By Aswad Walker
Listed below are statements from various Houston-area leaders and organizations in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mayor Sylvester Turner
Today is a sad day across America. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade is a chilling and incomprehensible decision. It means women no longer have a federal constitutional right to make decisions about their bodies and what is best for their lives.
This decision unravels 50 years of precedent and settled law. I have always believed a woman has a right to choose and make personal decisions about her health care. I believe abortion is part of comprehensive reproductive health care and support the right to choose as fundamental to each person’s autonomy. Individuals and their doctors should make personal life decisions.
I am now equally concerned that SCOTUS, with a stroke of a pen, will eliminate rights to privacy, contraception, and LGBTQ progress made in recent years.
If people are concerned about the direction of this country, I encourage them to show up at the ballot box and exercise their right to vote in November and every election.
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Today’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a betrayal of justice and a violation of our fundamental freedoms. Together, we must push back against reactionary extremists’ attempts to erase progress and push forward toward our vision for a more just and equitable society.
People should be trusted to make their own decisions about abortion and reproductive health instead of being criminalized, dehumanized and controlled by extremists and the politicians who do their bidding. In Texas, abortion access has long been on the brink and out of reach, especially for women of color, those struggling to make ends meet and other vulnerable Texans. We must do everything in our power to ensure that Texans are able to access abortion care.
This fight isn’t over. The fight for abortion rights is part of a broader movement to defend our hard-won rights, protect our progress, and advance justice, equality, opportunity, and freedom for all people.
Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher
Today’s Supreme Court decision is an affront to the liberty, autonomy, privacy, and dignity of all Americans, and of American women in particular. With this decision revoking rather than protecting rights for Americans, the Court has created a devastating and dangerous path forward that jeopardizes the health and undermines the equality of people across this country.
Harris County Democratic Party Chair Odus Evbagharu
SCOTUS returned the verdict we expected, but that doesn’t make it less devastating. We are angry on behalf of everyone who has the reproductive capacity to become pregnant – because access to safe and legal abortion services is no longer guaranteed. And we know because of this decision made by SCOTUS, people will die. The news today from SCOTUS is a crushing blow to human rights. This decision will enable narrow-minded Republican lawmakers to trigger discriminatory and draconian abortion laws in states across our nation.
How should we respond when those tasked with protecting our best interests — those entrusted with protecting basic human rights — fail to live up to our expectations, our requirements for the job? The Harris County Democratic Party calls on anyone who cares about human rights to immediately get involved in the fight against the Republican lawmakers who are hell-bent on taking away what defines us as a nation. Volunteer with organizations like ours, as well as reproductive rights organizations. Commit to voting for Democrats who will defend your rights instead of taking them away.
Texas is set to fully ban abortion in 30 days, and a recent University of California study found that more than a quarter of the abortion facilities across our nation will close. Yet, we all know people will continue to seek abortions, and as state laws become more restrictive, the risk of complications from unsafe abortions drastically increases.
We also know Black and Latino Texans will be disproportionately impacted by banning abortion. Abortion is an essential aspect of health care, and we will continue to fight for this human right. Access to legal and safe abortion care should be guaranteed for all who need it.
Joyce LeBombard, President of the League of Women Voters of Texas
“The League of Women Voters of Texas strongly supports women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including safe, legal abortions. The Dobbs opinion is an affront to the dignity of women and their ability to make their own decisions regarding their bodies and their futures. This decision puts the health of millions of women in danger, and it creates a hardship on women who do not have the financial means to travel out of Texas for abortion services.”
Brianna Brown, Texas Organizing Project (TOP) Co-Executive Director
Today, our nation’s right-wing political machine, fueled by lies and a desire to continue the sinister, violent legacy of white supremacy, stripped Americans of their fundamental right to safe and legal abortion – a ruthless crusade nearly 50 years in the making. Words alone cannot fully convey the atrociousness of this partisan opinion, the ways in which it jeopardizes countless other inherent personal freedoms, and the level of harm it will inflict on our nation’s marginalized communities – notably Black and Latino.
This methodical undermining of our fundamental rights is par for the course for this Supreme Court. It is this right-wing court that has shattered protections in the Voting Rights Act and has now gutted rights established by Miranda v. Arizona.
It is no coincidence whatsoever that right-wing extremists are hell-bent on banning us from making decisions for ourselves, literally not allowing us as human beings to have the power to determine our own futures. The fight for healthcare broadly, and abortion access specifically, IS a fight for racial justice.
In his absurd majority draft opinion drenched in cynicism, Justice Alito states “Women are not without electoral or political power” – a twisted and insulting invitation for us to re-secure these human rights ourselves at the state legislative level, since our reactionary-ruled Supreme Court will not recognize them.
We fully intend to turn Alito’s backhanded dare on its head, and fight tooth and nail with allies for however long is necessary to ensure that all – no matter our race, income level, or ZIP Code – have access to the abortion care we all deserve. We will leave no stone unturned in using this dare as a catalyst for bold, people-powered transformation. Our presence will be felt in the streets, and our rage will be channeled at the ballot box as we will stop at nothing to win, because future generations deserve so much more than regressive policies holding us back from living the full, happy lives we all have a right to live.
