Florida reproductive rights advocates react to the apparent Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v Wade

Pro-choice rally
Pro-choice rally in St. Petersburg. By Sean Kinane / WMNF News (22 January 2016).

In a stunning revelation Monday night, a leaked draft appears to suggest that the Supreme Court Justices have made up their minds to overturn the Roe v Wade decision that protects abortion rights in the U.S.


POLITICO published what they say is an “initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.” We don’t know whether any changes have been made in the meantime or will be made before the opinion is expected this summer.

On WMNF’s Tuesday Cafe, host Seán Kinane spoke about the report with Amy Weintraub, the Reproductive Rights Program Director at Progress Florida. We also spoke with State Rep. Dianne Hart (D-Tampa).

Listen to the full show here:

Supreme Court confirms the authenticity

According to a tweet Tuesday from SCOTUS Blog, “The Supreme Court confirms the authenticity of the draft opinion revealed last night by Politico. The chief justice has ordered an investigation into the leak.”

Rallies Tuesday afternoon for reproductive rights

  • Tampa, Joe Chillura Square at 600 E. Kennedy Boulevard, 5:00 p.m.
  • St. Petersburg at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 545 1st Avenue North, 5:00 p.m.
  • Sarasota, Sarasota County Court building 2002 Ringling Boulevard, 5:00 p.m.
  • Lakeland, the Pro-choice Advocacy League plans to be at the corner of Edgewood and S. Florida Avenue, 5:00 p.m.

What Alito wrote

The document is labeled “Opinion of the Court.” In it, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Casey is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court decision that largely held up the abortion rights provided by Roe.

Abortion rights in Florida

A new Florida law (HB 5) makes most abortions illegal after fifteen weeks of gestation.

The Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida released its statewide poll of registered voters in February. The “majority of respondents (57%) opposed [HB 5] either strongly or somewhat, with 34% supporting either somewhat or strongly.”

Watch the interview with Amy Weintraub:

Watch the interview with Rep. Dianne Hart:

Reaction from Florida politicians

According to Florida Politics, here is how some Florida politicians reacted to the news:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

(Responding to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for filibuster reform and to pass a law to codify Roe): “Translation: Let’s change the rules of the Senate to pass a federal law legalizing the killing of unborn children right up to the day of delivery.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott

“The Supreme Court’s confidential deliberation process is sacred and protects it from political interference. This breach shows that radical Democrats are working even harder to intimidate and undermine the Court. It was always their plan. The justices cannot be swayed by this attack.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor

“For decades, women, their families and doctors have been rightfully entrusted with decisions on when to have children. Now, politicians and judges will have control over your body and your life, no matter where you live — a frightful backsliding of rights.”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist

“If true, the fight for a woman’s right to choose will be left up to each state to decide … and front and center in this fall’s election. We must defeat (Gov. Ron) DeSantis. This issue is personal to so many of us. Early in my career, I was faced with the decision to protect a woman’s right to choose. I stopped a bill in the state Senate that would have required a 24-hour waiting period. As your Governor, I vetoed an anti-abortion bill. And I’ll do it again if need be — because I will always stand with women.”

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is running for Senate

“Striking down Roe v. Wade and taking away a woman’s right to make her own decisions is appalling and dangerous. We refuse to go back to being treated as second-class citizens whose personal decisions are made by politicians like Marco Rubio, who has fought relentlessly against the right of Florida women to control their own destiny. Women deserve an end to the constant politicization of our basic, fundamental rights. Let me be clear: I will always stand up, speak out, and fight to codify Roe v. Wade into law, no matter what.”

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