Republicans in Tennessee condemn Supreme Court leak, but not the ruling

Democrats lament the ruling

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are sharing the same reaction to news of the leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling.

Chief Justice Roberts John Roberts confirms that the leaked document is legitimate.

It indicates the court is likely to overturn the Roe V. Wade ruling that banned abortions nationally.

Our lawmakers are condemning the leak, but not the ruling.

Here is a sampling:

Gov. Bill Lee/TN

“I am concerned by the leak and any attempt to thwart justice. If the federal courts return full authority to the states, Tennessee’s laws will automatically provide the maximum possible protection and offer a glimmer of redemption as America reconciles our troubled past. We are talking about families in crisis – not isolated clinical procedures – and our state will continue to provide protection, resources and care for both mother and child.” – Gov. Bill Lee


Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

“Last night’s leak is an unprecedented, unethical assault on the independence of the Judiciary. As a lawyer, Constitutional Conservative, and someone who is Pro-Life, I’ve always believed Roe was decided wrongly. I look forward to the final, official opinion from SCOTUS.



Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III on the leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs (the challenge attacking Roe V. Wade)

“While we have a vested interest in the outcome of Dobbs in Tennessee, we will let the Supreme Court speak for itself. This leak is more than regrettable, it is an affront to the integrity of our legal process at the highest level. Chief Justice John Roberts has rightly called for an investigation and we would do well to treat this document for what it is- a draft subject to edits and changes.”

Sen.Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) released a video addressing the leaked Supreme Court opinion that revealed the Court may overturn Roe v. Wade.

Democrats are focusing more on the ruling and its ramifications for Tennessee

Statement by Vice President Kamala Harris 

OAKLAND“The United States Supreme Court has now confirmed that the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade is genuine.

Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy. What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women.

The rights of all Americans are at risk. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have.”

Healthy And FreeAnd a state pro-choice organization had this statement on the fallout in Tennessee:

Healthy and Free Tennessee (HFTN) is a statewide organization working to grow a movement for reproductive justice across race, gender, and class.

” Last night, a leaked draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health opinion showed that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. This decision will have a devastating impact for Tennesseeans and people across the country as abortion bans are enacted and states are granted authority to criminalize pregnant people.

While this news was heartbreaking, the leaked opinion was only a draft, which means abortion is still legal in Tennessee for now. People may continue seeking abortion care until 30 days after the opinion is published, at which time Tennessee’s “trigger ban” will take effect and classify abortion care as a class C felony. The final opinion will be published within the next two months.

For Tennesseeans, this decision will mean that clinics will be forced to stop providing abortion care and some will close altogether. The closest states providing care will be Illinois and Virginia. Poor and marginalized people will be forced to give birth against their will, and there will be increased surveillance and criminalization of people seeking abortion care and those assisting them. There will also be massive disinformation and an increase in patients seeking care at crisis pregnancy centers–state-funded, non-medical, religiously affiliated organizations that use shame and misinformation to manipulate people into carrying pregnancies against their will.

This decision will not, however, lead to an end to self-managed abortions in Tennessee. Since Roe was decided, incredibly safe and effective methods to end pregnancies at home using pills have been developed, meaning that abortions that occur outside of a clinic are no longer necessarily unsafe. We urge people not to use stigmatizing language such as “back alley” or abortions when referring to self-managed abortion care, and instead to uplift the certainty of increases in pregnancy criminalization–that is, criminalizing people for their pregnancy outcomes–and the inability of providers to provide life-saving emergency care to people experiencing pregnancy loss.

We expect this decision to lead to a push for laws that directly criminalize pregnant people. During this year’s legislative session, the General Assembly introduced HB2314, which would have changed the definition of “child” in the child abuse statute to include a fertilized embryo. This kind of language punishes pregnant people not only for obtaining abortion care, but also for experiencing domestic violence or lacking access to prenantal care. Police and DAs will also likely use laws that have already been enacted to criminalize people for pregnancy loss–we’ve already seen this happen in Tennessee. There will also likely be an onslaught of further restrictions–Republicans at the federal level are pushing a law that would ban abortion in all states at 6 weeks gestation. We can also expect people needing emergency care to be turned away from doctors and emergency rooms. In Texas, where abortion has been banned after 6 weeks, people have been turned away from health care facilities and been forced to drive hundreds of miles to seek care for an ectopic pregnancy or going into early labor.

While we are heartbroken, we have also been preparing for this possibility, and will continue to center abolition in the fight for reproductive justice for all Tennesseans. We will always oppose laws that punish people for pregnancy outcomes and will always work to provide accurate resources and information, fight for increased resources for pregnant people and families, and advocate for the rights of pregnant people in Tennessee.”

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