June 24, 2022 Roe v. Wade news

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:19 a.m. ET, June 25, 2022
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4:58 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Media giants, including Disney, reaffirm financial support for those seeking abortions

From CNN’s Brian Fung and Clare Duffy

Media giants have become the latest corporate titans to reaffirm financial support for abortion-seekers following Friday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The entertainment goliath Disney assured employees Friday they would be able to afford a similar level of health care outside of their home area if they needed to travel to access health services, including family planning and pregnancy-related services, a Disney spokesperson told CNN.

Meanwhile, the cable and media giant Comcast said Friday that travel for abortion services is covered under a company-wide employee benefit. Under the policy, Comcast may pay each employee up to $4,000 per trip if the employee needs to travel to access a covered health care service. The coverage is capped at three trips and $10,000 per year, whichever comes first, but the benefit resets each year, meaning that employees who require follow-up health visits out-of-state could benefit substantially from the policy over multiple years, Comcast told CNN. The benefit applies to all Comcast and NBCUniversal employees, the company said, and the amount paid typically depends on the type of expense incurred.

And Warner Bros. Discovery — which owns CNN — said in a statement that it "immediately" expanded its benefits program on Friday following the court's ruling to cover abortion-related travel expenses. 

"Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to offering our employees across the country access to consistent and comprehensive healthcare services," a company spokesperson told CNN. "In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision, we immediately expanded our healthcare benefits options to cover transportation expenses for employees and their covered family members who need to travel to access abortion and reproductive care."

4:42 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

"It's about all of us": Michigan governor fighting to block restrictive abortion law from going into effect

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is trying to stop a nearly-century-old law that restricts abortions from going into effect, now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

If the proposed law does go into effect, it would make Michigan one of the most restrictive states on abortion access.

The 1931 law that's still included in Michigan's penal code states: "Any person who shall wilfully (sic) administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever, or shall employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman" ... is guilty of a felony.

It has an exception to "preserve the life" of the woman, but it does not exclude for rape or incest. The law also threatens abortion providers with prison time, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

In response, Whitmer filed a lawsuit to try to block it from going into effect, before Roe was overturned. Now, she said she is hoping the court takes action soon.

"I filed this lawsuit a couple of months ago. People thought that it was too early, or maybe it wasn't going to be necessary, obviously, it was both timely and absolutely necessary," Whitmer told CNN on Friday.

The lawsuit argues that under the Michigan constitution, "women have due process and equal protection right to privacy and bodily autonomy and I'm hoping that our judges move swiftly to recognize that right here," she said.

Whitmer said restricting abortion rights in Michigan would not just hurt those who live in the state, but would also restrict care for women who come from neighboring states like Indiana and Ohio — both states whose legislatures are poised to ban abortion.

"The thought that I, as a 50-year-old woman who's always had these rights for most of my life, is now watching my daughters get the rights scaled back — be considered not full American citizens with the right to bodily autonomy and make their own health care decisions is devastating. That's why this fight is not just about the individual it's about all of us," she said.

CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

4:51 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Oklahoma attorney general certifies banning abortion in the state

From CNN's Raja Razek

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, left, speaks as Governor Kevin Stitt looks on during a press conference at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, on Friday.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, left, speaks as Governor Kevin Stitt looks on during a press conference at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, on Friday. (Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman/AP)

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor has certified banning abortion in the state, according to Gov. Kevin Stitt, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday.

"John O'Connor wasted no time. His swift action to certify section 861 banned abortion in our state immediately," Stitt said. "It is my hope that the rest of America will follow Oklahoma's lead." 

O'Connor said during a Friday news conference with the governor that "the people of Oklahoma have decided through their elected leaders, and the governor signed legislation making abortion illegal in the state of Oklahoma from the moment of conception, except in the instance of saving the life of the mother."

"And remember that in the Oklahoma law, there is no punishment for the mother. There is no criminal punishment. There is no civil exposure for the mother. It is for the people who aid or abet or solicit abortion," he added.  

"As of this morning, abortions performed in Oklahoma or solicited in Oklahoma are illegal," O'Connor said.  

"Oklahoma's law is very clear now. And so, law enforcement is now activated with respect to any efforts to aid, abet or solicit abortions," he added. 

Some background: Stitt signed a bill last month that would make performing abortions illegal in the state, only allowing exceptions to save the life of the pregnant person. The measure makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform one a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both.

second bill signed into law last week set a timeline for provisions to go into effect, and it was dependent on how the Supreme Court ruled.

