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Tenn. lawmakers, Planned Parenthood react to Supreme Court Roe v. Wade leak

President Joe Biden weighed in on the leak, saying that the “basic fairness and the stability of our law demand” that the court not overturn Roe.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 11:38 AM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Monday night, a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court that suggests it may overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to the Associated Press and a Politico report.

“I am concerned by the leak and any attempt to thwart justice. If the federal courts return full authority to the states, Tennessee’s laws will automatically provide the maximum possible protection and offer a glimmer of redemption as America reconciles our troubled past. We are talking about families in crisis – not isolated clinical procedures – and our state will continue to provide protection, resources and care for both mother and child.” Gov. Bill Lee said.

Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion before ordering an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.”

If the ruling were overturned, that would give the decision of allowing or outlawing abortions to the state level. However, a preemptive law was passed and signed by Gov. Bill Lee in 2019 that made all abortions illegal within 30 days in Tennessee if Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Tennessee lawmakers were quick to provide statements on the leaked draft, some saying they were pro-life and supported it if overturned, while others focused on the leak itself, calling for a thorough investigation.

State Representative Jason Zachary said it should have always been the state’s decision.

United States Senator Bill Hagerty noted it was an unethical leak, and a thorough investigation needed to be held.

United States Representative Tim Burchett said he was pro-life and supported the overturning of Roe v. Wade; however, he noted the leaking of the first draft was a “terrible move” and the leaker should be held accountable.

United States Senator Marsha Blackburn said she hopes the appropriate actions are taken to address the “radical activist” who betrayed the tradition of the court.

Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi CEO Ashley Coffield released a statement on the leaked draft, which can be read in full below:

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the leak, saying that the “basic fairness and the stability of our law demand” that the court not overturn Roe. While emphasizing that he couldn’t speak to the authenticity of the draft, Biden said his administration is preparing for all eventualities for when the court ultimate rules and that a decision overturning Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November’s heated midterm elections.

“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said. “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

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