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Abortion live updates: U.S. emerges from day of protests and celebrations

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 6/26/2022 Maxine Joselow, Amy Wang
An abortion rights activist, left, argues with an antiabortion activist outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday. © Astrid Riecken/for The Washington Post An abortion rights activist, left, argues with an antiabortion activist outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday.

Demonstrations celebrating and protesting Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade’s abortion protections continued to reverberate across the country Sunday. The demonstrations have been largely peaceful, though damage and temporary road closures were reported in some cities. More rallies were scheduled for Sunday.

Abortion opponents are celebrating a long-sought victory for the conservative legal movement, one made possible by the presidency of Donald Trump. “This is a huge victory for the pro-life movement,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump — who nominated three of the six conservative justices on the court — whipped up his supporters at an Illinois rally Saturday night, and lawmakers were looking toward the midterm elections in November with varying focuses on the post-Roe landscape.

President Biden criticized the Supreme Court on Saturday, saying the justices have “made some terrible decisions.” He is in Europe this week to meet with leaders of the Group of Seven nations.

What else you need to know

  • The vote was 6 to 3 to uphold a restrictive Mississippi law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., though, criticized his conservative colleagues for taking the additional step of overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had reaffirmed the right to abortion.
  • In their joint dissent, the court’s three liberal justices took note of the states that will move quickly to restrict abortion access and emphasized the sweeping impact of the court’s decision on the rights of women to terminate their pregnancies.

2:08 PM: Your questions about the end of Roe, answered

© Kate Wheeler/For The Washington Post

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, some things were immediately certain: We knew that abortion would no longer be constitutionally protected; that abortion rights would now lie with the states; and that 13 states were set to enact immediate bans, with others likely to follow.

But other things were (and remain) less certain: Will this eventually affect birth control? Is same-sex marriage next? How many more states will enact restrictions in the coming days, weeks and months?

As the fallout from the decision continues to unfold, we took to social media to ask readers what questions they had about the ruling. Here are answers to nine of them.

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By: Hannah Good and Kate Wheeler

1:11 PM: South Dakota governor backs ban that leaves no exceptions for rape, incest

South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) © John Raoux/AP South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) on Sunday defended the trigger law that automatically banned abortions in her state after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, including the law’s lack of exceptions for rape or incest.

“I believe every life is precious,” Noem said Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “I just have never believed that having a tragedy or a tragic situation happen to someone is a reason to have another tragedy occur.”

South Dakota is one of 13 states with trigger laws, designed to take effect if Roe was struck down, that will prohibit abortion within 30 days.

On NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) demurred Sunday when asked about his state’s trigger law, which makes an exception to save the life of a patient in a medical emergency.

When asked whether the law should make an exception for a 13-year-old who is raped by a relative, the governor said: “That’s not the debate today in Arkansas. It might be in the future.”

By: Maxine Joselow

12:47 PM: Boris Johnson: Overturning Roe ‘a step backwards’ for women’s rights

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Group of Seven summit at Schloss Elmau, a castle in southern Germany, on June 26. © Markus Schreiber/Pool/AFP/Getty Images British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Group of Seven summit at Schloss Elmau, a castle in southern Germany, on June 26.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion in the United States, was extremely consequential, even for those who were not Americans.

“The Roe v. Wade judgment, when it came out, was … important psychologically for people around the world,” Johnson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it spoke of the advance of the rights of women, I think.”

Acknowledging that he was speaking “as someone looking in from the outside,” Johnson said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn Roe seemed “a backward step” for women’s rights.

He said that the ruling, however, did not hurt the United States’ standing as a global leader in the fight for human rights and freedom, citing President Biden’s continued efforts to rally the international community to protect the rights of Ukrainians facing Russian aggression.

“I think that the United States is a — for me, it remains a shining city on the hill. And it’s an incredible guarantor of values, democracy, freedom around the world,” Johnson said, adding: “But … [on] a woman’s right to choose, which I have always backed, and which we back very much in the U.K., it seems to me to be a step backwards.”

By: Amy B Wang

12:18 PM: Florida emerges as key battleground in state-by-state abortion fight

Di Morgan of Sarasota, center, sings with her husband, Tom Morgan, during an abortion rights rally in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday. © Thomas Simonetti/The Washington Post Di Morgan of Sarasota, center, sings with her husband, Tom Morgan, during an abortion rights rally in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decision is expected to make Florida an epicenter of the state-by-state fight over the issue in the coming months, raising the stakes for abortion rights advocates in the November election and complicating Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) efforts to manage his statewide and national political fortunes.

Within hours of the court’s decision, access to abortion emerged as a major fault line in America’s divisive cultural battles. Thirteen conservative states with “trigger bans” will outlaw abortion within 30 days of the ruling — and the procedure could soon be prohibited in several others. Lawmakers in heavily Democratic northern and western states are promising to become safe havens for women who want an abortion but are banned from receiving one at home.

