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CNN Live Event/Special
Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade; Experts Say Women Of Color Will Be Impacted Most By Abortion Bans; Congress Passes Gun Bill Day After Court Expands Access. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 24, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: I'm Sara Sidner. And this is CNN TONIGHT.
This is the scene, outside the United States Supreme Court, this evening, after one of the most consequential rulings, in modern history, a reversal of a precedent that has been in place, for nearly 50 years. Women in America no longer have a constitutional right to an abortion.
A live look now, at the demonstrations, which have popped up, around the country.
And earlier in the day, when the Supreme Court decision, came down, reversing Roe versus Wade? This is what it looked like, when conservatives, who believe they are saving unborn children, heard the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Happiness, hugging and cheering.
The opposite emotions, from those, who say this is just another way, to control a woman, and limit the choices she can make, about her own life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Supreme Court issued an illegitimate fascist ruling. This decision is an outrage.
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SIDNER: The fight, over the issue, is by no means over. But the decision is already having real-world impact.
Tonight, for the first time, since Richard Nixon was in office, abortion is now illegal, in eight states, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Alabama.
And they will not be the only ones, between states with so-called trigger laws that were designed, to go into effect, for precisely this moment. And states that may be able to use old unenforced bans, more than half of the states could make abortion, illegal, in the coming hours, days and weeks.
Headlines, from across the country. In New Orleans, the city's only abortion clinic, closed by lunchtime. In Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood saw four patients, today. But 70 more were sent home, or had appointments, for tomorrow, canceled. And in Texas, not only have clinics closed, groups that provide financial assistance, to people, seeking abortions, have paused their funding.
Writing for the High Court's majority, in the 5-to-4 decision, Justice Samuel Alito said quote, "Roe 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 of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."
If that section of the opinion sounds familiar, it is because Justice Alito wrote the same thing, word for word, in the draft opinion that was leaked, one that was strikingly similar, overall, to the final product.
In his remarks, condemning today's ruling, President Biden focused on the most recent conservative justices, to join the court, and the man who put them there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's a sad day for the Court and for the country.
Now, with Roe gone, let's be very clear: The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.
It was three justices, named by one President, Donald Trump, who were the core of today's decision, to upend the scales of justice, and eliminate a fundamental right, for women, in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The President also made clear, he has no Executive power, to undo that ruling. Instead, putting the burden on Congress, to try and restore Roe's protections.
House Republicans, meanwhile, are looking at trying to get a 15-week abortion ban passed, on the federal level. Something House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells CNN, he's open to. But, as of tonight, the matter is now one for the states.
I am joined tonight, by Nancy Northup. She is the President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented the Mississippi abortion clinic, at the center of today's Supreme Court ruling. Nancy, welcome.
NANCY NORTHUP, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Thank you.
SIDNER: Nancy, you've anticipated this could happen. A lot of people did, after they saw that leaked document.
Now that it has, can you give me a sense of what that moment was like, when you heard the Supreme Court's decision, knocking down Roe versus Wade? What was that like for you?
NORTHUP: It was absolutely gut-wrenching, even though I intellectually knew this was the decision that was going to come down, from the court.
As soon as I saw on the SCOTUS blog feed that the Dobbs' decision was out, and that it was Justice Alito's opinion, it was clear that it was going to be the version that we had seen, in the leaked draft opinion.
So, it's devastating. The Center for Reproductive Rights represents the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the clinic, in Mississippi, at the center of this case, and other abortion providers, across the country. And our lawyers had to be on the phone, with them, today, talking about what the future holds, because of this decision.
SIDNER: Can I ask you, in a follow-up question, what does the future hold? What is the future of your fight?
NORTHUP: Well, in the very immediate term, it's going to be to try to stop these trigger laws, from going into effect.
13 states have them. And they purport to say that as soon as Roe versus Wade is overturned, that they will be banning abortion. Some say, right away, like Louisiana. Others say, there's maybe 10 days, two weeks.
But we will be seeking to stop those, from going into effect. So, stay tuned for that.
Also, to make sure that at every level of government, and every branch of government, we look to both, the White House, and the Executive branch, for the full ability, to use, their power, to keep abortion access.
We look to states that are going to be able to strengthen their own laws. Michigan's got an issue on the ballot, to protect abortion rights, this fall. That's going to be important. So, we're going to be making sure state constitutions, we're going to be seeking to get those. Many states already have constitutional protections.
It's going to be really, really tough, which is why people, out on the streets, right now, in the United States, making their voices heard, is so incredibly important. SIDNER: We are seeing that, in plenty of places, across the country.
