Live updates: Officials plan their next moves after the fall of Roe v. Wade
Protests continued this weekend at the Supreme Court and across the country after Friday's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The reverberations are being felt in Congress and state capitals.
These are some of the stories we're following:
- Democratic senators told President Biden that words aren't enough. In a letter, 34 senators asked Biden to use the power of the presidency to ease abortion access and protect patients.
- The legality ofabortion in Pennsylvania may be decided by November's gubernatorial election. The GOP-controlled legislature has repeatedly tried to restrict abortions, and the Republican candidate for governor supports a total ban.
- Minnesota's governor says the state won't extradite anyone at risk of being prosecuted for "providing, seeking, or obtaining reproductive health care services." He said the fact his order was necessary felt "absolutely dystopian."
Some Jewish groups blast the Supreme Court’s decision as a violation of their religious beliefs
While some have celebrated justices' decision striking down Roe v. Wade as a win for religious freedom, some religious Jews say prohibitions on abortion violate their religious beliefs.
Interpretations vary across Judaism, but some religious Jews believe that a fetus is part of the parent’s body and that a baby is only considered a person once it takes its first breath.
According to the Women’s Rabbinic Network, some of the religion's most sacred texts — the Torah, the Mishnah and the Talmud — view a fetus as a soul only once it’s born.
“Therefore, forcing someone to carry a pregnancy that they do not want or that endangers their life is a violation of Jewish law because it prioritizes a fetus over the living adult who is pregnant,” the group said in a statement.
“This must be understood as a violation of the United States Constitution which guarantees our freedom to practice our religion and also our freedom from the dictates of other religions,” it added.
A number of Jewish organizations blasted the opinion, arguing that it would lead to religious violations against Jews.
“Jewish tradition prioritizes the safety of women carrying a child,” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement. “Overturning abortion access, as numerous states already have, denies individuals health care options consistent with their religious beliefs, including many in the Jewish community, thereby presenting issues of religious freedom and privacy.”
At least one Jewish group has sued to block new restrictions on abortion citing religious objections. The Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach sued Florida over its ban on abortions after 15 weeks, arguing that it imposes “the laws of other religions upon Jews.”
But some more conservative factions in Judaism, such as the Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America, welcomed the Supreme Court's opinion: “We pray that today’s ruling will inspire all Americans to appreciate the moral magnitude of the abortion issue, and to embrace a culture that celebrates life.”
Illinois has some of the country's most liberal abortion laws. That hasn’t always been the case
Illinois is positioned to become an abortion-access haven now that the Supreme Court has rolled back Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision. Clinics that provide abortion care across the state expect an influx of women from surrounding states – including Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa – which are all poised to dramatically restrict abortion access.
In recent years, Illinois law has been strengthened to ensure access to abortion: In 2017, the state legislature threw out a trigger law; in 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a sweeping abortion-rights bill called the Reproductive Health Act; and last year the state repealed a law requiring notification of parents when a minor seeks an abortion.
But Illinois’ road to some of most liberal abortion laws in the country hasn’t been an easy one.
Read more from wbez.org about the state's history with abortion rights.
How green became the color of the abortion rights movement
Protests for abortion rights around the world are often awash in the color green – handkerchiefs, scarves, protests signs and more.
The shade associated with the reproductive rights movement can be traced back nearly two decades, to Argentina, where a growing number of activists were pushing for the government to legalize abortion.
Marta Alanis, the founder of the Argentinian branch of the group Catholics for the Right to Decide, told the French newspaper Le Monde that the green handkerchiefs protesters adopted were a reference to the white scarves used by women whose children were “disappeared” by the country’s military dictatorship in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Alanis said green was a “symbol of hope, health, life.”
Giselle Carino, CEO of Fòs Feminista, an international women’s health organization, said in a post last year that the movement that began in Argentina has helped win abortion rights across the globe.
“As an Argentinian woman, I’ll never forget what it was like to march through the streets of Buenos Aires with thousands of women and girls in pañuelos verdes (green handkerchiefs), fighting for our human right to safe and legal abortion,” Carino said.
“I didn’t yet know that these demonstrations would inspire an international movement that continues to grow in size and strength to this day.”
Argentina legalized abortions in 2020, and the so-called Green Wave continued to spread to other countries where advocates were pushing for the protection or legalization of abortion rights, including Colombia and the U.S.
“It's a great honor, personally and collectively, that green is now being taken up in the United States,” Alanis said.
A Republican congresswoman called the decision a "historic victory for white life"
A Republican congresswoman called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” at a campaign rally Saturday night with former President Donald Trump.
“President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday,” said Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) as she raised her hands to lead the crowd in Mendon, Ill., in applause.
