More than 100 people gathered in downtown Asheville's Pritchard Park in May to protest the then-potential repeal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo courtesy of WLOS staff

by Kristy Kepley-Steward, WLOS

Just weeks after a draft option by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked indicating that the high court was prepared to end constitutional protections for abortion, the Supreme Court made the move official and overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Immediately after the ruling North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein took to social media to assure residents in North Carolina that women still have a legal right to abortion in the state:

“I have a message for the women of North Carolina: you still have a legal right to an abortion in our state. North Carolina state law protects women's reproductive freedoms.

“This is true even after the Supreme Court today stripped women of their right to an abortion under the Constitution by overturning Roe v. Wade. If we want to keep our freedoms under state law, then we have to elect state officials who commit to protecting them.”

Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement saying, “For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions, but today that right has been tragically ripped away.

“That means it's now up to the states to determine whether women get reproductive health care, and in North Carolina they still can. I will continue to trust women to make their own medical decisions as we fight to keep politicians out of the doctor's exam room.”

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis released his own statement saying, “This ruling is historic and monumental and affirms my belief that all life is sacred. Each state government and its duly elected representatives will now make the determination about the types of laws they wish to have in place.

“I, for one, will continue to advocate for commonsense measures that the broad majority of Americans support like protecting life at crucial points of development and prohibiting horrendous procedures like partial-birth and pain-capable abortions. This is a very emotional and sensitive issue for many Americans, and I urge calm and respect for the Court’s decision and hope people who have strong feelings on both sides will voice them peacefully.

Congressman Patrick McHenry, (NC-10) released the following statement:

“I join with millions of Americans applauding the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. It is an important step forward to protect the right to life of the unborn and end the tragedy of abortion.

“Today’s decision also marks a return to our constitutional norm of rights and powers being reserved to the states, and a federal government of limited and enumerated powers.

“Despite today’s win for the most vulnerable among us, more work remains to protect the lives of those who cannot defend themselves.”

Democratic candidate for NC District 11 Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said:

“Even though we knew the decision to overturn Roe was coming, the reality of it is hard to absorb. I feel a mix of anger and sadness. I can't stop thinking about all of the people whose lives and health are going to be put at serious risk.

“The decision to get an abortion is deeply personal and often difficult, and lawmakers have no right to restrict that choice. The government should not be in the exam room as a person is making a deeply personal choice. Everyone deserves the right to choose, and as a pro-choice pastor, I will be a vote in Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law.

“As I speak with voters across the district, the people of Western North Carolina add their voices to the majority of Americans — there is a fundamental belief that people have a right to privacy and a right to choose

“In America, your rights should not depend on your zip code, and yet that is exactly what today’s ruling means. So many Western North Carolinians, and Americans, have relied on the courts to protect our constitutional rights, and now those rights are under threat. We cannot go backwards. Every race on the ballot matters more than ever now.

“If elected, I will be a vote and a voice in Congress to restore and protect the right to choose, the right to privacy and the right to equal protection.”

Republican candidate for NC District 11 Chuck Edwards said:

“The Supreme Court has now decided that this is a state issue, and I’ll keep working with the North Carolina legislature to ensure that life is protected in our great state.

“I have always been pro-life, I am pro-life today, and I’ll be pro-life tomorrow.”

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Cheri Beasley said:

“The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and decimate abortion access sets a dangerous legal precedent for our personal freedoms. As the former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, I know reproductive freedom is a constitutional right.

“Washington has shown they lack the courage to act to protect our freedoms. Everyone deserves the right to make their own health decisions without government interference. As your Senator, I will not hesitate to be the 51st vote to end the filibuster and codify Roe nationwide.”

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Ted Budd said:

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a historic victory for the millions of Americans who believe that every life is precious and deserves protection. And it is a victory for the millions of unborn children who may now realize the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life.

“The Court's ruling correctly empowers the people's representatives in each state to decide how best to protect unborn lives. As a conscience-driven pro-life advocate, I will continue to support protections for unborn children everywhere.”

NC House Speaker Tim Moore released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs Ruling:

“Today’s decision from the United States Supreme Court is long overdue and a major win for protecting life! The end of Roe v. Wade rightfully returns authority back to the states to determine abortion law.”

He continued, “While I remain unequivocally pro-life, the short budget adjustment session does not afford us sufficient time to take up the issue. However, North Carolinians can rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that current restrictions on the books will be enforced. North Carolinians can also expect pro-life protections to be a top priority of the legislature when we return to our normal legislative session in January.”

How we got here

On May 2, the drafted opinion was published in Politico. The opinion was for a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion states.

Following the leak of the draft opinion by Justice Alito back in May, gatherings and protests were held across the country including in Western North Carolina.

Hundreds rallied in Asheville and Hendersonville in the days following the draft release.

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  1. “I'm calling on all NC women to support pro-choice candidates. Before Roe v. Wade, women still terminated pregnancies. Back then, desperate times called for desperate measures by desperate women. All human beings should have control over their own bodies. That is not only a constitutional right but a human right.”

    This article does not include the strong anti-choice statements made by Republican Congressman (7th CD) David Rouzer, or by Republican Senate Candidate (Cheri Beasley's opponent), Ted Budd. These men don't care about women's rights or life. If they did, they would be for banning assault weapons and many other bills that would make a living child's life better.

  2. Save the unborn. They matter! It’s easy to be pro choice when you have been chosen. Both ends of life are at stake here; when you terminate life for convenience then who are we to become?

  3. If ‘protecting life' is the real reason for outlawing abortion, I say let us be consistent.
    Let us outlaw other things that do not protect life: war, guns, fossil fuels to name but a few of the more obvious ones.