June 24, 2022 By Christian Murray
Elected officials in Queens have been quick to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court for its ruling Friday that strikes down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, has now 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 will have little local effect—Queens leaders viewed the decision as a step backward for the nation, noting that in many states women would be denied access.
The ruling comes one day after the nation’s top court overturned a century-old New York law that placed heavy restrictions on residents from carrying concealed handguns. The ruling, its critics argue, is likely to lead to an increase in gun violence that is already a problem.
“In just two short days, SCOTUS has issued two rulings that actively challenge our ability to keep ourselves safe. Our safety – our personal health decisions, our ability to stay safe from gun violence- cannot be left to a politicized court. We’re going to mourn, and then fight,” tweeted State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and adjacent areas.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who represents western Queens, also weighed in.
“Another day, another terrible and wrongly decided decision from the Supreme Court. This decision attacks what has been a fundamental right for Americans for the last half-century and profoundly reverses so much progress that has been made for health and economic equity,” Gianaris said in a statement.
Council Member Shekar Krishnan, who represents Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, posted a concise comment on twitter about the ruling. “This is devastating.”
Residents are also beginning to protest the decisions, with a rally planned in Sunnyside—at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street– Friday at 7 p.m.
The court’s ruling today pertaining to abortion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who said the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling was not based on the text of the constitution. He wrote for the majority, which included Chief Justice John Roberts along with Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
The ruling is expected to lead to strict abortion 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, where state legislatures are more conservative.
However, in left-leaning states, such as New York and California, it would have little impact for its residents.
Liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote the dissent.
“The majority would allow States to ban abortion from conception onward because it does not think forced childbirth at all implicates a woman’s rights to equality and freedom,” they wrote.
“Today’s Court, that is, does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and the path of her life,” they wrote. “A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”
Queens legislators were in agreement with the dissenting justices.
Councilmember Lynn Schulman, who represents Forest Hills, Rego Park and nearby areas, said that the abortion issue has had a direct impact on her family.
“My great grandmother died trying to give herself an abortion, & now many more women will suffer the same fate. Being apart of the first women-led NYC city council, I will fight like hell for Reproductive Justice.”
The reversal of Roe v. Wade by SOCTUS is incredibly dangerous. My great grandmother died trying to give herself an abortion, & now many more women will suffer the same fate. Being apart of the first women-led @NYCCouncil, I will fight like hell for Reproductive Justice.
— Lynn Schulman 舒曼琳 (@Lynn4NYC) June 24, 2022
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz was also critical of the decision.
“A mere day after SCOTUS decided to put the lives of New Yorkers at risk by striking down our long-standing restrictions on guns, the majority of Supreme Court Justices have now decided to put the lives of millions of women across the entire nation at risk by overturning Roe v. Wade. This decision is beyond frustrating, and moreover, reckless.”