Right now, you're seeing, San Francisco, a very high-up shot of people, in the streets, protesting.
But I do want to talk to you about the other side of this argument. Have you ever tried to understand, to empathize, with the point of view that many conservatives certainly take, and those who are against the abortions being legal, that they're on the side of the unborn, because the unborn cannot speak for themselves?
NORTHUP: The Supreme Court has made clear, and this debate, which has gone on for decades, people have strong feelings, on both sides of it.
But the Supreme Court, in the Roe decision, and again, they asked this very issue, 30 years ago, in Planned Parenthood versus Casey, "What do you do when there's such division of opinion?"
And the court has reached a compromise, previously, in its decisions, where it recognizes how central, to a woman's health, and her life, and her future plan, it is to be able to control the pregnancy, and had recognized that the state could regulate some, in abortion, because of the interest, in developing embryonic and fetal life.
So, that was a compromise, as Justice Breyer has talked about it. And the court upset that today, and completely removed, the pregnant person's side of the equation, completely removed it.
SIDNER: Abortion clinics, across the South and Midwest, have already started to close, as you had mentioned. In your estimation, what does this mean, for some women, who live in those states, for their reproductive health? And for those who want an abortion, what does it mean for them?
NORTHUP: Look, it means that people, who are seeking abortion care, are going to have to leave their states, traveling hundreds or maybe thousands of miles, if they have the means to do so.
Now, luckily, we have employers, companies that are stepping up, and saying they're going to cover their employees' ability, to do that. Others will rely on abortion funds, which are important, to support people, having to leave the state. But some aren't going to have the means to do so. And they're going to be forced to carry their pregnancies, to term.
And the other thing that people might not realize is that, for women, who are miscarrying that this is going to get them caught up. And we already saw this, in Texas, with its extreme ban that was previously and currently in effect, that they get caught up, with not being able to get the care, they need, for miscarriage management, because of the chilling effect of abortion bans.
So, as soon as you start criminalizing abortion, you're making every miscarriage, possibly a crime scene. And this is why, it is so clear that none of this should be part of the criminal law. It should be part of medical care, between a patient and their doctor. SIDNER: You had mentioned the trigger laws. There already are abortion bans, being implemented. 13 states have those laws, in place. 13 will likely follow. And conservatives are already talking about getting a federal law ban, on abortions, up to 15 weeks.
What will be your move? Because this is definitely clear that the fight is not over. And there are people, who feel very deeply, and strongly, and have very strong convictions that they want abortion to end, in this country.
NORTHUP: Well, the vast majority, as recent polls have shown, in fact, we're at all-time high, of people in the United States that want access to abortion, to be legal.
And the fight will continue. It will continue, at the state level. It will continue in ballot initiatives. It will continue in the courts, with state constitutional protections, and it will continue at the federal level.
The President said today that the Administration would be looking, to protect abortion access. He referenced both medication abortion, and also the ability, for people, to go to other states.
And look, the United States, is an enormous outlier, to the rest of the world, which has been moving forward. In the last 30 years, 60 countries have liberalized their abortion laws. Today, we went backward, way behind the rest of the world. And we're seeing outrage, from around the world, about this decision.
SIDNER: Of course, the folks, on the other side of this, think that this is a great day, in America!
Nancy Northup, thank you so much, for taking the time, to speak with us.
SIDNER: Please stick with us. In just a bit, we have a passionate panel of women, with very different views, on the Supreme Court's Roe versus Wade decision. Between them, one is celebrating. The others, infuriated.
But first, one of the most well-known political candidates, in the State of Georgia, looking to ban abortion, Stacey Abrams, is now going to join me, in the next break.
SIDNER: Some health experts are warning that the overturning of Roe versus Wade will worsen maternal death rates.
The U.S. already has the highest maternal mortality rate, among developed nations. And Black women are three times more likely, to die in pregnancy, or childbirth, than White women.
The mortality crisis is especially hard in the State of Georgia, where the racial disparities, in health care, are even worse, and maternal death rates are the second highest, in the United States.
Joining me now, is Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee, for Georgia governor.
We should also mention that we invited your opposite on, from the Republican side of things. And he declined.
I want to start with what we are seeing, right now, from the Supreme Court. There are people, out in droves, protesting the Roe versus Wade decision. But there are some also out celebrating it.
I want to get your reaction, on today's ruling, and what it will mean, for the women, in your state, especially in your view, the women of color.
STACEY ABRAMS, (D) GEORGIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: It's dangerous. It is appalling. I am angry. But I'm also committed.
