NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Following the Supreme Court's decision on Dobbs v. Jackson to overturn Roe v. Wade, politicians from across the state are reacting.
This is a live article that will be updated as their comments come in.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee:
“Today’s landmark Supreme Court decision marks the beginning of a hopeful, new chapter for our country,” said Gov. Lee. “After years of heartfelt prayer and thoughtful policy, America has an historic opportunity to support women, children and strong families while reconciling the pain and loss caused by Roe v. Wade. We have spent years preparing for the possibility that authority would return to the states, and Tennessee’s laws will provide the maximum possible protection for both mother and child. In the coming days, we will address the full impacts of this decision for Tennessee.”
U.S. Rep. John Rose released the following statement:
“Today’s ruling will ensure a brighter future for our country, one built on life and a new generation of hope. The high court was right to return this decision to state legislatures and Congress. Tens of millions of voices have been silenced since a liberal, activist court ruled, incorrectly, that the right to an abortion is implied in the 14th amendment in its 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade. There is more work to be done, and I will proudly continue the fight to protect life.”
Majority Leader William Lamberth and Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison on behalf of the House Republican Caucus:
"Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling ends a 50-year-long national tragedy that deprived 63 million innocent human beings of life. For decades, Republicans have fought to advance and uphold the pro-life and pro-family values held by an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans. Today, we celebrate a momentous victory. We applaud the justices for their wisdom in recognizing a vulnerable baby still in its mother’s womb is a precious life worthy of protection. Tennessee House Republicans continue our unwavering commitment to fight for families and defend the defenseless."
The Tennessee Democratic Party:
“This decision is a direct assault on the rights of Tennesseeans. The Court's interpretation of the constitution on this issue is flawed and a direct insertion of political activism on the highest court in the land. This decision made by a conservative majority on the court, will empower a radical majority serving in state legislatures across the country. Politicians will be even more emboldened by this decision to impose their most restrictive views on us. Today, an essential and lifesaving freedom was discarded by a court installed to protect it.” - Hendrell Remus, TNDP Chair
Clearly, this is a blow to Americans everywhere, but in Tennessee, abortion is most at risk due to a trigger law that will outlaw abortion without the federal right. This trigger law now criminalizes any abortion unless necessary to prevent death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” The abortion ban puts millions of Tennesseeans in danger and takes away their bodily autonomy.
“We are going to keep pushing back against anti-choice representatives and legislation any chance we get. The Tennessee Democratic Party will work to support pro-choice candidates and legislators as well as abortion rights groups in state. We’re prepared to fight for the safety and autonomy of Tennesseeans.” - Brit Bender, TNDP Executive Director
Rep. Susan Lynn:
“This is a righteous decision by the Supreme Court and a long time in coming. In 30 days Tennessee's trigger bill will go into effect. That is the bill I sponsored in the House which we received great support from the members.“
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.):
“Having worked alongside Tennesseans to protect the innocent lives of unborn children for years, I applaud today’s Supreme Court ruling. Despite false claims from the left, this decision will not ban abortion. Instead, it returns the decision to the states and empowers state legislatures with more flexibility to craft policy through the democratic process,” said Senator Blackburn. “It is unacceptable that a draft opinion was leaked in advance and that the person responsible has not been caught. The leaker has jeopardized the safety of our justices, and threats of violence by the radical militant mob are unacceptable. We appreciate the brave law enforcement officers working overtime to protect our justices and their families.”
Mayor John Cooper:
“I am horrified that the Supreme Court would overturn precedent that’s been on the books for fifty years. I remain firmly in support of protecting women’s health care and a person’s right to choose. The legislature in Tennessee has decided to make it harder for women to access the care that they need -- that is not who Nashville is. We strive to be a place where everyone – no matter your zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, income, or belief can live and thrive. It’s why people and businesses from all over the world move to Nashville. Today, I stand with the people of Nashville and Davidson County who have just had a fundamental right taken away from them.”
Tennessee House Minority Leader Karen Camper:
“I have often said that abortion is a complicated and very personal decision. And I personally believe that we don’t spend enough time on finding solutions to the reasons why some people have to have abortions. However, this ruling means that in Tennessee, all abortions will be criminalized, including for victims of rape and incest. Women should have the right to make their own, personal healthcare decisions. This is an unfortunate decision based on politics instead of established law and, according to the vast majority of polls, the will of people.”
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader and State Senator Jack Johnson:
I’m grateful to #SCOTUS for overturning Roe & allowing states like ours to firmly stand on the side of life.— Jack Johnson (@SenJohnson) June 24, 2022
I've worked hard to protect the sanctity of human life, and I will continue to fight to ensure every child’s God-given right to life. #ProLifeALWAYS
United States Senator Bill Hagerty :
“I believe we have a moral duty to protect unborn children who cannot protect themselves. Today is a consequential day, not only for those who believe that all life is a precious gift, but also for American democracy and the rule of law. This decision doesn’t ban abortion—it simply returns decision-making on abortion to the people. That’s how it should be in a republic—matters not addressed by the Constitution should be decided by the people through their elected representatives, not by nine unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I will continue to strongly advocate for pro-life policies that safeguard our children and our families.”
Roe has just been overturned. I am angry and heartbroken. We must reject government's control over our bodies and medical decisions. We must fight back. Now more than ever, we must elect more pro-choice women! Join me and other candidates today at 3:30 CT at the People's Plaza. pic.twitter.com/YJHslvRbec— Charlane Oliver (@CharlaneOliver) June 24, 2022
Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vincent Dixie:
“This a sad day for this country. The Supreme Court was once the place that Americans could turn to for justice. The women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the disabled community and the LGBTQ community all turned to the High Court to have their basic human rights affirmed. However today, politics overruled justice. Today, the black robes of the Supreme Court turned red and politics ruled the day. Now, we have to fight back and the best place to do that is at the ballot box. We have fewer than a dozen days now to register to vote in Tennessee and I urge everyone to let their voices be heard in this year’s upcoming election.”
Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05):
“This has to be a wake-up call. SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, reversing a constitutional right. That has really never happened before. Each of us values our rights differently, but they are all important, and should never be taken away. Our fears were realized with this attack on women and the rights of all Americans. Now, abortion is effectively banned in Tennessee and more than a dozen other states. This compromises the health and safety of those seeking necessary reproductive healthcare. Justice Thomas wrote that he’s prepared to overturn the rights conferred by the Court in Obergefell, Lawrence, and Griswold. It’s a dark day for our country.”