(WJHL) — The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a 50-year-old landmark decision that protected women’s decision to have an abortion.
East Tennessee Republican lawmakers voiced overwhelming support for the overturn; however, a handful of Democratic leaders in the state challenged the highest court’s ruling — including one in East Tennessee who called Friday a “dark, dangerous day.”
“Roe was just overturned,” said Kate Craig, a Democratic candidate for Tennessee’s 3rd District Senate seat. “This is a dark, dangerous day for everyone who believes and needs medical decisions to stay private decisions between patients and medical providers without politicians or activist judges and their radical agendas interfering and costing lives.”
Hendrell Remus, Chairman of Tennessee’s Democratic Party, also spoke with News Channel 11 Friday, revealing he’ll continue to advocate for access to safe abortions.
“This decision isn’t just about abortion,” Remus said. “This decision is about a fundamental attack on freedoms of people. This is taking away a fundamental right.”
Tennessee, a right-leaning state, houses lawmakers who, as a whole, mostly agree with the ruling. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R- Tenn.) stood before the U.S. Capitol Building Friday morning, saying that “prayers have been answered.”
“It’s a great day in Washington D.C. today,” said Harshbarger. “We just got the news that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. After 50 years of praying and waiting, our prayers have been answered. Now, future generations of unborn babies will have a chance at life, and isn’t that what it’s about?”
Lawmakers in Tennessee previously issued a trigger ban in 2019, which will allow state leaders to launch an almost-immediate abortion ban unless the fetus endangers the mother.
Rep. Rebecca Alexander (R- Jonesborough) and Sen. Rusty Crowe (R- Johnson City) back in February spearheaded an initiative to pull the reins further on Tennessee’s abortion laws. Alexander dubbed the bill “Human Life Protection Act,” which calls for banning abortion in nearly all cases, not listing any exceptions for rape or incest cases, as of the March draft.
On Friday, Alexander used a biblical verse from the book of Psalms to express her support for the highest court’s decision to give states full authority over abortion laws.
“I am very thankful for those who have gone ahead of us and fought this battle for over the last 50 years,” she said. “I am so proud to be from a state that believes in the sanctity of life. Praise be to God.”
Crowe described the health procedure as “the ending of human life” and stated the “issue…belongs closest to the people, and should be decided by the elected representatives of the people, and not to appointed, unelected judges.”
“This historic ruling returns this issue to the elected representatives of each state where it should have been for all these years,” Crowe continued.
Sen. Jon Lundberg (R- Bristol) also responded to the ruling on Friday.
“You know in Tennessee, we’ve been fighting for life for a long time,” Lundberg said. “I think there’s a lot of people that have across the nation, and it proved worthwhile today.”
Washington County Commissioner Jodi Jones raised concern surrounding the ruling, calling it anything but a solution.
“The myopic and divisive ‘solution’ presented by the Supreme Court today not only hurts women, but hurts all of us who seek creative, compelling and unifying ways of being,” Jones told News Channel 11.
Jones believes the ruling will bring on new challenges once states start restricting or banning the medical practice.
“As a result, in states like Tennessee, women will fare poorer in terms of health, social status, and economically, than in other states and in most places in the world,” she said.