We know that Georgia has - we have - our population is 33 percent African American. And, as you pointed out, Black women face three times higher maternal mortality rate, than their White counterparts. For Hispanic women, it's nearly the same. And we have two of the largest populations, in the state.
We also are ranked near the bottom, in terms of access to health care. We are number two, in the number of uninsured. We have a very broken health care system. We have refused to expand Medicaid. Our maternal mortality rates are extraordinary. We are number six, in terms of infant mortality.
And what all of this means, is that we have a health care system that is not equipped, to do the very job it should do. And now, we're going to add additional pressure, by not only denying women, access to medical care, but we're also going to criminalize, and prosecute doctors, for providing that care. That is setting up a situation, where Georgia becomes dangerous for women. And that is untenable.
SIDNER: That's a really strong statement that you're saying your state becomes, and as you put it, "Dangerous for women."
I want to talk about a recent poll, out of Georgia. It shows that 68 percent of Georgia voters oppose the Supreme Court's action today. 54 percent are also against the State's six-week abortion ban, which is sure to be reinstated.
Governor Kemp has vowed to go further. He said he wants to outdo other governors, in passing the toughest anti-abortion laws.
What does this mean for your political run? And do you, or anytime in your life, did you think that abortion should be illegal?
ABRAMS: And let's start with that part of the question. I was very much on the side of anti-abortion, through much of my upbringing. I grew up in Mississippi, in a very religious family, in a religious community. And I was raised to have a very uncritical eye, to this question.
Once I started really thinking about what it meant? And more importantly, when I had a friend, who had to confront the very real consequences, of an unwanted pregnancy, and I wasn't able to be of any help to her? I had to reevaluate, where I stood.
I understand the sincere concerns. But those are religious concerns, or often concerns, driven by personal morality. And that should be your choice. But abortion is a medical issue. It is about a medical decision. And there is no place, in that medical decision, for ideology, or for politicians.
And so, the question of what we should do? Politics is about how we make choices, in a democracy. And, in our country, and, as of today, that choice has to be made by the governors, in each of our states.
The Governor of Georgia has already said, he does not care about women, and their bodily autonomy. He does not care about their health.
Because he not only has already adopted, and signed into law, the most restrictive abortion law, in Georgia's history, with the constrictions at six weeks. He has said in interviews that he intends that he also supports eliminating access, for incest and rape.
This is someone who cannot be trusted to simply stop at the water's edge. He is going to go further and further. And anyone who doubts it, simply has to listen to his words.
For women, in Georgia, especially women of color, in Georgia, Brian Kemp is dangerous. He does not intend to protect women, or their bodies. And worse, he does not intend to provide them, with the health care they need. He refuses to expand Medicaid, although we can afford it. He refuses to do what's right, for the women of Georgia.
This is the same man, who claims to care about women and children, who was throwing away thousands of canisters of baby formula, as recently as a month ago, because he does not care what happens after birth. He does not care about what happens to our communities.
And I would dare anyone, to look at his record, and to look at his rhetoric, and tell me how this is someone, who should be in charge, of the lives of women, in the State of Georgia.
SIDNER: I do not speak for Governor Kemp. But I know that he would push back, to say that he does very much care, about women and families.
You are saying, in your view that when you look at some of the things that he has said, and some of the legislation he's pushing forward, you completely disagree. I'd like to turn to another major issue, brought up by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress finally passed bipartisan gun reforms, today, which you've called an important step.
We also though, have this ruling by the Supreme Court that basically says states can't really regulate, guns, especially when it comes to being able to just carry them around in the streets.
What do you think are the challenges, going forward, in Georgia, and the rest of the country?
ABRAMS: And I think this goes to my earlier point.
And I appreciate the evenhandedness that you're taking. But let's be clear. I'm not speaking from rhetorical space. I'm speaking from the record that we have seen in Georgia.
On the issue of gun violence, in the State of Georgia, my opponent, in the face of opposition, from law enforcement, eased gun laws, in the State of Georgia, after a massacre, just a year ago.
He has taken steps to make it easier, for criminals, to carry weapons, for those who have domestic violence convictions, to carry weapons, for those who have mental health concerns, to carry weapons, in the streets. His hypocrisy is what I want people to look at.
And what we know, is that what the Supreme Court has done, is still less than what Georgia has already done. Supreme Court did, by rolling back New York's laws, made it less safe for New Yorkers. But Brian Kemp has already done that, here in the State of Georgia.
And my deep concern is that you cannot claim, to care about the people, in your state, and take actions, using the law, to limit their protection, to undercut their safety, and to place them in harm's way. That contradiction, and that hypocrisy, to me, is unfathomable.
