Where do top politicians stand on Roe v. Wade and the SCOTUS leak?
The draft opinion brought out strong reactions from both sides of the debate
The future of abortion rights in America is once again up in the air after a leaked draft opinion revealed the Supreme Court's conservative majority is poised to overturn 1973's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The final ruling has yet to be handed down, but in the meantime, here's a guide as to where prominent voices in each party stand on the matter.
President Biden: Pro-choice
Abortion has proven a complicated issue for Biden — many years ago, when Roe was decided, Biden said he disagreed with the ruling. But on Tuesday, the president had a much different reaction to the leaked opinion.
"It concerns me a great deal that we're going to, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have a right to choose," he said. Biden has often described himself as conflicted regarding to abortion — he's struggled to mesh his Catholic faith with his politics — but he nonetheless supports codifying Roe into law and has reaffirmed his position as an ally to the pro-choice movement.
Vice President Kamala Harris: Pro-choice
Harris has been passionate about protecting reproductive choice since her time in the Senate, Politico reports. She also brought attention to the issue during her 2020 presidential campaign — "it's something that she feels very strongly about,"a White House official told Politico.
On Tuesday, Harris delivered a fiery speech in response to the court's draft opinion.
"Some Republican leaders are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?" she said. "How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?"
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): Pro-choice
Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate, supports legislation guaranteeing access to abortion, and is pushing to codify Roe v. Wade into law.
"We will vote on protecting a woman's right to choose, and every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," the Democratic leader said Tuesday following the leak. An effort to codify Roe is almost certain to fail, given the 60-vote threshold to end debate in the Senate.
Schumer caused a stir in March 2020 after warning justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that they would "pay the price" for their decision in an important abortion case. Schumer later clarified that his comments at the rally outside the high court that day were in no way a physical threat; he was simply incensed in the moment.
"I feel so deeply, the anger of women all across America," Schumer said. "About Senate Republicans and the courts, working hand in glove to take down Roe v. Wade."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): Pro-choice
Still, the speaker is not a fan of the ongoing abortion rights crackdown happening nationwide, especially as it relates to the Supreme Court. Previously, she said failure to strike down the Mississippi abortion law in the leaked draft ruling would "seriously erode" the legitimacy of the nation's highest court. She also went a step further and later suggested the justices' receive a lesson on the "birds and the bees."
On Tuesday, Pelosi released a joint statement with Schumer lambasting the court's expected decision: "If the report is accurate," the leaders wrote, "the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years – not just on women, but on all Americans."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): Pro-life
McConnell is pro-life (though he once held the opposing view, NPR reported in 2014). He's also been endorsed by multiple pro-life advocacy organizations, such as the Susan B. Anthony List and the National Right to Life Committee.
After news of the leak broke at the start of the week, McConnell was mostly focused on what the "stunning breach" meant for the integrity of the court. He called on whoever leaked the document to be punished, and urged "all nine justices" to "tune out the bad-faith noise and feel totally free to do their jobs, following the facts and the law where they lead."
Allies of the GOP leader have alleged Roe would have never been "in imminent danger without a series of decisions McConnell made over roughly a decade reflecting his single-minded focus on installing a conservative judicial majority," Politico reports.
McConnell also told some members of his caucus on Tuesday to focus on the leak itself if they weren't comfortable talking about Justice Samuel Alito's scathing opinion.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): Pro-life
McCarthy's stance on reproductive freedom is a bit more nuanced. The California representative opposes abortion except in instances of rape, incest, and or danger to the life of the mother, The Wasington Post reported in 2019.
When Alabama enacted a strict new abortion law that same year, McCarthy told reporters that the measure "goes further than I believe."
On Tuesday, the minority leader released a statement, alongside House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, condemning the incident.
"Yesterday's unprecedented leak is an attempt to severely damage the Supreme Court," the lawmakers wrote. "We pray for the resolve of our justices and for a decision that protects our most basic and precious right, the right to life."
As for the stances of key Senate moderates Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), read more at The Week.