4:22 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Coalition of 83 prosecutors vow not to prosecute abortions

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A coalition of 83 prosecutors collectively representing 87 million people from 28 states and territories have publicly vowed not to prosecute those seeking and performing abortions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s opinion clearing the way for bans and legal action.

“Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion. But we stand together in our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions,” according to a joint statement sent by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Cascón. “As such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who seek, provide, or support abortions.”

The joint statement asserts that criminalizing abortion will not end the practice, but will inhibit safe procedures and inhibit those needing medical, social, and law enforcement help from seeking it.

“Prosecutors, police, and our medical partners cannot do our jobs when many victims and witnesses of crime or other emergencies are unwilling to work with us for fear that their private medical decisions will be criminalized,” the release states.

“We are horrified that some states have failed to carve out exceptions for victims of sexual violence and incest in their abortion restrictions; this is unconscionable,” the statement said. “And, even where such exceptions do exist, abortion bans still threaten the autonomy, dignity, and safety of survivors, forcing them to choose between reporting their abuse or being connected to their abuser for life.”

The prosecutors are comprised from states that plan to protect reproductive rights like California and Illinois, but also include those from 11 states that plan to implement stricter restrictions like Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama.

“This is a sad day in America,” said Gascón, who is one of the 83 elected prosecutors who signed the pledge. “The Supreme Court has told half the population that it has no right to bodily autonomy. One Justice said out loud that we should reconsider even more rights, including the right of everyone to love and marry who they choose. I grieve for all those women who have lost so much today, and for all those people who live in fear that they will lose more tomorrow.”

The represented states and territories include Georgia, California, Missouri, Virginia, New York, Maryland, Alabama, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, Vermont, Oregon, Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Hawaii, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Mississippi, New Mexico, Kansas, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

4:26 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Ohio and Georgia file notices in court to allow restrictive abortion laws to take effect

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez and Jamiel Lynch

Republican Ohio Attorney General David Yost filed an “emergency” motion in federal court on Friday to dissolve the injunction against the state’s Heartbeat Law, he said in a post on his Twitter account.

“We filed a motion in federal court moments ago to dissolve the injunction against Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, which had been based on the now-overruled precedents of Roe and Casey,” he said in the tweet.

The injunction was filed on July 2019 according to the motion.

In Georgia, Attorney General Chris Carr has filed notice with the 11th Circuit requesting it reverse the District Court’s decision and allow the state’s Heartbeat Law to take effect, according to a press release from his office.

“I believe in the dignity, value and worth of every human being, both born and unborn. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is constitutionally correct and rightfully returns the issue of abortion to the states and to the people – where it belongs,” Carr said. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a restrictive abortion bill into law in 2019, but it was blocked by a federal judge later that year.

4:22 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Democratic and Republican sisters both agree that SCOTUS decision is a "disappointment"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Sisters Jeanne, a Florida Republican, and Joni, a Minnesota Democrat, are divided by geography and political party. 

But when they landed — together — on a flight into New York this morning, getting the news from their seatback televisions, they shared the same “disappointment” with the court’s decision. 

Jeanne, who did not want to give her last name, described herself as a "financial conservative” and said she was puzzled by the intense focus on abortion by some in her party. 

“We’re going backwards, not forward,” she said. “And this is just another divisive thing in this country, another thing people are divided on.”

Joni, who also did not want to provide her surname, is a Democrat and practicing nurse. She said she expected her home state to become a magnet for women seeking legal abortions. 

“I never advocate for someone to use abortion as a form of birth control,” she said. “But everyone should be able to decide for themselves. … I don’t walk in someone else’s shoes. How do I know — maybe (giving birth) is going to be tough on their mental health? It’s not such a black-and-white issue.”

Another point they agreed on: Decision-makers in Washington — from the Supreme Court to Capitol Hill — were the last people they wanted rendering such a convulsive judgment.

“Some old duffer politician in Washington shouldn’t be deciding these things,” Joni said, her sister nodding in accord. 

Despite their shared frustration with the ruling and “big gridlock” in federal government, neither sister said the overturning of Roe v. Wade was going to set them on a new path of activism. 

They won’t be attending any protests tonight — instead, it’s on to Broadway with tickets to see “Company,” the award-winning revival of a production that debuted in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade was decided. 

4:16 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Analysis: Decision overturning Roe v. Wade will define the contemporary Supreme Court

Analysis from CNN's Joan Biskupic

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)

The five-justice Supreme Court bloc that overturned a half century of women’s abortion rights on Friday had coalesced less than two years. But they had found their moment and they seized it.

This is America’s new Supreme Court, moving swiftly, rejecting the incrementalism of Chief Justice John Roberts, and upsetting individual privacy rights in an epic decision that will reverberate for decades.