And we know that if you look at his record? Put my rhetoric aside. Put his rhetoric aside. His record does not show a concern, for the life and welfare, of Georgians. There are those, people speak up for. But too often, in our State, the people who are the most vulnerable, who are the most fragile, or who are in the most need of assistance, do not receive it.
And whether we're talking about babies trying to get formula, or women, who simply want to survive? His decisions are harming them. And for communities that are afraid of gun violence, which has increased under his watch? He has made it easier, not harder, to carry those very weapons of violence that have put our communities, in the harm's way.
SIDNER: Stacey Abrams, I appreciate you coming on. You're the Democratic nominee, for the Governor of Georgia.
And I do want to again, extend a request, from Governor Kemp. Come on the show. We will talk through this.
Thank you so much for being here, Stacey.
ABRAMS: Thank you for having me.
SIDNER: We're watching the scenes, outside the Supreme Court, and throughout the nation, on this extraordinary night.
Ahead, we'll look at what's next, for the court, as Justice Thomas looks at revisiting, potentially, other major rulings. And what do Democrats do, after this massive defeat, for reproductive rights?
We'll have the conversation when CNN TONIGHT returns.
SIDNER: Two precedent-setting decisions, erased in about 24 hours. Roe was the law of the land, for nearly 50 years. And the New York gun law, was on the books, for more than a century.
We watched, as legal history was rewritten, by justices, who once said they wouldn't dare change long-held precedent.
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JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: It is a precedent that has now been on the books, for several decades. It has been challenged, it has been reaffirmed.
JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Part of being a good judge, is coming in, and taking precedent, as it stands.
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade.
GORSUCH: A fetus is not a person.
That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: We should note. Before all this, confidence, in the U.S. Supreme Court, had hit a historic low, down 11 percent, from just one year ago.
We have lots to talk about, as I'm joined by CNN Legal Analyst, Jennifer Rodgers, former congresswoman, Abby Finkenauer, and Conservative Commentator, Carrie Sheffield.
Ladies, thank you so much for being here. It is a incredibly emotional night, for a lot of people, on both sides of the aisle.
I'm going to start with you, Jennifer. In Roe versus Wade, the justices said that abortion was a constitutional right. Now, the justices are saying, it is absolutely not a constitutional right. It is now up to the states.
Is this the first time that the Supreme Court made a decision, saying something was constitutional, and has taken that back?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, NYU LAW SCHOOL, LECTURER IN LAW, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: Well, it's the first time that the court has affirmatively recognized, a constitutional right that it said is new, or just newly discovered.
So, in Roe, they said, there is now, for the first time, a constitutional right, to abortion, grounded in the right to privacy. That was the first time that had been said.
Now, 49 years later, they're saying "Hey, wait a minute. When we said that, and then when we reaffirmed it, again, and again, and again, over all these years, across all these different Supreme Courts, we were wrong. We didn't mean it. We're taking it back." It's the first time that that has ever happened.
SIDNER: When you saw what happened, Carrie, what did you think?
And what do you think about this argument that this is a precedent- setting case? And you heard the justices there, saying, "We would not mess with precedent. Precedent is precedent. And we're going to leave it as it is."
But that's not what happened today!
CARRIE SHEFFIELD, FELLOW, STEAMBOAT INSTITUTE, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Sure. So, I rejoiced. I felt like we finally had justice, for the unborn, the preborn children. And so, I felt deep gratitude that this has been finally recognized, after 50 years, of striving, and fighting, for this moment.
In terms of the precedent, I think, what I've heard from people, who work, and have worked with these justices, they said that they would respect precedent. But just because you understand or respect precedent does not mean that precedent should stand.
For example, in the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, which established separate but equal? That was in 1896. And it was overturned with the Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, many decades later.
And so, certainly understanding the precedent is by no means ironclad that there is a moral weight, and a moral right, that the personhood of the child that is preborn, should be recognized, as something that is enumerated, to the states.
And so, the word, the enumeration, within the Constitution, which I have right here, tonight, it is a--
SIDNER: I saw.
SHEFFIELD: --it is an enumerated--
SHEFFIELD: --right that the states have. Anything that is not enumerated to the federal government shall be with the states. And that is what we see here.
SIDNER: So, let me ask you this. Because the states are doing this, right? This is now up to the states. But there are Republicans, trying to push forward, a federal ban, on abortions that are more than 15 weeks.
Do you agree that a federal ban should be put in place?
SHEFFIELD: Well, I think what's important to just take a step back and note that if you're - if you're living in California, or New York, or the more progressive areas?
