Gubernatorial and Congressional candidates were quick to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s action this morning to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Ruling

The Supreme Court today, as expected, released its ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade that some 50 years ago established the right to abortion in the United States. The vote was 6 to 3, with all Conservative justices voting to overturn Roe v. Wade and the three Liberal justices dissenting.

The court’s a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote Justice Alito in the majority opinion.

Basically, the ruling says there is no constitutional right to abortion, leaving the matter to the states. Several states have or are expected to establish their own abortion laws without concern of Roe v. Wade. According to reports, “nearly half the states are expected to outlaw or severely restrict abortion as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.” 

Here’s how candidates for governor and congress responded in Rhode Island. If not listed, they have either yet to issue a statement (we will add those as they come in) or have not commented at all. These are listed in order in which they were released.

Secretary of State Nellie Gobea 

Gubernatorial candidate

“I am appalled at the Supreme Court’s final ruling. Access to abortion is a fundamental right and I’m proud that we’ve worked together to protect that right in Rhode Island, including codifying Roe into state law. As Governor I will do everything in my power to ensure that Rhode Islanders will continue to have equitable access to safe and legal abortions. Passing the Rhode Island Equity in Abortion Coverage ACT will be a priority for me as Governor but I would welcome a special session of the General Assembly to pass this law prior to January 2023.”

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner 

Congressional candidate

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a devastating step backward for women and underscores how high the stakes are for this election. In Congress, I will fight to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law so that women across the country can make their own healthcare decisions.”

As General Treasurer, Magaziner, his campaign says, Magaziner advocated and helped pass the Reproductive Privacy Act into state law.  Magaziner’s opponent, Republican Allan Fung, opposed the Reproductive Privacy Act that codified Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island law and has previously been endorsed by the RI RIght to Life, a group that seeks to make abortion illegal.  

Joy Fox 

Congressional candidate

“Today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn 50 years of our constitutional right to an abortion does not mark the end of our fight for reproductive justice. It marks the beginning of a new one.

“Like our grandmothers, mothers, and aunts before us, it is our time to act so that every woman in every state has full access to health care, including safe abortion care.
“It is now up to Congress to preserve this right to health care. When elected, I will join the effort making this the law of the land.  But women across America cannot wait. I support the call for President Biden to immediately issue an executive order to protect access to reproductive health care. As the letter states, ‘Now is the time for equally bold action to protect the right to an abortion.”

Governor Dan McKee

Gubernatorial candidate

“Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a travesty, full stop.

“Here in Rhode Island, we will always support a woman’s right to choose. Despite today’s ruling, Rhode Islanders still have the right to access abortion health care services in our state thanks to the General Assembly codifying these protections into law – but all people should have the ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions, no matter where they live.

“Make no mistake about it: today’s Supreme Court decision will not stop abortions. It will only make them less safe. It’s time for Congress to act and support a woman’s right to choose, just like Rhode Island has done.”

Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos

Lieutenant Governor candidate

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disgraceful setback for millions of Americans and a reminder that political complacency is not an option.

“As a mother, the most basic thing I want for my son and daughter is for them to have opportunities to live happy, healthy, and independent lives. I will now have to explain to my daughter that she may not grow up to have the same fundamental access to healthcare as my son.

“I am deeply grateful that Rhode Island continues to protect access to abortion, but we must do more. We cannot tolerate encroachments on this fundamental right to choose. I am disappointed that our state’s legislature did not pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act this year, and I will fight to make it a top legislative priority for next year’s session.” 

David Segal 

Congressional candidate

”Today, our worst fears have been confirmed. The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the bedrock of reproductive freedom in our country for nearly five decades.

“This ruling will have devastating consequences. In many states across the country, abortion is now effectively illegal, or soon will be — meaning people will be forced to violate state laws to access reproductive care. The reproductive rights that are maintained in many other states are now dependent on the composition of state legislatures — and could still fall at the whim of Congress or the courts.

