06.24.22

Reaction To The Supreme Court’s Opinion In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

[Patrick Leahy is the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and a former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  He is the current Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.]

Today’s opinion from a narrow majority of the Court is not the end of abortion.  It is the end of a woman’s right to safe reproductive health care.  It is the end of women’s choice.  It sets us back.  It does not move us forward.

What message does this send to women?  That their choice — that their right to govern their bodies — doesn’t matter?  That politicians know better?

State legislatures cannot write their way through the myriad of circumstances that can arise for women in pregnancy.  These states, though, say today that they know best.  The Court, today, says that those state legislatures know best.  No, not the 163 million women in this country.  Not a woman about her own body.  Government knows best.

For years I have heard Republicans in the Senate talk about limited government, about their worries that government interferes too much with our daily lives.  Today, I ask them, is there any more significant interference than that of getting between a woman, or any person, and their health care choices?  This is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Americans come to court to find justice.  To find protection under the law.  Today, the Supreme Court abandons that role.  I fear for what it means for the progress we have fought hard to achieve.  For our more perfect union.  For generations to come.

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