MINNEAPOLIS — A leaked draft opinion indicating the United States Supreme Court intends to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade has sent shockwaves through Washington, D.C. and communities across the country.
The draft opinion, first published Monday night by Politico, was authored by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority.
At this point, Roe has not been overturned and abortion is still legal at the federal level. Still, several high-profile Minnesota Democratic lawmakers did not mince words when responding to the leak and threw their support behind protecting Roe and women's reproductive rights, including Minnesota Senator Tina Smith.
Smith used to work at Planned Parenthood. "There is nothing more American than the right to freedom, autonomy, and self-determination," Smith wrote in a statement. "Yet the Supreme Court is preparing to strip that away for half the country."
In her other verified account, Smith used fewer words to convey her feelings. "This is b******t," she wrote.
Democratic Governor Tim Walz, who's running for reelection this fall, pledged to protect abortion rights in Minnesota.
"Not on my watch," he wrote.
Abortions are legal in Minnesota, although there are several restrictions for providers and patients. Read more about Minnesota's abortion regulations here.
Abortion-rights rallies were held throughout the nation Tuesday, including one at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and another outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis, where dozens were gathered. Officials with Planned Parenthood, Women Winning, UnRestrict Minnesota and other abortion rights groups led the rally.
On MSNBC Monday night, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said if the SCOTUS draft opinion gets published as is, she anticipates upcoming elections will be critical. "November's election is now the most important of our lifetime to protect women's rights," she tweeted.
Across the border in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers, also a Democrat, said in a tweet, "I promised I’d fight to protect access to abortion and reproductive rights. I’ve kept that promise, and I will fight every day as long as I’m governor." Wisconsin is one of several states that could potentially begin enforcing abortion bans if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson did not specifically address the potential SCOTUS decision itself, but did decry the leaked opinion as an "unprecedented breach" and blamed the "radical left" in a tweet.
Republican Minnesota State Sen. Michelle Benson, who recently suspended her campaign for governor and said she won't seek reelection to the legislature, issued the following statement in response to the report:
“Republicans support women facing challenging and unplanned pregnancies and will continue our efforts to give unborn babies and pregnant women every opportunity at a healthy, happy life. Overturning Roe v. Wade puts the decision about abortion into the hands of Minnesotans while Doe v. Gomez, the Minnesota version of Roe v. Wade, remains in place. If Roe is overturned, we will work to build consensus for the strongest possible protections for unborn children, and support for women, moms, and families in Minnesota.”
The issue of abortion and reproductive rights is also poised to be a hot button issue in upcoming Minnesota gubernatorial race.
Scott Jensen, one of several Republican candidates looking to unseat Gov. Walz, tweeted "PROTECT THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN" Monday night.
Former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, who is also running for governor, is on the record as being anti-abortion. In Jan. 2021, Gazelka released the following statement on the March for Life:
“We all have value, we all have dignity, we all are worth fighting for. As we remember the 48th anniversary of the Court’s decision and the millions of lives lost to abortion, I remain committed to my views that we must diligently protect life from conception until natural death.”
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