“We must act urgently: We need to codify Roe v. Wade at the national level. We must help those organizing in other states to pass similar laws and protections. We must identify ways to help those seeking care in states where it is being denied to them. And we need to ensure that Rhode Island’s laws fully protect reproductive freedom — including by expanding coverage to state workers and people who use Medicaid.

“This decision is a shameful moment in our history, and one that is indicative of fundamental failings of our governance system, including the courts. I stand with the majority of Americans who support access to legal, safe abortions and who oppose Roe being overturned. Yet an anti-choice minority has taken power through the Supreme Court to enforce a radical, far-right agenda and sweep away an essential right. Government must ensure our basic rights and freedoms, not trample upon them… 

“The work of reproductive rights and justice organizations is now more critical than ever. I encourage you to support their work. I am also reviewing analysis of the opinion, as we come to terms with any potential implications for other rights’ we cherish that we must take renewed action to safeguard. We need to redouble our efforts to transform our country, our laws, and our judicial system, so that they recognize the fundamental rights of all in our nation.”

Helena Buonanno Foulkes

Gubernatorial Candidate

“With this ruling, millions of American women are now stripped of their constitutional right to make decisions about their own bodies. It’s an outrage.

“We need a governor who will lead to protect choice in Rhode Island. As governor, I will include the Equality in Abortion Care Act in my very first budget and will form a regional alliance with other New England governors to ensure the strongest protections in America.”

Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz

Gubernatorial Candidate

 “Today is a signal to all.

It’s time to raise the volume! To stand up…and to ready for the fights ahead. We should not temper the calls and actions made for progress. Instead, we must amplify these calls and actions, in the face of those who would see us return to the dark ages.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse 

(Not up for reelection this year)

“This is a sad, dark day for women everywhere, who have relied on the protection of Roe as settled law, and for the Court, whose reputation degrades further,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Courts Subcommittee, “Today’s decision shreds a half-century-old legal precedent in order to deny women the right to decide if and when to have children.  

“That is among the most private, personal, and significant decisions in life, and the Court in Roe v. Wade rightly held the Constitution’s guarantee of individual liberty protects such private decisions against government interference.  

“Now, Roe’s privacy protection is gone and state legislatures can meddle freely in these intimate and difficult decisions.  The consequences for millions of women are immediate, as an array of antiquated anti-abortion laws snap back into place.

“The public could not be clearer on this issue.  Large majorities of Americans support upholding Roe.  That’s why right-wing special interests turned to the life-tenured justices they helped install on the bench to achieve their extremist goal.  This decision represents another win for those right-wing donor interests at regular Americans’ expense – another win from the Court That Dark Money Built.

“This is one of the most smug, arrogant, and untethered decisions in the Court’s history.  We must find a way to reverse the damage wrought today.”

Sarah Morgenthau

Congressional Candidate

She tweeted the following:

“Rhode Island has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress. Now, more than ever, we need to elect pro-choice women”.

Joint Statement From DNC, DSCC, DCCC, DGA, DAGA, DLCC, DMA

In response to the United States Supreme Court today overturning Roe v. Wade, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, DSCC Chair Gary Peters, DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney, DGA Chair Roy Cooper, DAGA Co-Chairs Aaron Ford and Kathy Jennings, DLCC Chair Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Democratic Mayors Association President Levar M. Stoney issued the following joint statement: 

“Democrats believe women in America have the right to make their own health care decisions, and that politicians should never get in the way of these private decisions. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is the culmination of a coordinated Republican effort to attack this fundamental freedom – but Democrats will fight back with every tool we can, and voters of every political persuasion will hold the GOP accountable in 2022.

“Make no mistake: The Republican Party will not stop at overturning Roe. The 2022 election will now determine whether new, cruel, and punishing restrictions will be put in place on women and families. With Republicans in power, states could make abortion illegal without exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and women and doctors could be charged with a crime if they have or perform an abortion.

“The stakes of November’s elections could not be higher – and voters will make their voices heard by standing with Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.