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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 5/2/22

Guests: Barbara McQuade, Melissa Murray, Ari Melber, Phil Rucker, Alexis McGill Johnson, Amy Hagstrom Miller, Barbara Lee, A.B. Stoddard, Matthew Dowd


The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. According to the draft, the court would overturn Roe v. Wade`s holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The opinion would be the most consequential abortion decision in decades and transform the landscape of women`s reproductive health in America.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: We really appreciate it. Thank you.

Katie Porter gets tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE starts now.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, breaking news on the future of abortion rights in this country, stunning and unprecedented reporting from Politico. A draft opinion showing the Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe versus Wade, it will surely set off a political earthquake in this country. We`re covering every angle as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this historic Monday night.

Good evening. Once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle with a big one tonight beginning with dramatic developments involving a woman`s right to an abortion.

According to a leaked draft opinion obtained by POLITICO, the Supreme Court has privately voted to strike down the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision from 49 years ago. POLITICO reports tonight quote, the draft opinion is a full throated unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision, which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision -- Planned Parenthood versus Casey that largely maintained the right. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start, Alito rights.

POLITICO also pointing out justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate. NBC News has not obtained or confirmed the draft ruling. And so far the Supreme Court has declined to comment. Even if this leak, even this leak itself is unprecedented

The New York Times pointing out early drafts of opinions have never leaked before a final decision is announced. So we`ve got unprecedented across the board and a lot to dig into.

With that, let`s bring in our experts. Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning deputy national editor at the Washington Post. Barbara McQuade, veteran prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She worked with the DOJ during the Biden transition, and is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, professor Melissa Murray, a NYU Law School professor, she was a law clerk for Sonia Sotomayor on the federal bench before her nomination to the Supreme Court, and Ari Melber, MSNBC, chief legal analyst and the host of the beat right here on MSNBC.

Let`s get into this. What a night. Barbara, your reaction to this draft ruling? What do we need to know tonight?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it`s shocking you use the word earthquake. And I think that is very apt here. I think there was some speculation that it could be that rather than completely overturning Roe versus Wade, the court might take a more limited approach, just saying that a 15-week abortion in Dobbs was enough to be limited.

But in this opinion, they go all the way that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. And that means it`s fair game for all of the states. I think that not only does this -- is this devastating news for anyone who might ever want to seek abortion and abortion in America, but it is also based on the same for a number of privacy rights that form the basis for a number of other important decisions like same sex marriage, like interracial marriage, like contraception. And so this could open the floodgates to eviscerating all kinds of rights.

RUHLE: Melissa, what else do we need to know?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: Well, as you said, Stephanie, it`s unprecedented for a draft opinion to be leaked like this. I can`t think of another time when something like this has happened. So that`s my dog. He`s also very concerned about the evisceration of abortion.

The real question here is why did this leak happen and what`s causing it and I have three theories here. One is that it could have been leaked by the dissenters. But I think that`s unlikely, it could have been leaked by someone in the middle who`s trying to create a test balloon to see how this will land with the public. Or perhaps more likely, it is being circulated by someone in the majority who fears that there may be defectors from the majority opinion.

So this is a way to back wobbly justices into a corner and make sure that they stay on side for this decision, which is Barbara says, is a real absolutist decision that takes no prisoners and really undermines and eviscerates all existing abortion rights.

RUHLE: We are already seeing people gathering outside protesters the reaction tonight, obviously, extraordinary. Ari, what`s your initial reaction?

ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: This is as a draft opinion, a complete two by four to all women`s rights precedent at the court. We`re talking about 50 years of precedent. This is not anything like a mixed ruling as a draft. And we`ve all heard the caveats in our coverage, that this is not yet law.

But if this ruling as drafted becomes law, this incredible leak of a draft opinion, it eviscerates women rights, it eviscerates both the original Roe v Wade opinion and the Planned Parenthood V Casey opinion that further defined how those rights and the undue burden would be applied in the United States.


It will have an immediate impact on people, hundreds of millions of people who are impacted because many, many states have triggers more than a dozen, where basically, when this draft, if it does come down as law, it will then become law of the land and states that have said they want to ban abortion with no exceptions, in many places for rape or incest or other very serious matters that states have previously said, should be adjudicated with some level of balance, none of that is going to happen. We`ve got the graph on the screen there that really goes through that.

