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Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 24, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): But this will save lives. And to listen to Lucy McGrath and other family members of those who have lost their loved ones, this is a giant step forward. Maybe not so much a giant but a strong step forward. And if it's good enough for them, then we rejoice in passing it.
As I say to members all the time with legislation, do not judge it for what isn't in it, but respect it for what is and there's much to be respected in this legislation. On a happier note, yesterday, we celebrated 50 years of Title Nine, which has transformed equality and opportunity in our country. Are you familiar with the words of Title Nine?
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Erica Hill. Thank you for joining us this hour as we follow this historic breaking news. You were just listening, of course to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who in reaction to this decision from the Supreme Court, which overturns Roe v. Wade called the court radical and also said it is a slap in the face to women eviscerating their rights.
And she also weighed in on this, of course, historic bipartisan measure in the House today after passing the Senate on gun safety measures. So what is happening at this hour, the court's ruling today means there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion in this country. That historic decision up ends 50 years of abortion rights, it immediately transformed the landscape of women's reproductive health and their choices in America.
The court's ruling is very similar to that draft opinion, which was written by Justice Alito and leaked last month. At issue here is the Mississippi law, which bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. CNN's Jessica Schneider is live at the Supreme Court for us with these breaking details. So Jessica, what more is in this opinion, what more is in this ruling?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting, Erica, is that this landmark decision that we've been bracing for since that will leak at the beginning of May. It's virtually identical to what Justice Alito wrote in that draft that we saw on May. This one, not much different, only addressing some of the dissent. And what he said in this decision is that Roe v. Wade was egregiously wrong from the start, its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement to the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed debate and deepen division. So what this opinion does this ruling from a five-four Supreme Court, it's eliminates the constitutional right to an abortion and it now leaves the issue to individual states to decide if and how to allow women to get abortions.
The immediate effect of this ruling is that about half of the states will eliminate the right to an abortion. About half of those states, about a dozen of those states have so called trigger laws, and those trigger laws will help eliminate the right to an abortion almost immediately or within about 30 days. There are also zombie laws. Those are abortion bans that were in effect before Roe v. Wade in 1973 that will go back into effect.
And then on the flip side, about 16 states plus the District of Columbia, they have passed laws protecting the right to abortion, those states are expecting potentially an influx of patients from states that will or have or will soon ban abortion. The dissent here, this was a very forceful dissent from the three liberal justices retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, as well as Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. They addressed the opening of their dissent saying with sorrow, and then they went on to say that the curtailment of women's rights and of their status as free and equal citizens that is one result of this opinion.
And Erica, interestingly, the Conservatives themselves seemed to be a bit at odds in their decision while Justice Alito said that this opinion was confined to the issue of abortion and would not affect same sex marriage the right to contraceptives. In a concurring opinion, the conservative Justice Thomas -- Clarence Thomas actually urged the court to reconsider its rulings on same sex marriage and the right to contraceptives. So it seems that potentially this opinion overruling Roe v. Wade, eliminating the right to abortion, it could have profound effects as this conservative, solidly conservative court moves forward here, Erica.
HILL: Jessica Schneider with the very latest for us from outside the court.
Also with us, Laura Coates and Steve Vladek. Steve, I want to start with you. You're a constitutional law expert. As we look at this, let's pick up where Jessica left off. There are questions about not only the immediate implication in states with so called trigger laws or the zombie laws, but specifically about other rights that Americans currently have, right, same sex marriage was brought up, contraception, are those now at risk?
STEVE VLADECK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erica, I mean I think that's a huge question coming out today's decision. Justice Thomas and the three dissenters all think so. Justice Thomas specifically says in his concurring opinion, that he would welcome the opportunity for the court to revisit Griswold versus Connecticut about contraceptives, Lawrence versus Texas, Obergefell versus Hodges, about same sex marriage. And the Liberals point out that he's right.
I mean, Justice Alito's majority opinion, Erica, goes out of its way to say that nothing in the court's analysis directly implicates those other rights. But it's hard to take that seriously when the gravamen of the majority's analysis is that there's no constitutional right to an abortion because there's no deeply rooted historical tradition of protecting a woman's right to choose. If that's the test, if that's the linchpin, it's hard to see why those other rights couldn't be on the chopping block. And Erica, if that's not the test, then as the dissent points out, the majority is being completely hypocritical.
HILL: So Laura, taking all that into account, you know, our colleague Jeffrey Toobin said a short time ago, he says this setting up illegal civil war. I would imagine that those efforts are probably already, you know, ready to go to start that process? What should people be bracing for Laura?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, when this draft legal opinion came down, people thought the writing was on the wall. And here it is clear as day, it's going to be legal chaos. You're going to have interstate battles about how you're going to enforce these laws, let alone the very obvious notion that is the majority opinion stated that apparently, starry decisis is not a straitjacket, that's a quote from the majority opinion.
