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Utah leaders react to Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Posted at 9:26 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 18:51:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court released its ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, leaders in Utah quickly reacted to the decision that will put abortion rights into the hands of states.

Governor Spencer Cox tweeted his support of the ruling in a post to social media.

"This administration has been dedicated to giving a voice to the most vulnerable in our society, including the unborn," wrote Cox. "As pro-life advocates, this administration is equally committed to supporting women and families in Utah. We all need to do more to support mothers, pregnant women, and children facing poverty and trauma."

Utah's congressional delegation echoed Cox's thoughts from Washington.

“The national nightmare of Roe has ended," said Sen. Mike Lee. “I pray for national unity and for the safety of the justices of the Supreme Court who, in regard to this case, have faced unprecedented attacks. I thank God that the people of Utah and the United States are now free to enact protections for life and human dignity.”

In a statement, Republican Congressman John Curtis said he was "proud" to have witnessed what the Supreme Court had ruled.

Congressman Blake Moore offered similar sentiments as Curtis on Friday afternoon.

"The ruling gives back to states like Utah their constitutional authority to protect the lives of millions of children and support expecting mothers. This is a monumental day in our nation's history," he said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall opposed the views of other Utah leaders in a tweet of her own Friday morning.

"This is infuriating, devastating news. This decision by the Supreme Court will have devastating consequences nationwide, particularly for women of color and low-income women," said Mendenhall.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson similarly expressed her opposition in a statement issued Friday afternoon:

“I am heartsick, but not surprised, by the ruling of the Supreme Court. I never imagined I would see such a devastating and unprecedented roll-back of women’s reproductive rights in my lifetime.
"I believe that the decision to terminate a pregnancy should not be made by government, but rather by the woman, her closest confidents, and her clergy with the input of mental and physical health advisors.
"The denial of rights here in Utah will be the greatest burden on women without resources and that is especially troubling. Women with means will have the resources to access abortion outside of our state yet those without support and financial resources will be the most impacted.”

Conservative activist Gayle Ruzicka shares her thoughts on the Supreme Court's decision below:

Gayle Ruzicka of Utah Eagle Forum talks about Supreme Court decison

Friday's decision puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

Justice Samuel Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned.

Paul Cassell, a former United States district judge and current University of Utah law professor thinks the ruling will force women to seek abortions in states where it will likely remain legal, such as Nevada and Colorado.

“Women in Utah will begin traveling to those states to have abortions performed,” he said. “It’s interesting that in today’s decision, one of the key justices, Justice Kavanaugh, said he thought it was ‘obvious’ that states could not ban interstate travel, that is women would have the ability to travel to other states to get abortions, so it seems likely that that will be the next litigation phase.”

The full version of the court's opinion can be read here.

University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell discusses overturning of Roe v. Wade below:

Former District Court Judge Paul Cassell discusses Roe v. Wade decision