SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee attended an abortion-rights rally Tuesday in response to a leaked draft opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft opinion, which was first reported by Politico Monday evening. It is unclear if the draft reflects the court’s final decision.
At Kerry Park in Seattle, Inslee was joined by other elected leaders and community advocates including, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland and CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Jennifer Allen.
Inslee tweeted a link to the Politico report Monday evening saying, “NOT HERE, NOT IN OUR LIFETIME. Washington is and will remain pro-choice. And we will not slow down in the fight to ensure safe, affordable access to every person who needs it.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said the draft abortion opinion was “outrageous, dangerous, and infuriating,” adding that overturning Roe v. Wade would “mean harmful and disastrous consequences now and for generations to come.”
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) tweeted that she was “furious” if the report about the Supreme Court planning to overturn Roe v. Wade was true.
“If this is true, this kind of outcome is exactly what I’ve been ringing alarm bells about—and this is a five-alarm fire,” Murray said in a statement. “Republicans’ goal has always been to ban abortion: they’re already banning abortion in state legislatures across the country, they’re fighting for a federal ban right here in the Senate, and plan to overturn Roe in the Supreme Court too.”
A decision to overrule Roe would have sweeping ramifications, leading to abortion bans in roughly half the states, sparking new efforts in Democratic-leaning states to protect access to abortion, and potentially reshaping the contours of this year’s hotly contested midterm elections.
Kia Guarino, executive director of Pro-Choice Washington, said she wasn't surprised by draft opinion.
"I think it was still pretty gut wrenching to read the language," she said.
The leaked draft opinion, Guarino said, demonstrates the court's readiness to overturn a half-century legal precedent.
"And we need to understand that everybody is impacted by this decision, not just woman and not just activists, but really the whole country," she said.
In March, Inslee signed a measure into law that prohibits legal action against people seeking an abortion and those who aid them.
The measure, which takes effect in June, prohibits the state from taking any action against an individual seeking to end their pregnancy or for assisting someone who is pregnant in obtaining an abortion.
The language is in response to a Texas law that took effect last September banning abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. The enforcement of the law is left up to private citizens, who can collect $10,000 or more if they bring a successful lawsuit against a provider or anyone who helps a patient obtain an abortion.
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade entirely, the decision on whether to keep abortion legal would fall to the states.
Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the pro-abortion rights think tank the Guttmacher Institute. Of those, 22 states already have total or near-total bans on the books that are currently blocked by Roe, aside from Texas.