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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4:22 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.

5:00 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Arkansas attorney general signs certification banning abortion in the state

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks during a press conference in 2018.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks during a press conference in 2018. (Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images)

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Friday signed a certification that prohibits abortions in the state.

Rutledge certified Act 180, which passed in the state in 2019.

Through tears, Rutledge said, “I will always recall where I was when the Dobbs decision came down. As the first woman ever elected attorney general, as someone who it took a long time for God to decide it was time for me to be a mom, I can’t wait for other women across Arkansas to have that same joy of seeing their child’s face that maybe they would not have seen had it not been for today’s decision."

Rutledge earlier said, "none of us thought today would come in our lifetimes," adding, "Roe was wrong on that day and it has been wrong every day since."

Rutledge said the Supreme Court decision puts Arkansas' anti-abortion laws in place and allows the state to ban abortions — with the only exception being to save the life of a mother in a medical emergency.

During the news conference, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the decision is "a turning point for our nation."

"Since Roe v. Wade was decided, the states that desired to protect unborn life has been prohibited from doing so. Personally, I'm grateful for the court's ruling today because I've fought for a number of decades for greater protections for the unborn throughout my political life," he said.

Hutchinson said he will be directing the Arkansas Department of Health to enforce the new law in the state and make sure any abortion provider is in compliance and understand the penalties. 

"This does not put at risk access to contraceptives or other issues that are tangentially related," he said. 

The state regulation of abortions can still be challenged, he said. But that challenge cannot be based on a constitutional right. 

"We need as a state and a nation to continue to support women who have unwanted pregnancies, and for some they see abortion as an only solution," Hutchinson added.

3:50 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

"It just feels barbaric": Young women in favor of abortion access express anger after SCOTUS ruling

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

CNN spoke with a number of young women in favor of abortion access on Friday who expressed fear and anger following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I’m torn and scared for the future,” said Nisa Ortiz, a 25-year-old mother of a four-year-old daughter.

“I will say that if my birth control failed me in the near future, I definitely wouldn’t be ready for another child and feel like I’d be stuck having to make a decision that I wouldn’t be able to afford or a life that wouldn’t be suitable for two kids,” said Ortiz, who is from Dallas, Texas. 

“This is scary. I’m scared for my friends who have had pregnancy complications before, and the younger generation of 13-to-21-year-olds will face the brunt of it,” she said.

Nicolette Carrion, a 19-year-old from New York, pointed to the impact this decision could have on women of color. 

“Women are literally losing our rights and we are going backwards. It just feels barbaric,” Carrion said. “These issues are magnified for women of color.” 

“As a woman of color, it’s obvious there is a racial wealth gap that exists,” Carrion said, adding that she worries about less access for sexual health resources depending on one’s socioeconomic background.

“As a result of this decision, women are deemed to just be this vessel for having children,” she said, pointing to the reality that it was mostly men who made the decision. “Now we’re just objects, where our reproductive abilities are controlled by the state we live in.”

Celeste Lintz, a 21-year-old student at University of Pittsburgh, said she was studying abroad in South Africa when the draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked earlier this year.

At the time, Lintz said, “I was very, very scared to come back to the United States to see what was going to happen.”

“As a young woman, seeing this in the US is beyond disheartening. I am afraid of what this precedent sets going forward, what other rights might be taken away,” Lintz said, listing access to contraceptives and reproductive health care.

“My initial reaction is disgust. I felt physically ill. But my most pressing feeling was anger and rage,” said Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old political strategy specialist for the group Gen-Z for Change, a collective of online creators and activists.

The Texan expressed her anger with Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, adding that she is working to ensure he is not elected again.

“They just poured gasoline on the fire that lives in the heart of every abortion rights advocate,” Julianna said.

“Although I may not work on the ground or in a clinic, I use digital advocacy and the power of social media to share information and resources to people across the country and rally them behind calls to action concerning reproductive healthcare,” she said.

Celestina Sunny, a 23-year-old from Dallas, said she believes that if lawmakers want to prevent abortion, they should consider investments into sex education.

��If this was really about preventing abortion, our government would invest in sex education and access to birth control,” she said.

“What’s most heartbreaking to me is that this decision is really going to affect women who are already marginalized and whose socioeconomic position already predicates safe abortion access. I’m really thinking about them today,” she said.

4:43 p.m. ET, June 24, 2022

Harris says SCOTUS decision is a "health care crisis"

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on Friday, June 24.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on Friday, June 24. (Pool)

Vice President Kamala Harris slammed the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade in remarks in Illinois on Friday. Harris was initially supposed to unveil a new administration strategy to improve maternal health, but said “this is a health care crisis.” 

“For nearly 50 years, we have talked about what Roe v. Wade protects,” Harris said in a speech. “Today … we can only talk about what Roe v. Wade protected. Past tense. This is a health care crisis.”

The vice president, the first woman elected to the office in the US, said millions of women will go to bed tonight without access to the same healthcare protections that they had just this morning. And that their mothers and grandmothers had as well.

“This is the first time in our history that a constitutional right has been taken from the people of America,” she added.

Harris said the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade today could also affect other "rights that we thought were settled" — including same-sex marriage.

"This opinion also says when you read it, that abortion is not deeply rooted in our nation's history. They offer that in the opinion as a foundation for the decision they rendered today. In holding that it is not deeply rooted in our history, today's decision on that theory, then, calls into question other rights that we thought were settled, such as the right to use birth control, the right to same-sex marriage, the right to interracial marriage," the vice president said, speaking in Illinois.

"The great aspiration of our nation has been to expand freedom. But the expansion of freedom clearly is not inevitable. It is not something that just happens — not unless we defend our most fundamental principles. Not unless we elect leaders who stand up for those principles," Harris said.

"You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights. And as the president said earlier today, with your vote, you can act, and you have the final word. So this is not over," she said.