And then finally, you have the fact that basically, we`re heading into a midterm election where you could get a Congress that might want to go further with this green light and have a national ban on abortion in 2022. And the reason that people are following this and saying, Gosh, seems like this all happened pretty fast. Well, the last president who of course, was elected lawfully for the Electoral College, but with fewer votes, not with a national mandate, with the minority of the public voting for him, put three people on the Supreme Court and this draft opinion is the product.

I can`t think of if this is handed down, Stephanie, I can`t think of a more extreme and controversial use of the court`s power on an issue where clearly, there is both settled precedent, what they call stare decisis and public opinion. So like I said, a two by four to everything we`ve known about choice over the last 50 years.

RUHLE: Or Ari, we could get the opposite political worse -- political response come the midterms, this could potentially wake the sleeping giant, and you could motivate Democratic voters, centers voters, people that aren`t engaged in politics at all, to get out and vote to protect a woman`s right.

Melissa, I want to go back to the nature of this leak, though, you talked about how unprecedented it is, and why it may have been leaked. What does something like this do you yourself were a clerk to the integrity and trust of the bench, right? The highest court in the land, we don`t see things like this happen. And they`ve all got to go to work together tomorrow.

MURRAY: Well, this cannot sit well with the justices, you know, there is going to be hell to pay tomorrow when as they tried to figure out where this leak came from. But again, it goes to the monumental nature of this opinion. This is an opinion that does exactly as already says it undo undoes almost 50 years of precedent.

And it does so in a way that makes clear that other rights are also similarly likely to be on the chopping block, if not in the immediate future, then certainly, in the next couple of years, that lends --it lends all the breadcrumbs for undoing those other unenumerated rights.

And so, this is a kind of salvo across the bow, a warning shot, perhaps an attempt to maybe galvanize the public, or alternatively, to keep this conservative bloc together. And so that really is the question to me. Why did this happen? Who is doing this? Because it can tell us a lot about what`s going on within the court. And its internal deliberations, because this had to be a really fraught issue, even on a court that is so clearly ideologically fractured.

RUHLE: Phil, take us to the White House. How did they respond to this?

PHIL RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST DEPUTY NATIONAL EDITOR: Well, Stephanie, we haven`t heard anything yet from President Biden or his administration, but we`re hearing alarm bells sound across the Democratic Party here in Washington and around the country. We`re hearing governors, including in New York and Michigan and other states, saying that they will use whatever that power they have in their states to uphold women`s rights to an abortion to uphold the practice of abortion in their states.

I would fully expect a pretty fulsome response from President Biden, at some point, perhaps tomorrow, but the White House, of course, I think was waiting to gauge whether this draft opinion is validated and real and don`t obviously want to get ahead of the process at the court. But it is a huge political storm. And you can expect Biden to have some strong words about it.

RUHLE: Ari, how does that work? You know, you`ve got the governor of New York saying we will protect New Yorkers. Can state lawmakers do that?

MELEBER: YEs, I mean, reading again, from this draft opinion, that`s the argument they make on page six again, for viewers, this hasn`t become law yet. But the Supreme Court as of this moment is not denying the veracity. The political report is throwing Neal Katyal and other experts have said it looks pretty valid and meaning that it is real and not a hoax and thus, a Alita leader would have written here it`s time to heed the Constitution, quote and return the issue of abortion to the people`s elected representatives. And goes on to say this is what the rule of law demands.


So the argument here is that you would send it back to the states that that`s where things were before Roe. There`s a rather lengthy section the opinion that as I was reading through it about that history and how that went back and forth, and I think many viewers lived through that, parts of that. So we remember that.

But bottom line, the argument would be, well, states will deal with this. Well, if you go down that road, then yes, some states with elected representatives who want to protect abortion can continue to do so.

But you`re wiping out the entire idea, as the professor was alluding to, that there are human rights here and that there are human rights, whether you want to call those conservative libertarian, or progressive because they involve women, whatever you want to put the label on the idea that the government is not allowed to go between a doctor and a patient or inside someone`s body up through what has been the timeline put out through Casey, that`s been around for a long time, Casey was about 92.

So you`d be wiping that away and leaving it up to individual states unless and until a Congress tried to federalize the issue again.

RUHLE: Barb, Ari mentioned it just a few moments ago, these trigger laws, but can you just slow it down for us and walk us through? We`ve got a lot of people tuning in tonight, who might not watch political news day in and day out, but they`re worried. Explain to us how overturning Roe vs. Wade can automatically ban abortion in a whole bunch of states. How will this work?