Rep. Mary Miller said that “on behalf of the MAGA patriots in America,” she wanted to thank Trump “for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court.”— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) June 26, 2022
A spokesperson said she meant to say “right to life” but misspoke. https://t.co/cFQgCaNj8p pic.twitter.com/bxhyD8x5Yv
Her campaign says Miller misspoke. “She very clearly meant to say ‘victory for Right to Life’ during her remarks,” said Isaiah Wartman, a campaign spokesperson, in an email to NPR, characterizing the moment as a “mishap” and a “stumble.”
“To suggest that she is somehow not committed to defending all life is disgusting,” Wartman wrote.
Miller’s rally with Trump on Saturday comes just days before she faces a primary election against the more moderate Rep. Rodney Davis, another Republican incumbent. Their districts in Illinois were recently combined by the Democrat-controlled state legislature, pitting the two against each other.
The winner of their primary is all but assured a victory in November – as 68% of the new district’s voters picked Trump in 2020.
The campaign has been called a test of the power of Trump’s endorsement. The vote will take place Tuesday.
Miller was elected in 2020. Shortly after she took office in January 2021, she apologized after quoting Hitler in a speech. “I sincerely apologize for any harm my words caused and regret using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history to illustrate the dangers that outside influences can have on our youth,” she wrote then.
French lawmakers move to enshrine abortion rights in the country’s constitution
Several French lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s political party say they are introducing a bill to enshrine abortion rights into the European nation’s constitution.
The announcement came shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and allowed states to ban or severely restrict abortion, which severalalready have.
“What happens elsewhere must not happen in [France]!” said French MP Marie-Pierre Rixain, one of the lawmakers who made the proposal.
“In France, we guarantee and advance women's rights. We protect them,” said French MP Aurore Bergé, the other lawmaker behind the bill.
Currently, abortions in France are legal under any circumstances through the 14th week of pregnancy, according to Human Rights Watch. The French government recently took steps to make medication abortions easier to obtain, but the country also allows medical professionals to refuse to provide abortions on religious grounds or under a “conscience clause.”
Following the Supreme Court decision, Macron called abortion a “fundamental right for all women,” said it must be protected and expressed solidarity with women in the U.S.
Macron recently won re-election as France’s president, but his party lost seats in parliamentary elections earlier this month as far-left and far-right parties made gains.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.
Minnesota's governor says the state won't extradite anyone facing abortion-related charges
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Saturday that he said will offer legal protection to people from out of state who come to Minnesota for reproductive health services.
Walz said during a news conference that the order is in response to laws, or potential new laws, in other states that would allow people to be prosecuted for helping those seeking an abortion.
“An absolutely dystopian thing that needs to be stated is, [the order] states that we will use all legal authority of this office to decline to extradite people who are charged under other states' laws that criminalize providing, seeking, or obtaining reproductive health care services,” Walz said.
The only exception would be if the acts would also be criminal under Minnesota law.
The order also prohibits Minnesota state agencies from helping other states investigate or prosecute people who seek reproductive health care that's legal in Minnesota, except as required by court order.
Continued abortion access in Pennsylvania is all on this year's governor's race
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, rallied in defense of abortion rights with hundreds of others at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center on Saturday.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade, abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania. But all eyes are on the governor’s race this November, which may determine the fate of reproductive rights in the state.
The GOP-controlled legislature has repeatedly tried to restrict abortion — and it’s up to the governor to decide whether those bills are signed into law.
Shapiro on Saturday maintained his pledge to protect reproductive rights.
“I believe that abortion is health care, and I will defend it,” Shapiro said. “I trust the women of Pennsylvania to make decisions over your own bodies.”
He urged the crowd to vote in November.
“The reason why I’m hopeful today is because you’re here. It’s because you recognize your power,” he said. “It’s because you recognize to protect these fundamental freedoms here in Pennsylvania, we gotta win a governor’s race. Are you prepared to do that?”
Shapiro’s Republican opponent, State Senator Doug Mastriano, is a devout Christian who has made his religion central to his political career. He supports a total ban on abortion (and introduced a so-called “heartbeat” bill in 2019), without exceptions for rape, incest or cases in which the life of a parent is at risk. He also supports criminal penalties for doctors and nurses who perform abortions.
Biden must take stronger action on abortion, Senate Democrats say
On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Senate Democrats are pushing President Biden to take "immediate action" to protect abortion rights.
In a letter sent to Biden on Saturday evening, a group of 34 senators describe the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision as "an unprecedented assault on women and the result of decades of activism by Republican extremists."
The senators acknowledged Biden's remarks in response to the decision on Friday, which he called a "sad day for the court and for the country." They called on the president to take "bold action" and to "use the full force of the federal government to protect access to abortion in the United States."
"You have the power to fight back and lead a national response to this devastating decision," the letter says.