SHEFFIELD: Nothing will change. This is where things are. And I think when you're talking about--
ABBY FINKENAUER, (D) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE - IOWA: Wait, wait, wait, when you're talking about--
RODGERS: I mean--
SIDNER: I knew this was going to happen.
FINKENAUER: You literally decided?
SIDNER: So, you don't - but do you think that - just yes or no? Should this be also a federal ban, eventually, in your mind?
SHEFFIELD: Well, I personally prefer that. But I know that people on the other side don't prefer that. And so, that is the beauty of federalism, to say, there will - the people will migrate. They will vote with their feet at the end of the day. So, as much as I would like to see a federal ban, I know that that is politically unlikely. And so, that I think it's the best compromise.
And, in fact, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that she--
FINKENAUER: Do not bring her. Do not say her name tonight--
SHEFFIELD: Let me quote. Let me quote her.
FINKENAUER: --from your mouth, after what you just said.
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me.
FINKENAUER: You are literally--
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me.
FINKENAUER: --you cited a case from 1896--
SIDNER: I'm going to - I'm going to let - I'm going to go to Abby.
SHEFFIELD: You're being very disrespectful.
SIDNER: I'll go to Abby.
FINKENAUER: You literally just--
SHEFFIELD: She asked me a question.
FINKENAUER: --cited a case, from 1896, before women had the right to vote, in this country.
What happened today is absolutely horrifying. And every single person, in this country, including you, who is celebrating, today, about this overturning? You support a 12-year-old, who's been raped, to have to actually carry her pregnancy, to term. That is what you support.
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me.
FINKENAUER: You support women, dying in this country, if they have an ectopic pregnancy, because that is what--
SHEFFIELD: No, I don't.
FINKENAUER: --will happen.
SHEFFIELD: You're putting words in my mouth.
FINKENAUER: But you do.
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me.
FINKENAUER: That is what you support.
SHEFFIELD: That is not OK--
SIDNER: Hold on, ladies.
FINKENAUER: That is what you support--
SHEFFIELD: --for you to put words in my mouth.
FINKENAUER: --when you celebrate overturning Roe.
SIDNER: Let me just in (ph).
SHEFFIELD: I never said anything about ectopic pregnancy.
FINKENAUER: Because that is what this decision--
SHEFFIELD: I'm sorry.
FINKENAUER: --has caused.
SHEFFIELD: But you have been very aggressive--
FINKENAUER: That is what this decision has caused.
SIDNER: All right. Hold on a second.
SHEFFIELD: --and putting words in my mouth. You're being very disrespectful.
SIDNER: Hold on. Hold on.
FINKENAUER: Because that--
FINKENAUER: You taking away my rights, and supporting it, is disrespectful.
SIDNER: So, Abby makes one point about Plessy versus Ferguson. And I have heard this argument before. I think everyone has heard the argument that this was back in the 1800s. And then, 54 years later, Brown versus Board of Education came up, and a decision was made that reversed that.
I do want to ask you, Abby, what do you think about that particular argument? Because all Americans, probably at this point, I would say, most Americans, think that was the right decision. And what Carrie is saying is this is also a moral decision. And this is--
FINKENAUER: Well you can--
SIDNER: --this is the right decision.
FINKENAUER: --you can have your moral decisions, and your moral beliefs, sincerely. Your religious beliefs, your moral beliefs, you should be able to have those in this country. It is the United States of America, and you should be able to act on your moral and religious beliefs.
But what I am asking, tonight, is that people wake up, in this country, and respect me, respect women, across this country, our choices, respect doctors. That is what this about. Literally, women will die. That is what's happening.
When Roe, again, is being overturned, today, you will have 12-year- olds, having to carry a rapist pregnancy, to term.
SHEFFIELD: The answer to violence--
FINKENAUER: That is what is happening.
SHEFFIELD: --is not more violence.
FINKENAUER: That is what is happening. I'll--
SHEFFIELD: Abortion is violence. Abortion is violence to an unborn child.
FINKENAUER: Forcing forced birth is violence.
SHEFFIELD: Abortion is a violence.
SIDNER: OK. So, we've got the--
SHEFFIELD: It is a violence (ph).
FINKENAUER: Forced - it's taking--
SIDNER: --we've got two very strong arguments.
SIDNER: And, to be fair, in this country--
RODGERS: I'll answer a legal question, if you want me to.
SIDNER: --both arguments have been so strongly put on the table.
You can talk to anybody about it. If they're on either side of this, you're going to get this. And so, I do applaud you for caring so much about this issue, because it is a, issue that deeply affects women, and ostensibly children.