No matter how much of a preview the country received when an early draft was leaked in May, the sweep and audacious tone of the final ruling still breathtaking.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote as the majority jettisoned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

The court rejected that landmark and a series of abortion rights decisions that followed, including the 1992 decision that reaffirmed Roe as key justices then in the majority declared they might not have voted for Roe but accepted the decision that had become ingrained in society.

“Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said in 1992 when she and two other centrist conservatives, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter, were key to preserving Roe.

Their sentiment and that of most of the justices who have joined the high court since 1973 was that neither the country nor the court itself could go backward. Institutional integrity and the revered principle of stare decisis, adherence to precedent, demanded that.

But that is not this court. Today’s justices on the right wing are unlike the Republican-appointed conservatives who first voted for Roe and then upheld it, joined by justices on the left. The three Donald Trump appointees, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the bench in October 2020 and anchored the Friday decision, have not hedged on abortion rights.

Read more here:

4:10 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

DHS warns of potential violent extremist activity in response to Supreme Court's decision on abortion

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

The Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch notified law enforcement, first responders and private sector partners nationwide Friday of potential domestic violence extremist activity in response to the Supreme Court's decision on abortion, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

The memo, from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, says federal and state government officials, including judges “probably are at most risk for violence in response to the decision." 

It also includes warnings about "First Amendment protected events," reproductive and “family advocacy health care facilities,” and faith-based organizations being targets for violence or criminal incidents. 

"Americans’ freedom of speech and right to peacefully protest are fundamental Constitutional rights. Those rights do not extend to violence and other illegal activity. DHS will continue working with our partners across every level of government to share timely information and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe," a Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN in a statement. 

DHS previously released a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin warning of potential violence surrounding the Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights.

4:14 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Here are the answers to your questions about what overturning Roe v. Wade means for abortion rights

From CNN's Tierney Sneed

Anti-abortion demonstrators outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 24.
Anti-abortion demonstrators outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 24. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by states, unless Congress acts. 

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about what this ruling means.

Will women get arrested for having an abortion?

An abortion-seeker's criminal liability will depend on the abortion policies that her state put into place.

Leaders of the anti-abortion movement have said in the past that women shouldn't be prosecuted for obtaining an abortion and that criminal laws prohibiting it should be aimed at abortion providers or others who facilitate the procedure. Several states with abortion prohibitions that could go into effect with Roe's reversal have language exempting from prosecution the woman who obtained the abortion.

There's also nothing to stop lawmakers from passing the laws calling for the prosecution of the people who sought the abortion.

In the event of rape or incest or even underage pregnancy, where does the law lie for these individuals?

Exemptions in abortion bans for rape, incest or the health of the mother will now vary state by state. In the wave of abortion limits that have been passed by state legislatures recently in anticipation of the Supreme Court's ruling, only a few of the proposals included exemptions for rape and incest.

It's a question lawmakers will likely revisit now that the opinion has been handed down. While previewing plans to call a special legislative session once the opinion is issued, Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he opposed rape or incest exemptions. On the flip side, Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN this May that he supported adding rape and incest exemptions in the trigger law currently on the books in the state.

How are in vitro fertilizations defined? If a state defines the fertilized egg as a human with rights, then if a doctor fertilizes four eggs, but does [not] implant all four in a woman, is that homicide?

What this opinion means for fertility treatments is still uncertain. Some state laws have language that would appear to exempt the disposal of unused embryos created for IVF, but that language doesn't necessarily exempt the process of selective reduction — when a woman whose fertility treatments lead to multiple pregnancies has one or more of those fetuses terminated to protect the viability of the other fetuses and/or the health of the mother. More broadly, fertility law experts raise concerns about how Roe's reversal will embolden lawmakers to regulate IVF procedures — which have been largely shielded from the abortion debate because of the protections of Roe.

Why does the currently Democrat-controlled legislature not pass a federal law making abortion legal?

Democrats currently lack the votes to dismantle the Senate filibuster, a 60-vote procedural mechanism that Republicans can use to block federal abortion rights legislation — so as long as 40 senators oppose abortion rights. But it's worth noting that the Women's Health Protection Act — a bill that would codify and expand upon Roe — failed 49-51 when it was voted on in May in the Senate, meaning that, even without the filibuster, it would have not become law.

There are also legal questions about whether it would be constitutional for federal lawmakers to enact a nationwide ban. The late Justice Antonin Scalia stressed in his legal writings about abortion that the policy decisions belonged in the hands of individual states, while expressing skepticism that Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate the procedure.

Get more answers to common questions here.