U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision by saying that the Democratic administration “strongly disagrees” with the ruling.
Garland released a statement shortly after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe, in which the attorney general claimed that the Court “upended the doctrine of stare decisis, a key pillar of the rule of law.”
“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision,” Garland said. “This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be greatly disproportionate in its effect – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those of limited financial means.”
The decision on Friday followed the early May leak of a draft opinion indicating which way the justices would rule, The Daily Wire reported. That leak prompted protests across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C., as well as dozens of attacks and vandalism of pro-life organizations, centers, and churches.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the May draft opinion that Roe and a subsequent case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld and expanded on Roe, both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states.
Later in the statement, Garland said that violence and threats would not be tolerated.
“Advocates with different views on this issue have the right to, and will, voice their opinions,” Garland said. “Peacefully expressing a view is protected by the First Amendment. But we must be clear that violence and threats of violence are not. The Justice Department will not tolerate such acts.”
The warning that the DOJ would not tolerate violence and threats comes after a left-wing extremist was arrested earlier this month for showing up outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, allegedly to assassinate him.
“The Justice Department will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” Garland continued. “Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Department will continue to protect healthcare providers and individuals seeking reproductive health services in states where those services remain legal.”
“The ability to decide one’s own future is a fundamental American value, and few decisions are more significant and personal than the choice of whether and when to have children,” Garland said. “Few rights are more central to individual freedom than the right to control one’s own body.”
“The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom,” he concluded. “And we will not waver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
Mary Margaret Olohan contributed to this report.