All right, the legal side of this, because we talked about Plessy versus Ferguson, Brown versus Board of Education?
SIDNER: Weigh in on that argument.
RODGERS: So, if you're going to overturn a precedent, right? Stare decisis, supposed to be one of the fundamental foundational things that the Supreme Court is based on.
That's what Justice Roberts says, in his concurring opinion, which is why he doesn't - he didn't want to go as far as to overturn Roe versus Wade, because judicial restraint, as stare decisis dictated that they not do that. But they did anyway.
So, the difference between what happened today, and what happened, in Brown v. Board of Education, is that Plessy v. Ferguson was a decision that was made that didn't - it didn't grant a right, but it didn't take away a right, like it just--
SIDNER: So, it didn't grant a constitutional right?
RODGERS: It didn't grant a constitutional right.
SIDNER: But it created a situation.
RODGERS: All these years later, the court said, "Hey, you know what? We got that wrong, when we made that decision. We now, all these years later, with society having changed, and us, frankly having, understood the rights," it was a racial discrimination case, of course, "we now are making the right decision, in overturning that wrong decision."
But they didn't take away a right that had been granted. Today, the court really goes backwards.
So in other words, in Board - Brown, they're moving forward. They're moving forward, with the progress of society.
Today, we're moving backwards, more than 50 years, saying "You had a right, women, for all those years. It was great. But guess what? It's gone now." That's moving us backwards, against the will of society, which is very much in favor, of safe and legal abortions.
SIDNER: We're going to talk about that in a minute. Carrie, I'll let you weigh in on that.
SHEFFIELD: Sure. Well--
SIDNER: But not yet. We're going to go to the break, real quick.
SIDNER: Jennifer, Abby, Carrie, we're going to stick with you. We're going to keep talking, about this, because this is something that has really affected, everyone, not just women, in this country.
SIDNER: Continuing our conversation, now, with Jennifer Rodgers, Abby Finkenauer, and Carrie Sheffield.
It's been heated. I want to take a moment, to look at what every day Americans think.
And the polling, time after, again, has shown that Americans, in general, thought that Roe should stand, with some caveats that there should be some restrictions. A lot of people, when you talk to them, about their feelings, about it, it changes a little, but in general.
So, do you think that this is the minority leading the majority? In other words, that the Supreme Court has taken the side of people in the minority, when the majority of Americans actually believe that Roe should be the law of the land, with the caveat of some restrictions on abortion, Carrie? SHEFFIELD: Right. Well, and those restrictions are key. And so, Gallup has tracked this, for decades. And when you see, there's a spectrum, in terms of intensity, and propensity, to support abortion, or be pro- life, that the longer the gestation period, that the weaker the support for abortion becomes.
And so, once you hit about after the first trimester, it then becomes a majority of Americans, who say they support restrictions, on abortion. And so, at that point, at what point is that the minority leading majority, to say that this is a federal right? It is not a federal right.
And I do want to quote Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She said that the Roe decision "Halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue."
So, I think what we have in the states? And again, you're going to have a much higher propensity, in a state, where I'm from, Missouri, for example, which has one of these trigger laws.
SHEFFIELD: And I applaud it. I think it's great, in my home state. Whereas in New York, or in California, this is, I believe, the way forward. And unfortunately, Roe was actually a monkey wrench, in all this process.
SIDNER: That is not - she's not the only person that brought that up. But it was clear that Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought that Roe should be a law of the land, even though that argument - that legal argument had been made, by others that when this decision was made, it caused ascension. The states were already going this way.
What do you make, of this idea that a lot of people, in our country, when they are polled, say that Roe should stand, even though, as we talked about, there should be restrictions? And yet, it's now not the law of the land. It is now up to the states.
FINKENAUER: Look, I think it's imperative right now that Democrats, in particular, people who care about freedom, care about women, and our health care, get very loud, but very, very honest, about what this really, really means.
I mean, we've had conservatives, talking about the extremes, and all of that, for all of these years. I remember running for office, in 2018, the attacks used against me, were basically saying, I was ripping babies, out of wombs, and selling their body parts, on the street corner. That's absurd. Those are lies.
We don't need lies. We just have facts. And the fact is, right now, because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, again, you will have children, who are raped, having to carry a pregnancy, to term, in this country. Women will die. That is what this decision means. And if you support the overturning of Roe, today? You support those things happening. That is the fact, because that is what will happen, in Kentucky. That's what's going to happen in Oklahoma. That is what's going to happen, quite frankly, in states like Iowa, where you're going to have these governors, who are conservatives, tripping over themselves, just trying to get to the furthest right, as they can, because they want to run for president, next, or they want to be the vice president, next. That is what's going to happen. And again, women will die.
