons, I am proudly pro-choice."
Another congressional candidate, gun-violence prevention advocate Kina Collins, said, "This news is gutting. This isn't a legal opinionit's a declaration of war. This is a violent, coordinated right-wing assault on our abortion rights.
"We have done everything we possibly can to protect ourselves. We showed up. We voted. We protested. But we still face this devastating, horrifying reality. Millions of people will suffer because of the decision of a handful of appointed justices."
Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Jennifer Welch said, "Planned Parenthood of Illinois is furious that the Supreme Court is prepared to ignore half a century of settled law and end the constitutional right to an abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. But it's also not a surprise. We have been preparing for this decision for years, and we will continue to ensure that every patient, no matter where they live, has access to the health care they need and deserve.
"We are proud to say that abortion is still safe and legal in Illinois.
Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove talked about taking action: "Pro-choice voters in Illinois cannot allow Illinois' richest person and right-wing super donor, Ken Griffin, to buy the 2022 elections with his hand-picked anti-choice extremist candidates for the Illinois Supreme Court, governor, attorney general and Illinois General Assembly.
"Personal PAC will make certain every pro-choice voter in Illinois will know the truth about these anti-democracy, right-wing candidates who will stop at nothing to rob women of their basic human right to make their own personal decisions about abortion and birth control. There are 22 bills sitting in the Illinois General Assembly today, and pending Illinois court challenges by anti-choice leaders, that would return Illinois to the darkest days of life-threatening illegal abortion, all just waiting for one bad election result. We must ensure 2022 is not that election."
A person familiar with the court's deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justicesClarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barretthad voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December, and that the contingent remains the same, per Politico. The three Democrat-appointed justicesStephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kaganare working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote is unclear.
Equality Illinois Deputy Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco issued the following statement:
Equality Illinois condemns the US Supreme Court's draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the federal right to abortions, thereby threatening access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare in most of the United States. This decision is violence against all people who need affordable, accessible, and affirming reproductive healthcare; especially trans and gender-expansive people, people of color, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty.
The Court's draft decision threatens people's legal right to control their bodies and determine the course of their most intimate personal relationships. Make no mistake: LGBTQ+ rights are in the crosshairs next. The same people who have championed the legal campaign to this draft opinion have already signaled their intent to build off an opinion like this to take away our employment protections, our right to marry legally, and even our right to form intimate relationships free from criminalization.
It has always been time for action, but especially now. Our rights are under attack. We must show up and fight back in the streets and with our vote. We call on our LGBTQ+ communities across the state to activate and ensure our voices are heard.
Our federal elected officials must codify the fundamental right to an abortion into federal law. The United States House of Representatives already acted on the legislation last year. The United States Senate must act immediately.
In Illinois, reproductive healthcare, including abortion, is a fundamental right, thanks to the legislators and advocates who passed the Reproductive Health Act in 2019. However, our Illinois laws would be wiped away if anti-choice and anti-equality politicians take power in Washington, D.C. and adopted a national abortion ban, which is their stated goal. Thus, our state laws hinge on who is elected to the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois General Assembly, and Governor's Office at the November 2022 general election.