MCQUADE: For me while Roe versus Wade --

MELBER: Oh, sorry about that.

RUHLE: Barb.

MELBER: Go ahead.

MCCQUADE: I think that was for me, Ari. I think, you know, while Roe versus Wade was the law of the land, states couldn`t violate that. They couldn`t enact laws that banned abortion made it illegal made it a crime. If Roe vs. Wade is gone, that frees the landscape. And so any state could enact a law that bans abortion just as we`re seeing in places like Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, all these places.

And in many states, as you suggest, Stephanie, there were laws on the books in 1973, when Roe vs. Wade was decided that had to be invalidated. They stayed on the books. Here in Michigan, we`ve got one of those that upon this decision, once it is issued, that law will automatically revert to being a law that bans abortion in the state of Michigan. There are other states that have passed what you just refer to as trigger laws, which is in the event that Roe vs. Wade is overturned, then this will become our law in our state which will ban abortion, more than half the states have laws that will make abortion illegal in their state if and when this decision is issued.

RUHLE: Melissa, I want to go to page five of the draft it says the Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. Can you explain this to us?

MURRAY: So this is something that conservatives like to talk about incessantly this idea of quote unquote enumerated rights, rights that are explicit in the text of the Constitution. What they don`t say is that there are a lot of things that they hold sacrosanct that aren`t explicit in the Constitution either.

And so executive privilege, for example, or qualified immunity which we`ve heard about ad nauseam over the last two years. None of those things is explicit in the text of the Constitution, yet the Court has recognized them.

So there are a range of different rights and principles that are implicit, but not necessarily explicit in the Constitution. And one of these things the Court has said in its past is abortion, this idea that there are liberties, including the right to determine how your body will be used, and to not make these choices under the compulsion of the state. We don`t hear about that.

And again, I can`t even express the magnitude of this decision. This is not just overturning Roe vs. Wade, it is actually withdrawing a right that had previously be converted. We have never done anything like that in the history of this country. And this may pretend to put this off on the states to make their own decisions. But we`ve already seen Missouri enact or propose a law that would make it a crime to leave the state or deny individuals the opportunity to leave the state to seek abortion care elsewhere.

And this is something that happened in the days when interracial marriage was prohibited, it could be a crime to actually leave the state to transact and interracial marriage.

So, we are actually going to see not a state, a state by state settlement of this but actually more inter jurisdictional conflict over abortion and the withdrawal of a right that many Americans have come to take for granted at this point.

RUHLE: Phil, could this big win for Republicans end up being careful what you wish for year after year they incessantly campaign on this, because it brings out evangelicals single issue voters. But when you add in the majority of Republicans and swing voters, undecided voters, the overwhelming majority of this country do not want a ban on abortion. Could this end up blowing up and Republicans face?

RUCKER: It could potentially, Stephanie, and here`s something to think about. It`s not just the Supreme Court`s decision but anti-abortion activists are planning and my colleague at the Washington Post Carolyn Kitchener has a great piece on this out this morning are planning to move even further to try to advocate for a federal ban on all abortions after six weeks by the Congress.


And so if Republicans were to win majorities in the House in the Senate, their leadership would come under extraordinary pressure from activists in their own party to push forward that kind of legislation. But that is the kind of legislation that is you know, is unpopular with the broader American public, and it could serve the purpose of really cutting into Republican support politically.

And you should look to see Democrats try to take advantage of this court ruling if in fact, this is how the court is going to end up ruling on abortion to warn that Republicans could take away other rights as well. There`s language in this draft opinion, that alludes to gay rights, and that alludes to same sex marriage, and other social values and rights that are very near and dear to Democrats and to the progressive base.

And I think they can use this court ruling or at least will try to use this court ruling as a way to galvanize their own voters ahead of the midterm elections.

RUHLE: Melissa, I want to share a clip from Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, of course, that hearing under oath, here`s what he said.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Have your views on whether Roe is settled precedent or could be overturned? And has your views changed since you were in the Bush White House?

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINIEE: Senator, I said that it`s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know, and most prominently, most importantly, reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood versus Casey in 1992.

And as you well recall, Senator, I know, when that case came up, the Supreme Court didn`t just reaffirm it in passing, the court specifically went through all the factors of stare decisis and considering whether to overrule it. And then joint opinion of Justice Kennedy, Justice O`Connor and Justice Souter at great length went through those factors, that was the question presented in the case.


