TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY—Weeks after the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision was officially published: Roe v. Wade, the federal ruling protecting the right to abortion and the right to choose, is no longer valid.
With five judges signing the ruling into effect and three dissenting, many are wondering what rights could be attacked next: access to contraception or even same-sex marriage. The ninth vote Chief Justice John Roberts did not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, but voted to change the standards set out in the 1973 court case.
The three dissenting justices said: “The right recognized by Roe and Casey is not isolated. […] On the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other established freedoms concerning bodily integrity, family relations and procreation, […]” as reported by CNN.
When the decision was leaked in May, protests erupted locally and nationally, and as the overturning decision is now official, reactions are mounting on social media and in press releases, the sentiments of which are compiled below. Additionally, the city of Ithaca is set to declare itself an abortion sanctuary at the upcoming Common Council meeting, a move that began after the leak became public knowledge.
“Today, more than half of the American population has become second-class citizens, deprived of their constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy, regardless of where they live,” said US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Although abortion access rights are codified in New York State, as well as 19 other states, the same rights are not protected in many others. Thirteen states have “trigger laws” making abortion illegal immediately or shortly thereafter, reversing Roe v. Wade, and a wide variety of laws apply in the remaining states. The full list of state-by-state information can be found here.
A handful of states do not protect access to abortion by state law, and three states do not protect or prohibit abortion in state laws or constitutions, and 28 states protect the access to abortion by law or state constitution, although 10 of these states have a threshold between 20 and 24 weeks.
New York State Senate Democratic candidate Leslie Danks Burke said, “We can’t control the actions of hardline conservative justices, but we have the power to act quickly to protect our rights and our lives, and ensure that New York remains a permanent haven for those seeking abortion care.
Earlier this spring, legislation providing a $35 million investment package was signed for abortion providers in New York. “The right to reproductive health care is a fundamental human right. History shows us that when abortion is prohibited, abortion becomes dangerous for women. Low-income people and people of color will be the most affected,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
Former Tompkins County Legislature Speaker and former Democratic candidate for New York’s 23rd District, Martha Robertson, responded to Hochul’s tweet asking for a breakthrough on the gun legislature.
Other local reactions also took place on Twitter:
Congressional candidate for NY-19, Jamie Cheney, said “today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an absolute disgrace, not only for its betrayal of nearly 50 years of legal precedent, but also for the irreparable and unnecessary harm it will have on women across the country.
Josh Riley and Osun Zotique, the other two NY-19 Democratic candidates also responded to the ruling.
“Decisions about women’s health care are theirs, not the government’s,” Riley said.
Zotique shared a statement on Instagram acknowledging the impact of the decision and thanking New York healthcare providers for their work. “I want to thank Planned Parenthood of the Upper Hudson Valley, for the vital work they do, providing everyone – especially the LGBTQIA+ community – with basic sex education and sexual wellness services, testing, gender-affirming care, and more,” he said.
In response to the decision, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is hosting a virtual press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24 to outline its plans to expand and improve abortion services. The Zoom panel is free to the public and registration can be found here.
Likely the first in a series, a rally is also scheduled for Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. at DeWitt Park in Ithaca.
This story will be updated as the day progresses.