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Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., responded to the alleged draft of a forthcoming Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization striking down Roe v. Wade with a pledge to convene a special session of the South Dakota legislature to limit abortion should the Court’s final ruling strike down the 1973 precedent.
The draft, which the Court refused to confirm or deny and which appears to date back to February, would reverse Roe v. Wade and allow the states to make their own laws on the hot-button issue of abortion. Since this is a draft, reported by Politico, and not an official signed opinion, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Drafts circulate and change.
“If this report is true and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota,” Noem announced on Twitter.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Attorney General Ken Paxton, R-Texas, responded to the news by encouraging the Court to return the contentious issue to the states.
“I hope that #SCOTUS returns the question of abortion where it belongs: the States,” Paxton said on Twitter. “This is why I led a 24-state coalition in support of MS’s law banning them after 15 wks. I’ll [continue] to ensure that TX protects the unborn & pray for the end of abortion across our nation.”
Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, speaks during a news conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Lynn Fitch, attorney general of Mississippi, the state that passed the law under consideration in the Dobbs case, said she will wait for the Court’s official opinion.
“Earlier tonight Politico claimed to have an initial draft of the Dobbs decision,” Fitch’s office noted. “The contents of the article & veracity of linked opinion can’t be verified.”
“We will let the Supreme Court speak for itself and wait for the Court’s official opinion,” Fitch said in a brief statement.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, center right, accompanied by Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart, center left, waves to supporters as they walk out of of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, after the court heard arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
States with Democratic legislatures have passed laws codifying abortion in case Roe gets overturned. Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., signed a law creating a “fundamental right” to abortion and denying any right for the unborn. In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., signed a law codifying abortion rights and explicitly removing protections from unborn infants. The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill aimed at combating abortion restrictions in other states.
Meanwhile, states with Republican legislatures have passed laws restricting abortion, with Texas and Idaho passing laws allowing private citizens to file civil suits against individuals who aid or abet abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, at about 6 weeks of pregnancy.
While many polls suggest Americans support Roe, in-depth polling reveals a more complicated picture. When asked about their opinion on abortion during specific periods of pregnancy and other situations, 71% of Americans say they support restricting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (22%), or in other limited circumstances such as rape and incest (28%), to save the life of the mother (9%) or not at all (12%). Only 17% of Americans said abortion should be available during an entire pregnancy and 12% said it should be restricted to the first six months.