RI leaders respond to report that Roe could be overturned

The Rhode Island State House. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By WPRO News

Rhode Island political leaders, virtually all Democrats, are responding with a flurry of statements in the wake of a report by Politico that a draft opinion suggested the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case which legalized abortion nationwide.

“Here in Rhode Island, we will always protect a woman’s right to choose,” said Governor Dan McKee in a brief statement posted to Twitter while his office says he is away on vacation.

“We will NOT go backwards on reproductive rights,” McKee added.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has often expressed criticism of the Republican – appointed majority on the Court issued a scathing statement.

“If the majority Republican justices stay the course, this decision will go down as one of the most supremely political acts in Supreme Court history,” Whitehouse said. “Roe v. Wade has stood firm in the law for decades, guaranteeing women the freedom to decide if and when to have a child – one of the most profoundly personal and life-altering decisions a person can make. This decision would wipe that well-established precedent away, to give right-wing ideologues a political victory. The right-wing goal has been to control the Court, to achieve policy gains against the will of the American public, and this decision is exactly the kind of deliverable they had in mind when they packed the Court with Federalist-Society-chosen justices.”

“I hope the Republican justices seriously reconsider a decision to upend nearly 50 years of precedent and harm millions. It would be a blow from which the Court may not recover, and which would fall squarely on women of this country,” Whitehouse added.

“If this reported leak is in fact accurate, it represents the most severe rollback of women’s rights in this country’s history, overturning decades of settled case law,” said Congressman Jim Langevin on Twitter. “I support whatever it takes to make sure that Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land.”

“Abortion rights are under attack but abortion is still constitutionally protected,” said Congressman David Cicilline in a post to Twitter. “To preserve this right, the Senate needs to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act NOW. Abortion is healthcare and every woman has the right to make healthcare decisions for herself.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a statement posted to the Diocese of Providence website that he would not comment on the matter.

“I will have no comments on the Supreme Court and the pending abortion legislation until a decision of the Court on this matter is final,” wrote Bishop Tobin. “In the meantime, I urge everyone to reflect upon this very important issue, that involves one of our core beliefs in the dignity of human life, with humility, peace, and prayer.”

The Rhode Island Right to Life Committee cautions in an unsigned statement to its Facebook page that “we have no say of knowing the veracity of the alleged draft (of the Supreme Court decision). Moreover, members of the court can change their position right up until the ruling is issued. The alleged leak may indeed be an unscrupulous attempt to influence the final decision by exposing members of the court to threat and intimidation.

“With this in mind, I will repeat my plea over the past few months to join me in praying for the members of the court, for our country, and for the protection of human life,” the statement said.

“Finally, please resist the temptation to get caught up in the hyperbolic bloviating of political and media personalities, many of whom are pushing an agenda. Rather, now is an opportune time for everyone in the pro-life movement to double down in prayer, in fasting, and in giving witness to the goodness and truth and beauty of LIFE by continuing to serve mothers and families in need,” said the RI Right to Life Committee statement.