CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Upon the release of a published report indicating that a draft opinion showed that a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker was quick to tweet, “Hell no!”
The report published Monday in Politico referenced a draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices about the case that legalized abortion nationwide. It amounted to a stunning breach of court confidentiality.
The Associated Press and other sources could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court’s secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided.
When asked, U.S. Supreme Court Public Information Officer Patricia McCabe told CBS News,” The court has no comment.”
Politico published what was labeled as a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
According to Politico, the reported draft opinion appears to have been written in February. Opinions can change and get rewritten many times before they are final.
Pritzker on Monday night tweeted: “Hell no! In Illinois, we trust women. We cannot let their most profound and personal rights be violated.”
Pritzker also appeared om CNN on Monday night, touting Illinois as one of a few Midwestern states that protects abortion rights.
“Illinois is already an island in the Midwest that protects women and protects minority rights, but we’ve seen thousands of women here who have bene left with no other choice but to cross state lines to Illinoi to exercise those rights,” Pritzker said.
He added on CNN that he worries other laws enshrining rights could be subject to challenges too.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement Monday night also denouncing the reported draft opinion.
“Tonight, I join the chorus of millions of people nationwide who are sickened and enraged to learn that the Supreme Court has seemingly voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. This landmark decision has paved the way for women in need of reproductive care to access safe abortions for decades and importantly, decide for themselves the circumstances under which they chose to bear children. If this draft opinion becomes the law of the land, women and their families will suffer, needlessly.
“And make no mistake, this decision will reverse the gains that women have made in the workplace and every other aspect of their lives since the Court first decided Roe. Also, the architects of this destruction will not stop at a woman’s right to choose. The Court’s draft opinion will establish a precedent for gutting the legal underpinnings used to protect against gender-based discrimination overall including women’s rights, trans rights, immigrant rights, and of course, the right to same-sex and interracial marriage. This decision truly epitomizes the dangers that exist at the intersection of racism and sexism.
“This Court truly does not care about settled legal precedent or its legitimacy as an independent body. The zeal with which Alito writes on behalf of the majority about the end of Roe leaves no doubt that the right-wing majority cares more about politics than the law. For shame.
“I also want to speak directly to those who are feeling the real-world impacts of these seismic shifts. We see you and we want you to know that your rights, your circumstances, and your choices matter. Chicago will continue to be a haven for those seeking access to the full range of safe reproductive care. We will also continue to fight in Chicago to protect the right to choose, and will not stop fighting to protect this right in our surrounding counties and states. Do not let this setback be a lasting defeat. People of goodwill still have the most important tool in our democracy — the right to vote. We will and we must vote them out.”
Meanwhile, many Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation issued tweets denouncing the reported draft opinion, with some also denouncing the party on the other side of the aisle. Only one Republican member of Congress from Illinois issued had a tweet that appeared to refer to the decision as of late Monday night.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Illinois) issued a tweet calling on the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has already passed the U.S. House.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) issued a thread of tweets calling the draft opinion an “emergency” that would “represent a tragic step backwards for equal rights under the law.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) took aim at the national Republican Party, accusing the party of “stealing” Supreme Court seats to create a conservative supermajority.
U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-Illinois) also took direct aim at Republican rivals.
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) tweeted, “The leaked SCOTUS opinion on Roe v Wade will set women’s rights back generations. Black women & those living in rural areas will be worst impacted.”
Rep. Sean Casten (D-Illinois) called for congressional legislation protecting abortion rights.
“Scream tonight. Cry tonight. Get angry tonight. And tomorrow, get to work,” he tweeted.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) also issued a thread of tweets that began: “If the draft opinion is accurate and the Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe—and with it, nearly 50 years of established precedent—millions of women across America will be denied their rights and America will be less free. We are staring down an emergency.”
In a news release, Rep. Raja Krisnhamoorthi (D-Illinois) wrote:
“For more than half a century, the right to choose has been a fundamental, sacred right protected by the Constitution. This evening’s leaked draft of the Supreme Court majority opinion reveals the final blow they plan to deliver to this sacred right by overturning Roe v. Wade. While this is only a draft opinion, it is also a warning of the grim reality that may befall our nation for all who ever believed that the right to make reproductive decisions should fall to individual women, not Congress, the President, nor Supreme Court Justices who will never have to live a day in their shoes.
“In the days and weeks ahead, I will join my colleagues in Congress and Americans across the country in speaking out for reproductive rights, defending them in legislative chambers, court rooms, and on street corners across our nation. While many of the consequences of this draft decision remain in doubt, there must be no doubt of the commitment of so many of us to ensuring that access to safe, affordable reproductive health care will survive – if not through the ruling of our highest court, then through the dedicated efforts of individual Americans.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Mary Miller (R-Illinois), while not specifically making reference to the reported draft opinion, issued a tweet with a Biblical passage Monday night while adding, “Pray for life!”
Jesse Sullivan, a Republican candidate for governor, also issued a statement in favor of the reported draft opinion – with what his campaign called “prayerful gratitude and unbridled optimism:”
“While the decision isn’t official – and could yet be months away – I’m overjoyed at what could be a generational change in the soul of our country. Prayer works, and my prayer tonight is gratitude. Our prayers, our persistence, and our patriotism could save millions of lives for generations to come.
“Tonight shows the kind of change that Conservatives can make when we stick together – when we focus on what we can achieve, instead of the politics and politicians that tear us apart.
“Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker and decades of pro-abortion leaders, Illinois has become the abortion destination capital of the Midwest. Abortion tourism, and abortions paid for by Illinois taxpayers, should never be accepted.
“This Supreme Court decision, which puts more power back in the hands of the states, threatens to make Illinois’s current abortion laws even more heinous, and abortion tourism even more prevalent.
“We must put an end to late-term, partial birth abortions. We must put an end to taxpayer-funded abortions. We must bring back parental notification for minors. We must make adoptions easier for struggling mothers and more affordable for families called to bring these children into their homes, as our family was.
“This race for governor is even more clear today – it’s between politicians we can’t trust and the mistakes of the past on one side, and a campaign that proudly puts faith first and a chance to make a real change on the other.
“Today, the difference is life or death.”
The reported draft is signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the reported draft opinion states.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it adds, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s finding of a Constitutional right to abortion services but allowed states to place some constraints on the practice. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The reported draft opinion in effect states there is no Constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.
The reported draft said the vote fell along party lines, with conservative justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett agreeing with Alito. According to Politico, the three justice appointed by Democrats are working on at least one dissent.
It is unclear what Chief Justice John Roberts will do.
Politico said only that it received “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.”
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion rights in Illinois would not be affected. In 2017, then-Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation that removes language in Illinois law that states a desire to criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing the procedure, is overturned.
Illinois Democrats adopted that provision after then-President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to abortion.
The 2017 law also provided state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.
Rauner signed the legislation to the consternation of some of his fellow Republicans
Late Monday, protesters were already starting to gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.