SIDNER: In states--
SHEFFIELD: You are inflaming--
SIDNER: Hold on a second. Hold on a second.
SHEFFIELD: --and using rhetoric that is untrue.
FINKENAUER: Oh, come on!
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me. I let you speak, without interrupting you.
FINKENAUER: You're saying we're (ph) playing for years.
SHEFFIELD: I did not interrupt you.
FINKENAUER: I am state - I am stating facts.
SHEFFIELD: Excuse me. No. You want to truth about--
FINKENAUER: I am stating facts.
SHEFFIELD: --you brought up ectopic pregnancies up.
FINKENAUER: I am stating facts
SHEFFIELD: Planned Parenthood says that ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. It is a - it is--
FINKENAUER: It is an abortion.
SHEFFIELD: No, it is not an abortion. No.
FINKENAUER: It is an abortion.
SHEFFIELD: Check with Planned Parenthood.
FINKENAUER: It is an abortion.
SHEFFIELD: Mayo Clinic says that it's not an abortion. It is not.
FINKENAUER: Medical care for women--
SIDNER: All right.
SHEFFIELD: No, it is not. FINKENAUER: --is complicated.
RODGERS: We're going to leave it there, ladies.
SHEFFIELD: It's not an abortion.
SIDNER: Ladies, we're going to leave it there.
SHEFFIELD: Absolutely not at all.
SIDNER: Because we have another big issue.
FINKENAUER: What you're saying is that adults have the right to--
SHEFFIELD: That is not correct (ph).
SIDNER: Because we have another big issue to talk about.
Guys? Guys? Guys?
FINKENAUER: Do you support a 12-year-old having to carry--
SHEFFIELD: I support--
SHEFFIELD: --a pregnancy to term?
SIDNER: Let's stop here, because I know what your answer is going to be.
We're going to talk about another issue that came up that isn't just about abortion. It is about something Justice Thomas said. He made big news. Because, if you start reading this decision, he's talks about, and argues that other precedent-setting cases should be revisited, like contraception, like gay marriage.
I got to ask you, and I'm going to ask this to all of you, but first to Carrie, because you're the legal mind here. Does this hurt the legitimacy of the Supreme Court?
RODGERS: Well, it seems to. I mean, they're--
SIDNER: Well, not Carrie, I'm sorry.
RODGERS: Jennifer. Yes.
RODGERS: Their approval ratings are certainly way, way down. And part of it is just the inconsistency that you see.
I mean, we talk about states' rights. And yet, yesterday, the Supreme Court came out with this big decision, saying, "Oh States, you know you would like to do what you want with concealed carry, and guns. But we're not going to let you, because we're going to declare that despite not being in the text of the Constitution, everyone has a right to carry whatever they want, outside of the home."
Today, the court goes in the opposite direction, and says "States, you no longer can do what you want," or "No, you can't do what you want, with respect to abortion. There's no federal right."
So, some of it is the inconsistency. But some of it is this just flat- out, at least he's honest, statement, by Justice Thomas, saying, "We're not done. And we've got a lot more things to do. We've knocked out abortion, which is based on the right to privacy."
There is no principled legal distinction between abortions' right to privacy, and the gay marriage, the same-sex, sexual conduct, right to privacy, even the contraception right to privacy. These are all based on the same thing that the court has now said, "No longer exists."
People don't like that. People don't want to think that their right to go out and get contraception, even as a married couple, can be taken away from them.
And the distinction they try to make? They say abortion is different. Why? Because abortion is a tough moral question. It's a moral issue for people.
SIDNER: But the Court is supposed to be doing the legal question, correct?
RODGERS: But, you know what else, is a moral question, for a lot of those same people? Contraception, gay rights.
RODGERS: The same people will find a moral question, a serious moral question, with those things, too.
And so Thomas, at least is telling us where he wants to go, however many justice he can get with him. But let me tell you, this is not the Roberts' Court anymore. This is the Thomas and Alito court, and they're going to get at least some of those people, on this ride, to take away all of these other rights too.
SIDNER: Carrie, I know that you agree with this court. You like the way it's going. A lot of conservatives do. Most conservatives do.
Abby, I know where you stand. I know where you stand.
We will continue this conversation, over the next days and weeks. Thank you all three, for being here, and just being so knowledgeable, and so passionate. We're going to have someone coming up. A unique perspective, really, on this week's action, on gun violence legislation, in Congress, and the Supreme Court. I'll be joined by a doctor, who is not only seeing the crisis, in the emergency room, but he is also a survivor, himself, of gun violence. That is coming up, next.