But in Florida, where residents in a half-dozen relatively liberal urban counties are continually locked in political duels with the conservatives who dominate much of the rest of the state, the debate over abortion rights is just getting started. It’s a matter that will potentially have far-reaching consequences for millions of women in the South. The Sunshine State’s new ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy could emerge as one of the more flexible in the region after trigger laws and other unenforced abortion laws now before the courts may go into effect.

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By: Tim Craig

11:22 AM: Democrats seize on abortion ruling in midterms as Republicans tread carefully


Video: Abortion rights supporters decry overturning of Roe (The Washington Post)

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Democrats across the country are seizing on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, with state and federal candidates seeking to turn anger about the decision into support at the ballot box, even as Republicans aim to keep attention on rising prices and crime less than five months before the midterms.

Led by President Biden, who declared Friday that “Roe is on the ballot” and “personal of freedoms are on the ballot,” Democrats on the front lines of the fight to keep the party’s slim congressional majorities have cast their campaigns as key parts of a larger battle to restore abortion rights prevent the rollback of other liberties. Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general and offices at the state level, where abortion laws will now be fully determined, pledged to put the issue at the forefront of their campaigns.

“We are facing a watershed moment for our constitutional rights,” said Cheri Beasley, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, a key battleground and a state that could draw more women seeking abortions from nearby states barring the procedure. Speaking on Friday at a park in Raleigh, Beasley warned, “I hope you all know that this doesn’t end this, that the threats don’t stop here.” She urged supporters: “This November let us run, not walk, to the polls.”

Republicans have largely praised the ruling, but some suggested different matters, such as the economic challenges confronting Americans, should take precedence, while others cheered the power of states and lawmakers to decide the future of abortion laws — amounting to a wider range of responses than Democrats, more united in their anger, have offered.

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By: Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz

10:54 AM: Governor defends Arkansas ‘trigger law’ banning almost all abortion

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, left, and Matthew Shepherd, speaker of the Arkansas House, watch as Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signs the certification to prohibit abortions statewide on Friday. © Stephen Swofford/AP Gov. Asa Hutchinson, left, and Matthew Shepherd, speaker of the Arkansas House, watch as Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signs the certification to prohibit abortions statewide on Friday.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) defended the trigger law that went into effect in his state after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. The Arkansas law bans abortions in all instances except to save the life of the mother.

Hutchinson, who had expressed unease about the lack of exceptions for rape and incest in his state’s trigger law, on Sunday demurred when asked whether he was comfortable with the fact that a 13-year-old girl in Arkansas raped by a relative would no longer be able to get an abortion in the state.

“I would prefer a different outcome than that. But that’s not the debate today in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “It might be in the future, but for now, the law triggered with only one exception. While you can debate whether there ought to be additional exceptions, every state is going to make a different determination. … But at this particular point, the only exception in Arkansas is to save the life of the mother.”

Hutchinson also sought to assure women in Arkansas that they would have continued access to contraception, including the Plan B pill and intrauterine devices, or IUDs.

“In Arkansas, the right to contraception is important. It’s recognized. It’s not going to be touched,” he said.

Hutchinson, who has not ruled out a 2024 presidential run, was asked whether he would advocate for and sign into law a nationwide abortion ban, as former vice president Mike Pence — another potential Republican 2024 presidential candidate — has said he would.

“I don’t believe that we ought to go back to saying there ought to be a national law that’s passed,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve fought for 50 years to have this return to the states. We’ve won that battle. It’s back to the states. Let’s let it be resolved there.”

By: Amy B Wang

10:39 AM: Planned Parenthood sues to halt Utah’s ‘trigger law’ abortion ban

Abortion rights demonstrators gather at the Utah Capitol after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. © Jim Urquhart/Reuters Abortion rights demonstrators gather at the Utah Capitol after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit Saturday to block the state’s “trigger ban” on abortion, which went into effect shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The organization is also seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Utah officials from “enforcing this flagrantly unconstitutional law,” according to a complaint filed with the Salt Lake City-based 3rd District Court.

Utah is one of 13 states in the country with “trigger bans” that were designed to prohibit abortion if Roe were to fall. The state’s ban took effect Friday evening, after its legislative general counsel certified the Supreme Court decision.

Although the lawsuit to block the ban was filed the following day, Karrie Galloway, the president and chief executive of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU), said the organization had been planning for legal action long before the Supreme Court ruling.

“We’ve been on notice for a while,” Galloway told The Washington Post. “We’ve been on notice since the last administration wiggled their way into three court nominations. We knew what was the writing on the walls.”

Utah’s trigger ban, which the legislature passed in 2020, prohibits abortions with limited exceptions, such as if the procedure is necessary to prevent a pregnant person’s death or if a person is pregnant as a result of incest or rape.

With the law in effect, PPAU said in its court filing that it had canceled abortions for about a dozen patients Saturday. The organization has three health clinics that were licensed to provide abortion services, according to Galloway.

