Utah leaders react to leaked SCOTUS draft on abortion law
SALT LAKE CITY — After a draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was published by Politico on Monday, Utah leaders shared their reactions.
Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre M. Henderson released a joint statement saying they were optimistic about abortion laws being left to individual states. The statement also called the leak of the draft a “dangerous violation.”
— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) May 3, 2022
Sen. Mitt Romney said he supported the drafted opinion but strongly criticized the leak and said those responsible should be punished.
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) May 3, 2022
Sen. Mike Lee also has strong words on the leak. He added that he hoped the draft reflected the actual majority view of the court.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) May 3, 2022
In a statement from the Utah Democratic Party, Party Chair Diane Lewis said “If the reports are correct and the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade this year, we will see one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation go into effect in Utah, thanks to a bill passed by the GOP supermajority and signed into law in 2020.”
She added, “The Republicans have been fighting for decades to impose their unpopular, extremist views on this issue upon Americans, while Democrats have stood firm in the belief that reproductive freedom is fundamental and must be protected. That has not changed, and we will continue fighting for the rights affirmed by Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago.”
In a tweet later in the day on Tuesday, Rep. John Curtis said he was “disturbed by a breach of trust that surrounded the leaked SCOTUS draft,” but that he would find reason to celebrate if a ruling were to come from the Supreme Court in line with the draft.
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) May 3, 2022
Similarly, Rep. Chris Stewart called the leak a “blatant attempt to damage the Supreme Court.” And he said that the draft if adopted, would not outlaw abortion in the United States. Rather, he said, it would “return power to the American people,” to decide.
The draft opinion would not outlaw abortion. It would rightfully return power to you, the American people.
You should debate the abortion laws in this country, and your state should make its own decision. It should not be left to unelected officials in a far-distant capital.
— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) May 3, 2022
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill issued a statement Tuesday on the leaked draft opinion.
“As for what this means for Utah, my stance is unchanged. Prosecutors have an ethical responsibility to not use their office to knowingly violate someone’s constitutional rights nor intrude on individual freedoms. I believe that until the Supreme Court and our own federal court have addressed all the factual and legal issues in our case, a legal and ethical imperative exists for medical professionals to provide pregnancy-related healthcare, including pre-viability abortions for those who seek them. To be clear, reproductive choice is still the law in Utah.”
“Leaking what appears to be a draft opinion from one Justice sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States is a threat to our constitutional democracy. Our judicial branch must be allowed to debate and interpret the Constitution and laws free from political pressure and untoward outside influences. Chief Justice Roberts’ announcement of an investigation into the leak should be supported by all those who wish to protect the Constitutional ideal of our separate branches of government endowed with the ability to check and balance each other for the good of our citizens.”
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