The Supreme Court's conservative majority ended constitutional protections for women Friday that had been in place for nearly 50 years by overturning Roe v. Wade.
Friday's outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, including Texas.
The decision was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.
The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this landmark step of removing a constitutional protection from American women.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
Reaction to the high court's opinion has been swift. A sampling from Texas notables is below.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans. For more than a month, we’ve known this day was coming—but that doesn’t make it any less devastating. Here are my thoughts from when we first saw the draft ruling.
FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Today’s decision, which is the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation, along with other decisions that have been announced recently, were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. It was my great honor to do so! I did not cave to the Radical Left Democrats, their partners in the Fake News Media, or the RINOs who are likewise the true, but silent, enemy of the people. These major Victories prove that even though the Radical Left is doing everything in their power to destroy our Country, your Rights are being protected, the Country is being defended, and there is still hope and time to Save America! I will never stop fighting for the Great People of our Nation!
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
Today’s opinion by the Supreme Court on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is wrong on the merits, wrong for women and their ability to make their own healthcare decisions, and wrong for what it means for the future of our country. This decision puts partisanship ahead of precedent, ideology ahead of evidence, and the power of a small minority ahead of the clear will of the people. This jarring removal of rights that had long been guaranteed, along with decisions gutting the Voting Rights Act and abolishing any judicial remedy for admittedly unconstitutional gerrymandering by state legislatures and abuses of power by federal authorities, has put our democracy at risk in the hands of a radical, activist Court. We all must urge lawmakers at both the state and federal level to pass legislation that will guarantee a woman’s right to choice in her reproductive care. And we must vote in every election for leaders who will defend, not deny, our cherished rights and liberties, and confirm judges who will put their duty to uphold the Constitution ahead of their ideology, partisanship, and obsession to control.
Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors. Today’s Supreme Court opinion will live in infamy as a step backward for women's rights and human rights.
BISHOP EDWARD BURNS, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF DALLAS
Recognizing both the laws of nature and God’s divine plan, we acknowledge that life begins at the moment of conception. At that moment of conception, the child has the right to be born, the child has the right to life. Since 1973, we have prayed and marched for the right to life. We are grateful that this day has come and give thanks to God for the gift of life. Let us continue to pray that all will come to acknowledge this sacred right to life. The Catholic Diocese of Dallas will continue offering support for women in need through the efforts of the Catholic Pro-Life Community, Catholic Charities Dallas, crisis pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and other pro-life organizations within our Diocese. We will also continue offering support through our three crisis phone lines (1-800-BABY-DUE, 214-557-5286, or 972-BABY-DUE) and we look forward to the opportunity to grow together in our goal to continue to offer as much additional support as possible to mothers in need and encourage them to make use of these resources. Let us now all join together in prayer asking God our Heavenly Father to bless our country with peace and help us seek understanding for one another and respect for life during this time.
REV. DR. NEIL G. THOMAS, SR. PASTOR, CATHEDRAL OF HOPE
This is a catastrophic day for America. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, sets civil rights in our nation back at least three generations. With this ruling, it is clear that the Supreme Court of the United States intends to limit human rights that Americans have counted on and puts at great risk rights of privacy for contraception, same-sex relationships, and gay marriage. The right of women to choose what they can do with their bodies has been a fundamental human right for almost fifty years. This majority opinion from the Supreme Court rips away that right, and the United States stands poised to join the company of a few countries where democracy has been faltering, like Poland and El Salvador, in enacting new restrictions on abortion. This opinion is part of a rising tide of increasingly authoritarian actions around the world and signals a disturbing disregard of established legal precedents on which people in this country have relied to protect all our human rights. The opinion is a very dangerous direction for everyone in the United States and a frightening signal to authoritarians around the world that they can strip long-established rights from their citizens. And in a separate opinion on the case, Justice Clarence Thomas has voiced his strong opinion that the Court should consider abrogating other rights based on the 14th Amendment's rubric of privacy that Americans count on--from the right to contraception to marriage equality. All of us should be very, very afraid for the dark days ahead. That said, we must fight through the courts and through our legislatures. We must work together to register every person of legal voting age. We must not rest until we have leaders and judges elected or appointed who will uphold civil rights for all. Our faith tells us that pessimism and hopelessness is the tool of the oppressor. As such, we must fight against all forms of prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Today, we grieve and pray. Tomorrow, we get to work. We must--and we will.
JEFFREY HONS, PRESIDENT & CEO PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court erased nearly 50 years of history and its responsibility to uphold legal precedent. This deplorable ruling by the Court’s conservative majority strips Americans of their constitutional rights and further erodes abortion access in Texas. This dangerous outcome opens the floodgates for more states across the country to ban abortion. “Texans know all too well the reality of living in a post-Roe world. For more than nine months under S.B 8, Texans have been denied access to abortion in their own state and have been forced to continue a pregnancy, seek abortion outside the health care system, or travel hundreds or even thousands of miles if they can secure the funds, time off from work, child care, and transportation needed to access abortion out of state. Providers have been forced to turn away patients. It’s heartbreaking and completely preventable. “Forcing someone to continue a pregnancy against their will is a grave violation of human rights and dignity. All Americans deserve to live under a rule of law that respects their bodily autonomy and reproductive decisions. Let’s be clear: today’s ruling and its unraveling of Roe v. Wade will not end the need for abortion. This decision will have damaging effects for generations. And we know the impacts of this decision will fall hardest on the communities who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care—particularly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, LGBTQ+ people, undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet.“ The fate of Roe is not the fate of Planned Parenthood. Today our doors are open and they will remain open to serve Texans who need access to essential reproductive health care. Our priority will remain restoring and expanding access to that care, including abortion, for all Texans.”