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By: Praveena Somasundaram

10:33 AM: A women’s clinic run by two generations of women braces for the post-Roe era

Nurse Ashia George, 30, and medical assistant Pamela Dann, 54, wait for the completion of an abortion procedure at the Scotsdale Women's Center in Detroit on May 5. (Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post) © Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post Nurse Ashia George, 30, and medical assistant Pamela Dann, 54, wait for the completion of an abortion procedure at the Scotsdale Women's Center in Detroit on May 5. (Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post)

DETROIT — The flowers seemed innocent enough, but Jakaiser Jackson wasn’t taking any chances.

The security guard at the Scotsdale Women’s Center in Michigan’s biggest city stopped the delivery before it could even reach the building’s outer vestibule.

Abortion clinics like this one have long been a target for protests and violence, so Jackson and others are extra vigilant about who comes inside and even what packages are accepted. Protesters rarely show up armed, but they do harass employees and patients.

“It’s like the devil comes in,” Jackson said of the protesters, who scream that the women are killers murdering babies. “When those ladies keep walking and don’t pay them no attention, that’s when they get real cruel.”

After the Supreme Court on Friday overturned the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, abortion clinics like this one in states where, at least for now, the procedure remains legal are even more on edge.

Michigan is one of several states that have unenforced pre-Roe abortion bans that probably will become a target in determining whether access remains legal.

A ban would pose an existential threat to clinics like Scotsdale, where patients have come for half a century to get reproductive health care in a safe and welcoming environment. The clinic has been run since the late ’90s by two generations of reproductive health care providers. Sam, Scotsdale’s executive director, bought the facility with her mother, Kathy, who worked in clinical care since the ’70s. The Washington Post is not identifying the last names of both women because of safety concerns.

For the mother and daughter, the post-Roe landscape is also worrying at a personal level. Kathy said she’s mostly blocked out the memories of when she felt the most scared to work as an abortion provider. Now, her fears are for her daughter.

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By: Kim Bellware

10:32 AM: Graham tells Garland to put people ‘in jail’ for protesting at justices’ homes

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to arrest protesters outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I’m urging Merrick Garland to start putting people in jail who show up to the justices’ home to try to intimidate them and their family,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Abortion rights advocates on Friday protested outside the Virginia home of Justice Clarence Thomas. Members of the crowd called the justice’s wife, Virginia “Ginni" Thomas, an “insurrectionist,” referring to her efforts to overturn the 2020 election and her attendance at a “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. A small crowd of protesters also gathered outside the Maryland home of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch on Saturday.

Earlier this month, President Biden signed a bill to provide around-the-clock security to the families of Supreme Court justices. The measure passed shortly after the leak of the draft Roe opinion.

By: Maxine Joselow

10:21 AM: Ocasio-Cortez wants investigation of justices who she says lied under oath

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks to abortion rights activists in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. © Nathan Howard/Getty Images Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks to abortion rights activists in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is calling for the House Judiciary Committee to investigate Supreme Court justices who she says lied under oath during their confirmation hearings with regard to Roe v. Wade.

Days ago, Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) had suggested that Brett M. Kavanaugh and Neil M. Gorsuch had misled them in private meetings during their confirmation process about not overturning Roe v. Wade.

On NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez noted that such misleading comments would constitute a “crisis of legitimacy” in the Supreme Court, particularly after the justices issued a ruling “that deeply undermines the human and civil rights of the majority of Americans.” She added that lying under oath should be an impeachable offense for a Supreme Court justice.

“There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions. To allow that to stand is to allow it to happen,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And what makes it particularly dangerous is that it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure … confirmations and seats on the Supreme Court.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who is not a member of the House Judiciary Committee, also criticized Justice Clarence Thomas for not recusing himself in Supreme Court cases involving the 2020 presidential election after it emerged that his wife pursued efforts to overturn the election’s results. In March, Ocasio-Cortez had also called for an investigation of Thomas’s potential conflicts of interest and suggested he could be impeached.

By: Amy B Wang

10:21 AM: American Psychological Association condemns SCOTUS abortion decision

The American Psychological Association (APA) has condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, saying it will exacerbate the mental health crisis in America. In a statement released Friday on its website, the organization, which represents more than 130,000 psychology professionals in the U.S., expressed “deep concern” and “disappointment,” noting that the ruling goes against both precedent and science.

“We are alarmed that the justices would nullify Roe despite decades of scientific research demonstrating that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions,” APA President Frank C. Worrell said in the statement.

The organization’s remarks come amid nationwide protests in response to the decision, which is expected to result in 13 states banning abortion (with many more to follow) and rising concerns about a potential nationwide ban. The statement from the APA stands in contrast to claims made by antiabortion activists, who have long pointed to mental health problems in their arguments, claiming that the procedure leads to adverse psychological outcomes. The science, according to the APA, strongly suggests otherwise.

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By: Kelsey Ables

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