May 3, 2022 By Christian Murray
Elected officials in Queens have been quick to criticize a draft ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that would strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The ruling would essentially put the issue of abortion rights in the hands of state legislatures as opposed to courts. While abortion rights are protected in New York by state law—and the ruling would have little local effect—Queens leaders viewed the draft decision as a step backward for the nation, noting that in many states women would be denied access.
“The heartless cruelty of this draft ruling is equal parts vicious, hateful, sexist, racist and anti-American,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in a statement. “After years of Republican-led efforts to callously limit abortion services in direct violation of Roe v. Wade in states like Texas and Mississippi, tens of millions of people who seek the simple, yet fundamental human right to body autonomy will soon see their own reproductive systems under government control,”
The news website POLITICO broke the story of the draft ruling Monday, noting that it had been leaked to the outlet.
The overturning of Roe is expected to lead to stricter limits in 26 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights advocacy research group. The restrictions would primarily be in the South and Midwest. However, in left-leaning states, such as New York and California, it would have little impact for its residents.
The draft ruling repudiates the court’s 1973 decision, which granted federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. Instead, the ruling makes it clear that abortion rights should be determined by the elected leaders of each respective state.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the initial draft majority opinion, reported POLITICO. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
But many elected leaders who represent Queens view the ruling as a slippery slope for the nation and made clear that abortion rights need to be protected.
“As we’ve warned, SCOTUS isn’t just coming for abortion – they’re coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights,” tweeted Congressmember Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
As we’ve warned, SCOTUS isn’t just coming for abortion – they’re coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights.
Manchin is blocking Congress codifying Roe. House has seemingly forgotten about Clarence Thomas. These 2 points must change https://t.co/5Isec0osV0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 3, 2022
She called on Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe. She also retweeted a statement from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who also called for the passage of new law.
“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”
Several Queens legislators made clear that abortion rights need to be protected, including Council Member Julie Won who recently gave birth.
“After having a baby, I am more pro-choice. Not bc I don’t love my baby/love being a mom, but bc what women go through to give birth, vaginal or c-section, is so traumatic & invasive, women should be able to choose to go through it,” Won tweeted.
Meanwhile, Council Member Skekar Krishnan tweeted that the decision would be devastating if the draft opinion becomes final.
“An unprecedented leak, a catastrophic decision—we need immediate action to protect reproductive rights and repudiate this. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
Meanwhile, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas said that the ruling would lead to the death of many women.
“The expected overruling of Roe v. Wade will lead to the death of people and women who give birth across this nation. We have to fight this. Congress MUST pass legislation that codifies #RoeVWade!”
State Sen. Jessica Ramos said that New York State lawmakers were concerned that the Supreme Court would one day strike down Roe v. Wade and made steps to protect New Yorkers.
“As a freshman legislator, I signed onto the Reproductive Health Act as soon as I could,” she tweeted. “We codified Roe in NYS to defend against this exact scenario, but we know attacks on Roe are just the beginning. LGBTQ & interracial marriage are also put in jeopardy by this leaked draft.”
Meanwhile, Councilmember Tiffany Cabán is urging residents to get out and protest. She tweeted: “Join us in the Streets.”
Join us in the streets pic.twitter.com/ZUaLmhUOkM
— Tiffany Cabán (@tiffany_caban) May 3, 2022