(WJHL) — A 67-page draft outlining the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion on a federal level sparked polarized reactions from Virginia and Tennessee lawmakers and representatives.
Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tennessee) responded to the leak with a Twitter post on Monday, describing abortion as “forces of evil.” The Congresswoman has co-sponsored numerous bills to tighten the restrictions surrounding the medical procedure.
“Please pray for our Supreme Court Justices and their families tonight,” she tweeted. “Standing against forces of evil takes incredible courage.”
Harshbarger also provided News Channel 11 with the following statement:
While we wait for the Supreme Court to confirm the overturning of Roe v. Wade, please keep the Justices and their families in your prayers. This fight for Life will take incredible courage. I hope to see the Court stand steadfast by their decision even in the face of intimidation and evilRep. Diana Harshbarger
Another state representative said that the Supreme Court’s apparent six-justice majority decision to reverse the federal abortion law was “the single most important decision of [his] lifetime.”
“The SCOTUS has apparently made the single most important decision of my lifetime by overturning Roe v. Wade,” Tennessee State Rep. Jeremy Faison stated. “Abortion should never have been a federal issue. Abortion is a State issue that should be voted on by the people not left up to 9 justices.”
A candidate for the 3rd District of the Tennessee Senate, however, voiced opposition to the possible overturn. Kate Craig, the 1st Congressional District Chair for the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association in past interviews with News Channel 11 considers abortion a personal decision.
“This isn’t the first time the Supreme Court has gotten it wrong,” Kate Craig stated on Twitter. “It took activists, candidates, voters, and elected officials to fix previous damages. This is your call to action. November 8th is coming.”
Craig announced Tuesday plans to rally at Founders Park in Johnson City at 6 p.m. in support of reproductive rights.
“Now is NOT the time to be passive or silent,” Craig stated. “Now IS the time to act. Your voice is powerful. Together, we can move mountains.”
The anti-abortion agenda has long been on the table for Tennessee lawmakers, with local Rep. Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough) from the 7th District recently speaking on behalf of a bill that would allow civil suits against people who undergo the procedure and medical practitioners who perform them. Anyone would be able to file the lawsuit, and no relationship between the filer and the patient or doctor would be required.
Over the state line in Virginia, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner mirrored Craig’s beliefs, tweeting that he will continue to battle lawmakers’ attempts to ban the medical procedure. The former governor of Virginia has voiced numerous times that he believes abortion is “a fundamental, established right.”
“I’m outraged by the reported leaked SCOTUS decision overturning Roe,” Warner stated. “I believe abortion care is health care, and I’ll keep fighting for that in the Senate.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D- Va.) shared the same sentiment with two tweets on the matter Tuesday morning.
“Let’s pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify the protections in Roe v. Wade ASAP,” the lawmaker stated. The piece of legislation would “protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy” while also providing protection for the medical professionals performing the procedures.
Kaine went on to state that “[the] draft opinion shows why the Senate GOP denied Merrick Garland a hearing and rushed Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. 2 stolen seats = Taking away women’s rights. It’s been the goal all along.”
The draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, would end the federal legalization of abortion, passing the decision over to the states. The conservative justice described Roe v. Wade as “egregiously wrong from the start,” adding that the ruling had “exceptionally weak” reasoning and “damaging consequences.”
Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the draft’s unexpected unveiling breaches the Supreme Court’s confidentiality and was released to cause an uproar.
I am in utter disbelief that the sacred confidentiality of the Supreme Court would be violated in this manner. Sadly, this leak was done in order to cause chaos and to put pressure on justices and elected officials. It’s premature to speculate on what the Supreme Court’s decision will be; however, we learned from listening to Virginians over the last year that we have much common ground on this issue. I am pro-life, and I have been very clear about that since the day I launched my campaign. While we wait for the final June decision, we will be focused on lowering taxes for Virginians, funding education and law enforcement because we need to get a budget passedVirginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin
U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R- Va.) described the leak as “improper and unheard of.”
“As a proud supporter of the right to life, I believe Roe v. Wade inflicted grave moral and constitutional damage to our country,” Griffith stated. “I would welcome a ruling by the Supreme Court that recognizes this fact. We cannot assume, however, that this leaked opinion will be the Court’s final decision.
“It is improper and unheard of for anyone to leak an opinion before the Court has finished its work. Whoever revealed this draft is likely attempting to manipulate the Court’s workings and should be held accountable for deliberately violating the judicial process.”
The circumstances surrounding the draft’s leak remain unclear; however, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called for the “immediate removal” of the person(s) responsible, whom she described as a “radical activist that betrayed the sacred tradition of the court.”
“I have no doubt that the Chief Justice will work to root out the radical activist that betrayed the sacred tradition of the court,” Blackburn tweeted Tuesday morning. “The leaker must be immediately removed from their position and exiled from the legal community.”
The Associated Press described Politico’s leak of the draft as the “biggest case in years” — an unparalleled event in modern times. A small group of people directly involved with America’s highest court system must sign pledges of confidentiality.
The AP also reported the authenticity of the leaked draft, as confirmed by Chief Justice John Roberts Tuesday morning.