Sounding Off: Reactions to the Supreme Court Leak by Local, State Elected Officials


With an unprecedented leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this week, elected leaders across the state issued statements. Here’s a roundup of some of the statements sent to The Chronicle. Their full statement can be found on their websites and social media pages. 


Senate Minority Leader John Braun:

“This Supreme Court opinion does not change much in our state. Democrats have been quick to point out that the law here in Washington continues to provide opportunities for abortion procedures. Whatever the law, whatever your politics, fewer abortions should be a common goal.

“It is startling, though, that the draft opinion was leaked. If true, it’s not only illegal, it’s an unscrupulous attempt to manipulate public opinion.

“Unfortunately, this is already intensifying the acrimony in the debate over a very contentious issue. People on both sides of this issue are very passionate about their beliefs. Hopefully this is a moment where we can all show grace.”


Rep. Jim Walsh:

"Abortion is a sensitive public policy issue that involves intensely personal matters of life, death and choice. For these reasons, the emerging story around the leak of an early draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs' case is troubling. Some of the reactions to that leak among elected officials here in Washington have been curious. And, frankly, illogical.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has a well-established process for drafting, reviewing and debating opinions before they are published. Our state Supreme Court here in Washington has a similar process. This process relies on discretion and confidence that early drafts of opinions are just that — working drafts, subject to refinement and adjustment.

"To leak a working draft to the public, while not criminal in the strict sense, is certainly unethical. And such a leak violates the longstanding traditions of the Court. Knowing this, the leak of an early draft of an opinion in the Dobbs case, which deals with Mississippi's state restrictions on access to abortion, seems like a calculated effort to disrupt the U.S. Supreme Court's deliberations. Chief Justice John Roberts has called for an investigation of the leak. When that investigation is completed, we should know more about who leaked the draft and why they did it.

"In the meantime, Washington law thoroughly protects every woman's access to abortion in this state. In our statutes and codes, abortion is available and protected in every way that it can be. In fact, Washington taxpayers cover the cost of abortions for women who can't afford them. Or choose not to pay for them.

"Some of us who work in Olympia wish the state paid for adoption of children as thoroughly as it pays for abortions.

"Nothing in the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs threatens or affects Washington's codified abortion policies in any way. In fact, a central holding of the draft opinion is that states are free to set their own policies about abortion. It actually supports the sort of policies that exist now in Washington.”


Democratic Congressional Candidate for the Third District Brent Hennerich:

“The SCOTUS has failed our nation by legislating from the bench.

“A person’s right to choose what happens with their body has always been a core tenet of my Campaign. The leaked (and later confirmed) SCOTUS draft decision strips that liberty from the people, as well as opening the door for attacks on a host of so-called ‘moral issues” such as gay marriage and LGBTQ+ protections.

“Abortion is not a ‘moral issue.’ It is a medical issue. I have many times spoken of the tragedy my wife and I endured with our second child — and how my wife’s life was saved and we got to meet our daughter as she faded during her short (hours long) life.

“Roe v. Wade was not simply a judgment in favor of a person’s right to bodily autonomy. It allows educated healthcare professionals and informed families the option to choose a treatment that aligns with all of the factors they face, in ANY GIVEN HEALTHCARE SITUATION.

“With this ideal in mind, there can be no uncrossable line in the potential care of anyone, in any conceivable situation. No line can be drawn that covers any and all eventualities.”


Sen. Patty Murray:

“If the report we saw last night is true — that the Supreme Court plans to end the constitutional right to abortion in this country, and overturn Roe v. Wade — this is a five alarm fire. In a matter of days or weeks, the horrifying reality is that we could live in a country without Roe. A country where women are forced to remain pregnant no matter their personal circumstances — and yes, we’re also talking about situations like rape or incest. A country where extreme politicians will control patients’ most private decisions. And let’s be clear — abortion bans won’t actually end abortions, they will just make them unsafe, and they will hurt the women with the least resources and the tightest budgets.”


Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig:

“In Washington state, our Democratic majorities have reinforced laws that guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion. But even though our state was prepared for this erosion of rights, now that this moment has apparently arrived, it is no less shocking. For the majority of my life, I have watched the Supreme Court expand and reinforce the rights of Americans — not revoke them. Unfortunately in recent years, we have seen this Court move in a different direction away from basic individual liberties. Our state will remain a beacon for choice and welcome people from other states who are being denied their right to choose.”


Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal:

“If the draft majority opinion holds, it will represent the most profound rollback of any civil right in America, and an unprecedented setback for gender equality.

“As Washington state’s elected K–12 schools chief, it would be short-sighted for me to believe that my job starts and ends within the walls of our classrooms… It is counterintuitive and dangerous to believe that stripping access to safe abortions will not have detrimental impacts on our children and families.

“If this draft majority opinion holds, the young people in our nation's schools today will be the first in nearly half a century to enter adulthood without the federally protected basic human right of choosing if, when, and how to start a family. The economic impacts of this unprecedented reversal would be devastating — abolishing choice will indisputably limit the education and career opportunities of young women.

“While it appears in the draft majority opinion that states will have the ability to continue to uphold access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, make no mistake: Millions of Americans will be harmed by this decision.”