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UPDATED: Tennessee reaction to SCOTUS decision scrapping Roe v. Wade

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Supreme Court of the United States

The following are portions of reactions from various constituencies concerning Friday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the question of abortion to the states:

TENN. GOP SENATOR BILL HAGGERTY: “I believe we have a moral duty to protect unborn children who cannot protect themselves. Today is a consequential day, not only for those who believe that all life is a precious gift, but also for American democracy and the rule of law. This decision doesn’t ban abortion—it simply returns decision-making on abortion to the people. That’s how it should be in a republic—matters not addressed by the Constitution should be decided by the people through their elected representatives, not by nine unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I will continue to strongly advocate for pro-life policies that safeguard our children and our families.”

9TH DISTRICT TENN. DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL REP. STEVE COHEN: The radical Supreme Court overturned Roe which empowered women to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. Women will march and march and vote and vote—and all who believe in the equality and self-determination of women won't stop fighting until these rights are restored.

The radical Supreme Court overturned Roe which empowered women to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. Women will march and march and vote and vote—and all who believe in the equality and self-determination of women won't stop fighting until these rights are restored.

6TH DISTRICT TENN. GOP CONGRESSIONAL REP. JOHN ROSE: “Today’s ruling will ensure a brighter future for our country, one built on life and a new generation of hope. The high court was right to return this decision to state legislatures and Congress. Tens of millions of voices have been silenced since a liberal, activist court ruled, incorrectly, that the right to an abortion is implied in the 14th amendment in its 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade. There is more work to be done, and I will proudly continue the fight to protect life.”

“Today’s ruling will ensure a brighter future for our country, one built on life and a new generation of hope. The high court was right to return this decision to state legislatures and Congress. Tens of millions of voices have been silenced since a liberal, activist court ruled, incorrectly, that the right to an abortion is implied in the 14th amendment in its 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade. There is more work to be done, and I will proudly continue the fight to protect life.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF TENNESSEE AND NORTH MISSISSIPPI: "Due to this decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to lift its current injunction on the 6-week abortion ban passed by the TN legislature in 2020. This would create an effective ban on abortion in TN immediately, as most people do not know they are pregnant before the 6-week mark. Tennessee’s trigger law, which makes providing abortion a felony, is expected to take effect in 30 days. “We will do everything we legally can to help patients in our region access abortion without the shame and overwhelming hurdles forced by this decision... Anyone who needs an abortion, or more information about available resources can call 866-711-1717 or visit abortionfinder.org or reproresource.org.

TENNESSEE RIGHT TO LIFE: "Tennessee Right to Life applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision to overturn its own precedent in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The justices, in a 5-4 decision to overturn Roe and 6-3 decision to uphold Mississippi's 15 week ban, voted to no longer recognize a federal constitutional right to abortion and, thus, return the issue of abortion regulation to the states and their elected Representatives and Senators. In Tennessee, the Human Life Protection Act, a “trigger law,” passed in 2019 and supported by Tennessee Right to Life, will presumably now go into effect and prohibit all abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk."

TENN. HOUSE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER REP. KAREN CAMPER: "I have often said that abortion is a complicated and very personal decision. And I personally believe that we don’t spend enough time on finding solutions to the reasons why some people have to have abortions. However, this ruling means that in Tennessee, all abortions will be criminalized, including for victims of rape and incest. Women should have the right to make their own, personal healthcare decisions. This is an unfortunate decision based on politics instead of established law and, according to the vast majority of polls, the will of people.”

TENNESSEE REPUBLICAN SENIOR SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN: "Having worked alongside Tennesseans to protect the innocent lives of unborn children for years, I applaud today’s Supreme Court ruling. Despite false claims from the left, this decision will not ban abortion. Instead, it returns the decision to the states and empowers state legislatures with more flexibility to craft policy through the democratic process. It is unacceptable that a draft opinion was leaked in advance and that the person responsible has not been caught. The leaker has jeopardized the safety of our justices, and threats of violence by the radical militant mob are unacceptable."

HEALTHY AND FREE TENNESSEE: "We are enraged but unsurprised at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This decision will not only force Tennessee clinics to stop providing necessary care, but also push Tennesseans seeking abortion care to travel out of state to receive the care they need. Abortion bans are state-sanctioned violence. With the Supreme Court on their side, anti-abortion politicians will continue to push forward anti-abortion legislation that not only criminalizes providers, but also punishes pregnant people for their pregnancy outcomes. Criminalizing abortion care means more government surveillance, investigation, and control — and we know Black and brown people, disabled people, those who use substances are always more likely to be targeted. No one should be punished or criminalized for their abortion, miscarriage, or any pregnancy outcome.

TENN. REPUBLICAN PARTY: "For half a century, Roe vs. Wade has been the law of our land and we applaud the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision to reverse course and allow the States to determine questions of life. We are proud that our work in Tennessee by electing good, pro-life Republicans has produced a long legacy of leadership that values the culture of life. However we know the fight for life does not end today, it merely shifts the debate from Washington to all the State Houses across the country and serves as a reminder that our struggle is not complete. The prayers of millions and the actions of many were answered today as we all rejoice in the gift of life on this day. 

NASHVILLE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL REP. JIM COOPER: "This has to be a wake-up call. SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, reversing a constitutional right. That has really never happened before. Each of us values our rights differently, but they are all important, and should never be taken away. Our fears were realized with this attack on women and the rights of all Americans. Now, abortion is effectively banned in Tennessee and more than a dozen other states. This compromises the health and safety of those seeking necessary reproductive healthcare. Justice Thomas wrote that he’s prepared to overturn the rights conferred by the Court in Obergefell, Lawrence, and Griswold. It’s a dark day for our country.

TENN. REPUBLICAN GOV. BILL LEE: "Today’s landmark Supreme Court decision marks the beginning of a hopeful chapter for our country. After years of heartfelt prayer & thoughtful policy, America has a historic opportunity to support women, children & strong families while reconciling the pain & loss caused by Roe."

Mike Osborne is the News Director for WMOT and can be heard on-air daily.