On May 3, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty and members of the Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement on the draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that eliminates the constitutional right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade:
“If, in fact, this opinion is issued, it will fundamentally change us as a nation. Overturning Roe v. Wade will have disproportionately devastating impacts on communities of color, marginalized groups already facing discriminatory obstacles to health care, and will resonate globally. Elections have consequences,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty.
“To the women of America, I speak directly to you: Your right to make personal health care decisions is still the law of the land. And while this opinion marks an unprecedented attack on our womanhood, the Congressional Black Caucus will continue fighting to protect every woman’s bodily autonomy. It is time to abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. It is critical in this moment to remember the human tragedy of this decision. A woman’s right to govern her body is a fundamental human right, which must be enshrined in law.”
“The radical right stole two seats on the Supreme Court. And now the so-called majority apparently plans to rob women of their long-held reproductive freedom,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “We will not go backward.”
“Today the women of this country have gotten the first view of a leaked document from the Supreme Court, that basically describes the destruction of Roe V Wade. Is there any doubt that this majority right-wing Supreme Court is poised to finalize a decision that will be devastating to poor women, and minority women in particular? This decision is closer to finalization than not. Despite the pending decision, women must fight with every breath of life, to resist, resist, resist,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.
“Access to abortions is essential. While this draft decision is not final, it is a devastating attack on women’s rights. Overturning Roe and Casey will be detrimental and disproportionately harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities already facing systemic discrimination,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Commitee. “We have seen State legislatures across the nation pass draconian laws infringing on people’s bodily autonomy. Banning abortions will not stop abortions. It will only prevent people from accessing abortion care within our healthcare system and force them to seek other alternatives. We must fight to ensure that all have the right to reproductive freedom.”
“We all knew the odds, but it is nonetheless shocking to see a Court move towards overturning 50 years of precedent in a stunning revocation of our right to have an abortion,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. “If accurate, this decision will deal a shattering blow to millions, especially low-income people and women of color. Every American should have the right to make their own personal health care decisions that impact their lives, health and futures. It is chilling to think this court is unwilling to protect those rights. But just as important: this is NOT an official ruling. Abortion is still legal. Now more than ever, the U.S. Senate must preemptively codify Roe into federal law by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Lives depend on it.”
“In my nearly 30 years in Congress, I have watched Roe and Casey endure waves of coordinated, direct attacks on their legality,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. “And today, it appears that the same court that established the right to an abortion as precedent is poised to senselessly strip it away. Let me be clear: the right to have an abortion is fundamental, and the decision to have one should remain solely between a woman and her physician. It is important to note that this reported decision is only a draft, which means abortion is still legal right now. But it is equally as important to note that an official decision is likely imminent, which means we’re running out of time to act. The House has done its part to codify the protections offered by Roe by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. The Senate must now take up this bill immediately and send it to President Biden’s desk.”
“This apparent draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade represents the most disastrous and significant setback in access to abortion care this nation has seen in 50 years. This draconian ruling would strip away a woman’s freedom to her own choices—about her healthcare, her body, and her agency—and undercuts what has not only been established law for half a century, but a precedent rooted in basic principles of justice and personal liberty,” said Congressman David Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. “Should this ruling be finalized, I am disheartened that our grandchildren must face the same battles of two generations past. Now, we must do everything in our power to stand up for women’s healthcare and fight for their equal treatment under the law. We must enshrine abortion rights into law.”
“Every woman, regardless of her background or socioeconomic status, deserves the right to make her own medical decisions. That is why I was proud to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act last fall to protect reproductive rights at the federal level. These reports make it abundantly clear why the Senate must immediately pass that bill and send it to President Biden’s desk, “ said Congressman Bobby Scott, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee (VA-03).
“I am deeply troubled by reports that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming months,” said Congressional Black Caucus First Vice Chair Congressman Steven Horsford. “While this decision is not final, it would be an outrageous break with 50 years of precedent. Nevadans voted to enshrine protections in our state Constitution that safeguard a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion by an overwhelming margin in 1990. But without federal protections, many states will deny women this right. We cannot allow that to happen. That’s why I will continue advocating for a woman’s right to choose in Congress. The Senate must act to get the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act to the President for his signature immediately.”
“This is gut wrenching. From this draft opinion, a majority of the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade and rip up 50 years of precedent and women’s rights,” said Congressional Black Caucus 2nd Vice Chair and Co-Chair of the Democratic Womens’ Caucus Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. “I can’t stress enough the dangerous effect this will have on women and families across the country. We are already seeing states pass abortion bans to restrict reproductive freedom.
And this opinion will only speed that process up. Let me be clear: abortion bans don’t ban abortions, they just ban safe abortions. Those cheering this on do not live in reality. It sends a message that you don’t believe that women should have autonomy over their own bodies or that you don’t trust us to make our own health care decisions. Furthermore, the United States has a maternal mortality crisis, and it disproportionately affects Black women and other women of color. Striking down Roe v. Wade would cause maternal mortality to skyrocket.
While this news is devastating, we cannot give up this fight. In September 2021, the House voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which would codify the vital protections in Roe v. Wade. It’s time for the Senate to act now to pass this much-needed legislation. We don’t have to wait for the Supreme Court to issue its final ruling, and we cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Too many lives are at stake. In the meantime, remember: this is a draft opinion, abortion remains legal, and it is still a right.”
“Motherhood is a gift to many women, including myself; but it should never be involuntary. Forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term deprives us of our autonomy and equality,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “This draft opinion is terrifying, and confirms what we already knew: that this extreme Supreme Court is hostile to women. Just as important, however, is that abortion is still legal, it’s still a right, and it’s still available in the United States. No matter what, I will continue to fight to make our right to choose the law of the land.”
“Overturning Roe v. Wade will set women’s rights back generations. The impact of this unjust decision will be felt especially by Black women, low-income women, and rural communities. We must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act into law,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.
“This is not to mention the United States’ shameful maternal mortality rate and inequitable access to care. We must codify the right to a safe abortion for women in every single state. I will continue the fight to ensure women’s access to healthcare, including abortion.”
“Black and brown folks have been sounding the alarms for years and none of it was hyperbole. Our fundamental right to abortion care is under attack, and the draft majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade shows that the stakes could not be higher. We must be clear: abortion care is still legal in America, but Congress must legislate to protect this fundamental human right and codify it into law,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce of the Pro-Choice Caucus. “We know that our most vulnerable communities will bear the disproportionate brunt of any decision restrict and deny access to abortion care — particularly Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+ and low-income people. We must legislate as if our lives depend on it, because they do. The Senate must move with urgency to abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act without delay.”
“The horrifying draft SCOTUS opinion would not only end the constitutional right to abortion but threaten other constitutional rights,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. “It’s also a unique threat to DC women. A Republican Congress could ban abortion in DC.”
“The draft opinion by the Supreme Court is a devastating blow to women’s reproductive rights,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell. “A woman’s personal health care decisions should be made between her and her doctor. The Senate must immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure that women everywhere can access a full range of reproductive health care services.”