Utah politicians react to Roe v Wade bombshell; Cox, Henderson, Romney, Lee express support for draft opinion, decry historic leak

File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 3, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s top politicians are sounding off on a leaked report revealing the U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade.

In a statement released Monday night, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson telegraphed their enthusiasm for the impending court decision, while decrying the leak of the Court’s draft majority opinion published by Politico on Monday afternoon.

“While we are encouraged and optimistic at the possibility that the abortion law will be left to the duly elected representatives of the states, draft rulings are not actual rulings and leaked drafts are a dangerous violation of court protocol and deliberations,” the statement said.

“Utah has already passed a law, SB174, that will govern if the high court decides to overturn Roe. We anxiously await the courts actual ruling in this case.”

Photo: Gov. Spencer J. Cox/Facebook

SB174, passed in 2020 by the Republican controlled Legislature and signed into law by then-governor Gary Herbert, “prohibits a pregnant woman from receiving an abortion, with limited exceptions.”

Those exceptions include: cases of pregnancy involving rape, rape of a child, incest, or instances in which “the abortion is necessary to avert the death of the woman on whom the abortion is performed.”

Abortions are also allowed in cases where two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur the fetus “has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal; or has a severe abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable.”

Under SB174, anyone, including physicians, who performs illegal abortions could face second-degree felony charges. In addition to criminal charges, doctors and clinics that allow abortions could have their licenses revoked.

Rep. Mike Lee. Photo: Twitter/Rep. Mike Lee

U.S. Senator Mike Lee also took to social media, praising “what appears to be Justice Alito’s well-written and well-reasoned draft,” while simultaneously blasting the leak, calling the breach of protocol “dangerous, despicable and damaging.

“The Supreme Court is not like other branches of government; it is not a political body. Deliberation and the maintenance of confidentiality are vital to the free operation of the justices and the judicial system. To violate the understanding that has held for the entire modern history of the Court — is dangerous, despicable, and damaging. I hope and pray that what appears to be Justice Alito’s well-written and well-reasoned draft in fact reflects the majority of the Court,” Lee tweeted.

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Twitter/Sen. Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney echoed Lee’s sentiments. In a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter, Romney decried the leaked report, but said he agreed with its conclusion.

“If the leaked draft opinion reflects the final outcome, it is a decision I support,” Romney wrote. “The sanctity of human life is a foundational American principle. Laws regarding abortion would now be returned to the people and their elected representatives.

“The breach of the Court’s deliberative process, however, is an appalling affront against a critical institution and should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished.”

Diane Lewis, chairwoman of the Utah Democratic Party. Photo: utahdemocrats.org

The Utah Democratic Party released a statement Monday night, saying if the Supreme Court tosses Roe v Wade trigger laws will take effect in nearly half of the 50 states, including Utah’s SB174.

“If the reports are correct and the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade this year, we will see one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation go into effect in Utah, thanks to a bill passed by the GOP supermajority and signed into law in 2020,” said Utah Democratic Party Chair Diane Lewis. “The Republicans have been fighting for decades to impose their unpopular, extremist views on this issue upon Americans, while Democrats have stood firm in the belief that reproductive freedom is fundamental and must be protected. That has not changed, and we will continue fighting for the rights affirmed by Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago,” Lewis said.

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Tuesday the draft was authentic but noted there could be changes before a final opinion is handed down in June.

“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” Roberts wrote. “The work of the court will not be affected in any way.

“This was a singular and egregious breach of trust that is an affront to the court and the community of public servants who work here.”

“I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak,” Roberts said.

According to Politico, how Robert’s voted is unknown, although it said Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Barret joined Alito in the yet to be finalized majority decision.

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