The notion here and said that you're not held to these notions because you had the opportunity to diverge from or not, it's true. Over the course of history, there have been opinions that have been overturned, Plessy versus Ferguson, for example. There have been wrongly decided decisions, and the court should be able to be nimble to do so.
But the basis and foundationally for why they did so here is not as clear at all, and why? Well, there are 50 years, 50 years worth where people, that means me, my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother's generation, all able to have a right when we woke up this morning having and no longer have because the Supreme Court has decided there is no real right for women to have those choices at the moment of contraception or the moment of conception, excuse me.
And you know, as a prosecutor, Erica, I can't help but wonder, how do you intend for these laws to be enforced? Is there no doctor-patient confidentiality provision any longer? Are you intending for in those courts, we're trying to enforce these laws? Are you going to be able to have access to medical records or interrogate people in the office of the receptionist or the doctor about someone's menstruation?
The womb is actually the site of the so-called crime. So whatever law would be enforced would have to be intrusive and invasive and trying to figure out what has happened there. There are a number of prosecutors already who were saying they will not go forward prosecutions on these cases. But you have to wonder, it's one thing to have the law, the trigger laws that will be there, more than 18 states by the end of the summer likely to have abortion wholly illegal. But how does one enforce this with also taking into consideration one's other privacy interests in the law.
It's going to be legal chaos, forget the legal Civil War, it will be an -- impossible to truly carry out.
HILL: A lot of these questions too that you bring up in terms of how these laws could be enforced, where they start, where they end, those are going to be some of the new political questions that are going to come up. CNN senior political analyst, Nia-Malika Henderson, also with us. Look, this has been a political rallying cry for the conservative right for decades. And they have successfully done what they said they were setting out to do, Nia, in this case.
But the reality of how this is enforced, the reality of the questions which may now arise to those running for office and those in office about how will there now be support, whether it's maternal health support, both mental and physical health support for a woman who is forced to carry a child, perhaps a child, which she knows will not live outside the womb, support for those children after they are born, all of those questions? How much will those start to figure do you think politically in these conversations?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Immediately, they must. Because if you think about the primary reason why women choose to get an abortion, it's financial, something like 70 percent of women who get abortion say it's because they can't afford to have a child. A lot of these women already have children. So the extra financial burden would be just too much for them to bear.
So then you start to look at all the policies in the states that are intent on banning abortion, will they expand the social safety net for women who now in these states will have to carry their babies to turn? They're going to have to get all sorts of medical care. Will there be sort of paid family leave at these jobs? Again, we know that this is going to fall disproportionately on women who are poor of all races, white, black, Latino, Asian, those are the women that are going to face this additional burden.
They maybe they can afford to go to another state where they can get an abortion. And listen, what are the legal implications that might come down to bear on them if they do travel to another state? Think about also the partners of these women. If they're not together, if they're not living in the same household, now, does a man have to start sort of paying child support earlier than they would at this point, as the woman is pregnant? Do they have to pay child support?
I mean, there are all sorts of questions that this opens up for women and families all across this country. It's a new reality for so many people, a new political reality as well. Democrats have never really been able to seize on this issue in the way that Republicans have had over these last many years. Republicans have been intent on making this day a reality. It finally has come. And I think other question for Democrats has always been how much do they want to embrace having abortion be the law of the land? They've been somewhat squeamish on that.
And today, I think they're sort of facing the music of that squeamishness, in some ways, has led to this day where we have two Americas now, one where women can have access to abortion and family planning, and another America where -- will they will not have that right to decide whether or not they want to bring another child into their family.
HILL: CNN's Kaitlan Collins, also with us. She is live at the White House this hour as we wait for reaction from the Biden administration. We know that's coming. But really, I mean, Kaitlan, this picks up perfectly on where Nia just left off, the Democrats, you know, for as much as you may hear some vocal Democrats saying this is important people pay attention. This is something that we care about, here's why you should vote for us.
They have never effectively leveraged that, certainly at the polls in the way that Republicans have. And there has been some criticism over the years that President Biden himself has not been as outspoken, as some of his party would like him to be. How much is that the discussion at this hour, both in the White House behind you, and on Capitol Hill?
COLLINS: Well, it's a really complicated issue for President Biden. He is someone who was a lifelong Catholic. He was opposed to row in the early days of his political career. Obviously, he's been in politics for quite some time. He later came to embrace abortion rights. But, you know, until this draft of this opinion, this ruling that came out today had leaked several weeks ago, President Biden had actually never said the word abortion since he had been in office, since he assumed the presidency.