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee
For years, Texans have faced numerous, unnecessary barriers to seeking an abortion, and for months have dealt with a near total ban. Now, it will be nearly impossible to obtain a safe and legal abortion in this state. The Supreme Court’s conservative bloc has set our country back fifty years, letting states like Texas take away women’s ability to make decisions about their own health care.
Texas’s existing laws have already led to increases in women seeking abortions in other states, showing us that these bans do not stop abortions but only make it harder for women without access to transportation and the ability to travel out of state. This decision will now let states pass even more draconian laws criminalizing abortion. But these laws will not end abortion—they will only make it more dangerous.
Every single woman in this country should have the right to make health care decisions with their doctor. I remain committed to supporting the full scope of reproductive rights and will continue to advocate for the fundamental rights of the people of Harris County.
National Urban League
For nearly 50 years, American women have had the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. Today’s devastating decision will reverberate for generations. For the first time in our history, the Supreme Court has snatched away a fundamental right from more than half our nation’s citizens.
This decision is a personal affront to the dignity and freedom of every woman in this country, and a violent intrusion into a personal decision that should be left to women and their doctors. It will disproportionately harm women and children of color, those living on lower incomes, young people, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQI+ community and future generations of women and girls who would need access to such an essential service.
In the 13 states with so-called ‘trigger laws,’ abortion is effectively banned as of this moment or within the next 30 days, and another seven states are likely to enact bans in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Court’s decision places other rights gained over the last century at risk – the rights to other personal decisions, contraception, LGBTQ rights, marriage rights, and so on. The National Urban League will continue to fight for the reproductive rights of women and the civil rights of all of us. The Urban League fights for you.
NAACP National Office
Here’s the terrifying reality, friend: When essential liberties like voting rights, affordable health care, and bodily autonomy are attacked, it’s Black Americans who are hit first and hit hardest. It’s our communities, our mothers and brothers, who are turned away from voting booths, doctors’ offices, and urgent clinics.
As we speak, we are standing at the center of an overwhelming and malicious effort to slash the power and agency of Black Americans with surgical precision. So the NAACP is fighting back. We demand our rights, and we will not back down until the fundamental freedoms of ALL are secured and protected.
State Senator Carol Alvarado
Today’s Supreme Court ruling overturing Roe v. Wade is devastating, creating a dark, uncertain reality for many in our country. 36 million women – nearly half of the women of reproductive age (18-49) in the U.S. plus people who can become pregnant – have lost their constitutional right to bodily autonomy. 30 days after the judgement is issued, abortion will be a crime in Texas with doctors facing life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 – a penalty much higher than a rapist receives. Like many other policies pushed forward by state leaders, low income and minority Texans will be impacted disproportionately by this reduced access to health care.
This isn’t the end though. We must unite and use our voices and votes to restore this fundamental right for every Texan. We deserve respect and the right to choose what happens to our bodies and futures.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George
This country, which I love, has long been the symbol of freedom for so many. People, like myself, come to this country because they are able to pursue the “American Dream”, freely express themselves, and make choices according to the principles and values that they hold close. However, our democracy is under attack.
The common belief in liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness has been put in jeopardy. The only way that our country, based on the foundations of freedom, democracy, and justice, will prevail is if we speak out against those who embrace anti-democratic ideals and use women’s rights to make political statements.
I had a conversation with my youngest daughter and one of her college-age friends following the leak of the United States Supreme Court’s opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade, I was impressed with the level of depth in which these young ladies spoke about the protection of their rights and the efforts being proposed to deny women the right to choose what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
I trust my mother, wife, and daughters to make their own health care decisions. I hope that the values I have taught my daughter will cause her to never have to make the difficult decision of choosing. However, I believe that she should have the right to make choices about her body and life. All health decisions should be made between a patient and their doctors. Period.
I believe it is not my decision, nor the government’s decision to make such impactful and immutable choices for anyone. We must not remain silent when our freedoms and rights are intentionally taken away.
Black Women’s Leadership Collective
In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today overturned the 50-year precedent of Roe v. Wade, stripping women of the constitutional right to make her own reproductive health care decisions including having an abortion. The Black Women’s Leadership Collective issued the following statement:
“Black women have fought and died for the freedom to control our bodies and our lives from slavery to segregation to the Supreme Court, yet today in an unprecedented move the Court stripped us of that basic freedom by overturning Roe v. Wade.
As half of the states in the country will now move to immediately ban abortion on top of extreme laws that criminalize women and doctors, we know that Black women, low-income women and other women of color who already face significant barriers to healthcare will be the most directly harmed. Specifically, states with large black populations like, Mississippi, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina and Alabama, will be impacted immediately by severely limiting or banning access to abortion care.
This decision is devastating. Black women are standing together to make clear that we will not go back to a time when politicians controlled our bodies and our most personal health decisions. Reproductive freedom and the fundamental right to control our bodies are on the ballot in November along with protecting our right to vote and the health and safety of our communities. We are organizing, mobilizing, and leveraging our collective power in support of candidates who support our rights and will fight for the needs of our communities.