Today, in a 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, the United States Supreme Court struck down a restrictive and harmful Louisiana abortion law as unconstitutional. Reproductive rights narrowly avoided a serious blow in this decision that would have put Roe v. Wade on even shakier ground.
Four of the justices—Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan—reaffirmed the right to choose as a fundamental constitutional right. Chief Justice John Roberts joined these four justices in striking down the Louisiana law not because he believes the right to choose is embedded in the Constitution, but because he believes in this case, prior precedent must be followed.
This is a temporary relief, but to be clear, the struggle to protect abortion rights from relentless attack will continue. There is a robust pipeline of cases challenging Roe, and we know that threats to reproductive freedom are coming to every state—including New Hampshire. A wider challenge to Roe, Casey, and Whole Women’s Health is coming and we must be ready for the fight.
We will need to rely on elected officials and state judges to protect access to abortion, and the Executive Council will have a central role in determining whether the right to choose is protected in New Hampshire.
As a candidate for Executive Council, I have pledged time and time again that I will ensure the right to have an abortion is fully protected. One of the most important votes that may come before the Executive Council next year is on the renomination of Gordon MacDonald to our NH Supreme Court. Gordon MacDonald cannot be trusted to protect the right to choose, and he would form a majority on the New Hampshire Supreme Court hostile to abortion rights and other fundamental rights. I have and will continue to oppose his nomination.
The right to choose is under dire threat across our country, and appointments to national and state courts can very quickly change the outcome of settled law. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court followed precedent. Tomorrow, the result may be different. On the Executive Council, I will make sure that our fundamental rights are protected when reviewing nominees to New Hampshire courts. No matter what happens in Washington, I will not let our rights be denied here.