And so it has been this issue that now of course, he is going to speak on it shortly and weigh in on this. They had been bracing for this moment, knowing that they had a pretty good idea it was coming after that opinion leaked. And so what people will be wanting to hear from the White House today is what President Biden is going to do about it. And to see what his tone is going to be in this speech. Because you heard how furious House Speaker Pelosi was there, as she was commenting on this, calling it a slap in the face of women.
And so now all eyes will look to the White House to see what they are going to do to rally Democrats around this issue and their voters. And we know that they've been preparing some decisions, they may potentially announce a public health emergency. They've been readying the Justice Department for legal challenges in case there is criminalization for people who travel out of state to get an abortion if they can't get one in their state, but they could.
And another, they want to eliminate barriers to that abortion medication. But no executive order that President Biden signs is going to restore the right that was taken away by the Supreme Court today that constitutional right to an abortion. That goes to Democrats on Capitol Hill. So that's going to be the conversation that they're having. But we are expecting to hear from President Biden at some time today. We don't know exactly when yet. The White House hasn't updated his schedule. But they weren't prepared for this moment. They had been putting the final touches on his remarks after meeting privately with a lot of abortion providers, a lot of attorneys general. The Vice President Kamala Harris has been very outspoken on this issue ever since this opinion leaked. And she's been talking about this quite at length. But it will be everyone looking to see what it is the President Biden is going to say in his first response since this monumental ruling came down.
HILL: All right, Kaitlan, thank you.
Stay with us everyone, we have much more as CNN's coverage of this historic day at the Supreme Court continues. Again, if you're just joining us, the court in a six-three decision, the Dobbs versus Jackson Women's Health Organization case overturns Roe versus Wade and 50 years of history. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
HILL: Welcome back if you're just joining us, we are following this historic breaking news, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade with its decision in the Dobbs case today. There was a substantial police presence outside of the Supreme Court right now. You see some live pictures right there on the other side of your screen, protesters gathering. Many of them have been there of course, on and off since this draft opinion was leaked last month. CNN's Whitney Wild is live for us there on the scene. Whitney, what are you hearing from people where you are? What are they telling you?
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a loud crowd. And it's grown a lot. And I'll introduce you to two people that we're speaking with. This is Laurie Miller (ph), she's come from California and we, sorry, sorry about that, so this is this is Laurie Miller (ph). She's coming from California. She's out here today. Laurie, can you talk to me about what brings you out here today and how you're feeling?
LAURIE MILLER, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT (ph): Well, I have a 17-year-old daughter. So it's very important to me that she has a right to choose when she becomes a mother, when she's ready.
WILD: And how do you feel about what you saw today, what you saw out of the Supreme Court?
MILLER (ph): Well, it's terrifying. I don't know what's next. I don't think we have the systems in place to support young women having children when they're not ready.
WILD: What happens now?
MILLER (ph): I think that we can't stop. I think women need to show up to support women's rights.
WILD: And for you, what does that look like? Where you'll be back out at another, you know, another event like this? MILLER (ph): This is the first time I've ever come out. And I would absolutely do it again and encourage my friends to join me.
WILD: Can you talk me through when you woke up this morning and decided to come out? What was that moment like?
MILLER (ph): I was just curious what, you know, I hadn't known what had happened yet. And so I woke up and just came straight here. There was no question I was going anywhere else.
WILD: OK. Laurie, thank you. I appreciate your time very much. OK. All right, I will introduce you to someone else. This is Savannah Craven (ph). She is here in support and is supporting the opinion that come out of the Supreme Court today. So Savannah (ph), can you talk me through what is your personal connection to this issue? And how do you feel about today?
SAVANNAH CRAVEN (ph): Absolutely. So one of my good friends got pregnant, our senior year of high school, she found herself in an unplanned pregnancy. And she had everything and everyone around her telling her that she couldn't do this because she was young, she didn't have enough money. She didn't have the means to have a child at this moment. And I was the only person that was there telling her we didn't know each other very well. We were only a couple of months into our senior year.
And I told her, I was like, you know, I don't know why. But I feel as though you are meant to be a mother to this child. And I am going to be here for you. I am going to support you every single step of the way. You know, no matter what you decide to do, but just know that you are strong enough. Well, the more -- she ended up booking the abortion appointment. And the morning that she was going to take the two-hour drive to our nearest abortion facility, the night before, she had actually filled up her tires with air just to make sure that it was all good, she can make the drive. And she woke up in the morning, she called me while I was in class, and I said I have to answer, obviously.
And she said, she was crying, and she was like, I didn't go, I didn't go. And I was like, you didn't go? And she goes, no, my -- the tire -- the air and my tire was flat. My tire was flat this morning when I went to leave like I feel like this is my sign to keep this child. And she has gone, you know, she has taken her circumstances and just achieved so much. Not only is she an amazing mother to assume to be three-year-old, beautiful little boy, but she is now living in her own place. She's starting school. She has a great job. And she did it.