SIDNER: Congress just did what many thought was unthinkable. They passed a bipartisan gun bill. This, just a day after the Supreme Court expanded access, to firearms. The concern now is about how these actions will affect the rise in gun violence.
My next guest knows the consequences, far too well. Dr. Joseph Sakran is the Director of Emergency General Surgery, at Johns Hopkins.
Doctor, I really appreciate you coming in, on this day.
DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY GENERAL SURGERY, JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL: Yes. Thanks so much for having me, Sara.
SIDNER: First of all, I want to just explain a little bit, about your story.
SIDNER: You don't just treat people, and you are not just familiar with people, who have injuries, and sometimes die, from being shot. You yourself experienced it. Can you tell us what that was like for you?
SAKRAN: Yes, I mean, so look, I come to this conversation, as someone who, as a 17-year-old high school student, went from a healthy teenager, to collateral damage, after I was nearly killed, when I was shot, in the throat, with a .38-caliber bullet.
And, I think, when something like that happens, for me, at least, it inspired me to go into medicine, and inspired me to become a trauma surgeon, because I was trying to give other people the same second chance that I was given.
And, I think, Sara, as time progressed, I started to realize that we need to be thinking beyond our trauma center, beyond the operating room.
Because as good of a trauma surgeon that I think I am, as incredible as my team is, the reality is the best medical treatment is prevention. And that's why we've been working at this intersection of medicine, public health, and public policy, to try to make that happen.
SIDNER: Can I ask you what it is that we all, who are not dealing, with this kind of trauma, of people coming in, with gunshot wounds, what are you seeing, and what are other doctors seeing, around the country?
Whether they're in rural places, where there isn't care, close by, or whether they're in big cities, like Chicago, or New York, or Oakland, or Los Angeles, and they have large numbers of people, who are getting shot, on a regular basis? What kind of injuries? What are we missing? What kind of things happen to the body?
SAKRAN: Well, so, I think, let me just first say that, when we talk about this, we often talk about this, as it relates to the mass shootings, right?
SAKRAN: But what we, as health care professionals, as trauma surgeons see, is the everyday toll of gun violence.
And I can tell you, it's operating on children that have been shot, because of an unlocked and loaded weapon.
It's having to deliver a baby, in a pregnant mom that was shot and killed.
It's trying to operate on high school students that are bleeding, and have pulverized bone, and ripped arteries, because of assault weapons. It's a variety of the spectrums.
And every day, in cities, like Baltimore, and Chicago, and Philadelphia, we have young Black men that are being killed, on our streets.
And so, we have a responsibility, to kind of elevate, and tell those stories, because we, as health care professionals are seeing this every day.
And I'll tell you, when we were in the Senate, the other night, getting ready to witness?
SIDNER: We should mention that. You were there in the Senate, when the Senate was passing this bill.
SIDNER: What was that moment like? Because most people said, nothing's going to be done. 19 children slaughtered, blown to bits, with an AR- style rifle, and nobody cares, just like when Sandy Hook happened. And then, something did happen.
What do you think--
SIDNER: --about the legislation?
SAKRAN: I mean, I think - let me just first say, I think it's historic. I think it's historic. And I think it's the first step, right? SIDNER: Yes.
SAKRAN: Like any complex public health problem, we need a variety of issues is going to tackle this.
And when I was sitting there, in the Senate committee hearing, waiting to be ushered into the Gallery, I looked around, and I saw survivors, right, people that had lost their children, children that have lost their parents, right, people that had been shot themselves, all in this room, waiting for this historic moment.
For nearly 30 years, right, we've been begging the Senate, and Congress, to pass meaningful commonsense law.
SIDNER: Do you think this was meaningful?
SAKRAN: I do think it was meaningful. And I think--
SIDNER: But more needs to happen?
SIDNER: Is that where you are?
SAKRAN: Exactly, but more needs to happen. And I'll tell you what. We saw both Democrats, and Republicans, come together on this. The commonality that exists in America is tremendous. And I think that sometimes doesn't gets seen.
SIDNER: Dr. Sakran, thank you so much, for coming in.
SIDNER: And explaining your story, from your perspective.
SIDNER: As a trauma surgeon. Appreciate it.
SAKRAN: Thanks so much, for having me, Sara.
SIDNER: All right. We'll be right back.
SIDNER: Thank you so much, for sticking with me. I will be back here, 9 o'clock, Monday night.
"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.