CATHOLIC PRO-LIFE COMMUNITY
The Catholic Pro-Life Community, the Respect Life Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Mississippi’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health that upheld the constitutionality of a pre-viability abortion ban. Today’s decision overturns the 1973 ruling on Roe vs. Wade, which made abortion legal throughout the nation. Since then, states have passed laws anticipating the day when Roe would be reversed. Today is that day!In the majority opinion, the Supreme Court states, ”There is nothing in the Constitution about abortion, and the Constitution does not implicitly protect the right.” The justices also assert that “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives." “This is a momentous day for life,” said Geralyn Kaminsky, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Community. “This decision corrects an egregious wrong and returns authority over abortion laws back to individual states. We are so proud of our lawmakers who have led the way in making Texas a pro-life state, But our work is not done yet, far from it. We have a responsibility to walk with moms who believed that abortion was their only option, and we will walk with them until they can walk on their own! ”For almost 30 years, the CPLC has supported moms in crisis and assisted them financially, spiritually, and emotionally through its Project Gabriel Ministry. “There are countless resources available to moms and families throughout our community and our country,” said Kaminsky. “We meet moms where they are in their situation and provide the assistance they need to choose life and save their child. The CPLC partners with pregnancy resource centers, food banks, maternity homes, medical doctors, and private donors, as well as a host of other resources that enable us to provide necessary assistance that will put a pregnant or parenting mom in better circumstances to love and care for her child.”
WENDY CHUN-HOOD, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WOMEN'S BUREAU DIRECTOR
“The right to reproductive freedom – which includes the right to access legal abortion services – is fundamental to women’s autonomy, health outcomes and economic security. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau is the only federal agency authorized by Congress to represent the needs and interests of working women. As such, the Women’s Bureau is uniquely positioned to safeguard the needs of working women and advocate for their equality, which includes access to safe reproductive health options such as abortion, contraception and comprehensive maternity care. “Today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will allow states to ban or significantly restrict access to abortion immediately, often without any exceptions. This means women will lose access to safe, reliable and accessible reproductive medical care. It is an outcome that will have a catastrophic impact on women’s employment and economic security. “Research has shown – repeatedly and consistently – that reproductive autonomy is linked directly to a woman’s ability to get an education, participate in the labor force and increase their earning potential. It has also helped to narrow the gender wage gap. “For more than 100 years, the Women’s Bureau has been committed to advancing the status of working women. Today that means an explicit acknowledgment that access to abortion and all other personal reproductive choices is an issue of health and personal liberty as well as an economic issue that determines the welfare of working women.”
MARTY WALSH, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR
“The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned decades of constitutional precedent, now allowing states to ban or significantly restrict access to abortion. This decision means that women across the country will lose access to necessary reproductive medical care. “Reproductive autonomy directly supports women’s ability to get an education, participate in the labor force, and increase their earning potential and it has helped to narrow the gender wage gap. Losing the right to reproductive freedom will have a catastrophic impact on women’s employment and economic security.“ Access to abortion and all other personal reproductive choices is not only an issue of health and personal liberty, but also squarely an economic issue that determines the welfare of working women and their families. The Department of Labor will work to advance our mission by empowering women using every tool we have.”
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL
“Today's decision is a major step backward for public health. Reproductive health decisions – like all health decisions – should be made by patients and their health care providers. “Restricting these decisions compromises the essential principle of maintaining an individual’s autonomy and control over their health decisions and creates dangerous health risks. When reproductive health decisions are restricted, the number of unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions rises. Ultimately, the health of women and pregnant people is put at risk – an effect that will be felt disproportionately in historically marginalized populations, including communities of color, low-income Americans, and rural residents. Health care providers, who are already under extraordinary strains due to the pandemic, will be forced into an impossible choice between doing what's right for their patients and complying with laws that are at odds with their patient's health interests.“ While some states have already taken action to preserve reproductive health rights, in many others, today’s decision means that the reproductive health protections many Americans have relied on have now already disappeared or will soon be gone. “As Surgeon General and as a doctor, I know that equitable access to reproductive health services is a cornerstone for health, and I will do everything I can to speak up for and support women’s right to make their own decisions about their health.”
GARY FLOYD, MD, PRESIDENT, TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
"TMA remains committed to protecting the privacy and sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. TMA is unwavering in its stance against intrusions by government or other third parties that impede the patient-physician relationship, and any criminalization of acceptable and appropriate medical practices that may jeopardize that relationship or patients' safety. Especially in high-risk situations, patients need to know their physicians will be there to care for them, and TMA will continue to work with state lawmakers to ensure a safe practice environment for physicians and their patients."