I want women to know, I want everyone to know that women are stronger than their circumstances. And no matter what situation that you find yourself in the post generation, the prolife generation is here to say you can. Abortion tells women you can't, you can't go to college, you can't achieve your dreams. You have to have the right to end the life of your child so that you can live your dream and I think that's misogyny. And I think that that is disgusting. And I think that we're better than that in 2022. And clearly our justices think so as well.
WILD: Savannah Craven (ph), I appreciate your time very much. Thank you.
CRAVEN (ph): Thank you.
WILD: You know, again, this is a large crowd. This is something that Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies have been preparing for. There's a pretty significant police presence out here today. The big concern, of course, is that opposing groups clash. So Capitol Police have been swooping in anytime they see a little bit of a confrontation, they are separating these two groups. And then further always, the big concern is that domestic violent extremists will use this as an opportunity to as a lone wolf commit an act of violence. That's another thing law enforcement is preparing for here.
But so far, the after the opinion came out, it calmed a little bit, the crowd is getting bigger. So we'll see how the day goes. Back to you Erica.
HILL: All right, we know you continue to keep us updated. Whitney, appreciate it. I also want to let you know we are just learning from the White House that the President is expected to speak at 12:30. So again, stay with us for that. President Biden expected to speak at 12:30. The Supreme Court's decision today marks a major victory for anti-abortion organizations across the country who have been fighting for this for decades.
Joining me now is Mary Szoch. She's the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. Mary, it's good to have you with us. You said in a statement, this is a huge victory. And you also noted quote, we must double our efforts to support mothers and fathers in need. We must support pregnancy resource centers. You talk about financial material and spiritual resources. That's something that has come up a lot especially since this draft opinion was leaked. How will that support increase now with the overturning of Roe v. Wade?
MARY SZOCH, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR HUMAN DIGNITY, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: We have seen the prolife movement is -- has always been a movement that has responded with love and care for moms and dads in need. We're calling upon churches, upon our friends neighbors to support moms and to support these over 2,700 pregnancy resource centers that are across the country. We know that these efforts will double. We know that every mom who is in need and seeks help, will find a friend in the prolife movement.
HILL: So when he talks specifically about that love and care and those centers, they are so important to have, the reality too is beyond love and care, as you know very well. Women and families need financial support. They need medical support. Will you be also lobbying states to make sure that they're on board to step up financial services if needed, if a woman can't work because she has to be on bed rest or is suffering from postpartum depression, social services, how much of that will be part of your effort to make sure that across the board, there are more resources available? SZOCH: Well, we have already seen work from prolife legislators who are passing legislation protecting unborn children and at the same time, working to pass legislation that supports pregnancy resource centers and helps moms and dads in need. The solution to a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy is to walk with her and to equip her with the resources that she needs. And prolife legislators around the country are prepared to do that.
HILL: Can that though, can that go beyond the pregnancy resource centers, right, to A, that could be used by women who maybe are more comfortable sticking with a primary care physician or a clinic in their town?
SZOCH: It certainly can. And the prolife movement has always been supportive of women of them receiving the health care that they need. And I think in the upcoming months and years following this decision, we will see legislation that is incredibly creative from those in the prolife movement that hits the specific needs of women who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
HILL: There's a lot of talk about what we're seeing in certain states, especially states with trigger laws. And some of these newer laws that are being passed or proposed that are on the books where women would be penalized, right, for seeking an abortion perhaps in another state. Those who sought to help women doing that could also be penalized. Do you support those moves? Is that the right way to go about it?
SZOCH: As I said earlier, the prolife movement has always responded in love. We want to work to support women who are in need so that they can achieve their dreams alongside their unborn child. Our solution is support. Our solution is not to attack mothers. We do need to work on passing legislation that protects women from the abuses of the abortion industry that is so often pressuring women into believing that their only option is abortion.
HILL: But just -- and just to be clear there, so you do not support criminalizing for example a woman who may decide to cross state lines or someone who helps her or you do?
SZOCH: The prolife movement has always worked to be supportive of moms and dads in need. We've always worked to provide whatever resources she could possibly need. I think in the upcoming weeks and months, we will see different legislation come about to try to give moms and dads the resources that they do need. We are for protecting and helping women while we protect and help unborn children. The abortion industry should be targeted for the work that they have done over the past 49 years to place unborn children over 60 million unborn children's lives have been taken by the abortion industry. And mothers and fathers hearts have been broken. That is something that American needs to reckon with.
HILL: Mary Szoch, thanks for joining us today.
SZOCH: Thanks so much for having me.
[11:28:48] HILL: There is still much more to come. Again, our breaking news coverage, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, what this means for the country, what it means for you. Our coverage continues in a moment.