RUHLE: So Melissa, let`s say on Dianne Feinstein, after getting an answer like that, I would think, yes, he`s not going to touch Roe versus Wade. And now here we are. Does this now show that whatever these justices say in their confirmation hearings, just gets thrown out the window once they`re on the bench?

MURRAY: Well, I testified against Brett Kavanaugh in that confirmation hearing it so you know, I may be biased on this. But I said that and I`ll say it now that I thought he would be a likely vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade no matter what he said. But if you listen closely, he talks about Planned Parenthood versus Casey and the fact that Casey articulates a number of factors that the court has to consider before it can overrule a past precedent.

If you go through this draft opinion, if it`s true, and this is the draft of the majority, they go through all of those Casey factors. They simply come out with the view that Roe versus Wade was egregiously wrong was wrong on the day that it was decided back in 1973. And Brett Kavanaugh promised no more than that, simply going through those factors. And here we are. And so I think he`s kept his end of the bargain, and perhaps we may need to interrogate what our part of the bargain was.

RUHLE: Here we are. That is exactly right. Phil Rucker, Barbara McQuade, Ari Melber, Melissa Murray, thank you all for starting us off on this very important night.

Coming up next, much more on this breaking news, the political earthquake it is about to set off and practically speaking the future of abortion in this country what it means for women. The CEO of Planned Parenthood joins us next. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway.



RUHLE: Back to that stunning breaking news, POLITICO obtaining a draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe versus Wade. So let`s dig deeper on this breaking news and bring in the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of America, Alexis McGill Johnson and Amy Hagstrom Miller, she`s the founder of Whole Women`s Health, two of the most prominent abortion providers in this country.

Alexis, again, I want to remind our audience, that this is only a draft opinion obtained by POLITICO nothing is set. But at the same time, we`ve got panicked scared women across this country. Explain to us if this draft holds if it becomes opinion, what will this mean for abortion?

ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT AND CEO: Thank you so much, Stephanie. Yes, it is a draft opinion but it is clearly a roadmap and I`m so glad that you mentioned the very people who may be choosing to seek access to abortion who may have appointments tomorrow. They should know that this is still a right that they should still be able to go to their appointments. as of tonight abortion is still legal. The court has not formally rolled and it is important for patients to know that they can still get care.


But what it means, right, is that if it is real, what they have provided us is essentially a roadmap to let us know that they have been willing to overturn 49 years of precedent to take a way a constitutional right, never lost a constitutional right. And even though the writing has been on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating. We are beyond the tipping point now for abortion access, and it is absolutely outrageous.

RUHLE: Amy, let`s say this is upheld. What do you want women in this country to understand?

AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH PRESIDENT AND CEO: You know, this opinion does not reflect the majority of people in this country. Millions of people, men and women, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, people of all faiths have benefited from access to safe abortion in this country.

Abortion is a moral good, it is still available, and it is needed by women and families and people all over the place. And so, we have to fight against this kind of ruling. We have to affirm that abortion is part of regular health care, it is essential medicine. We have abortion available for sure, in about half the states.

And in other states, people are going to see their access decimated and it is not OK for a country that is supposed to stand for human rights to let this happen on our watch and to force people to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles for a procedure that is safe and normal and should be available in their community.

RUHLE: But Amy, even if this doesn`t reflect the majority of this country, if in fact, this is how the Supreme Court ends up ruling, what will it mean for those seeking abortion.

MILLER: So we`ve already seen this kind of effect in Texas. Unfortunately, since last September, we`ve had a ban on abortion. Beyond six weeks in Texas, and the devastation has been tremendous. Thousands of people have been denied access to safe abortion care. Some people have been forced to travel to other places in the country, other states where abortion is available.

Many people have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will, that they don`t feel ready for or prepared for. Other people have taken matters into their own hands and are self-sourcing abortions and managing their own abortions on their own terms. And this is what we`re going to see because bans like this don`t change the need for abortion. They don`t help people prevent unplanned pregnancy. They simply block people from accessing care with trained professionals who are compassionate and kind. And they force people outside the mainstream and they force people to travel, and it`s devastating.

RUHLE: Managing abortions, on their own terms, is about the nicest way you could phrase something truly horrific. Alexis, I know you have a lot of experience with this. What are you seeing happen at Planned Parenthood right now?

JOHNSON: Look, I mean, Amy`s exactly right. I mean, people are managing their abortions, and they`re being criminalized for it, right. They`re being surveilled, because we don`t just have SB8, in effect with a bounty hunting provision. We also have all of these neighboring states putting in copycat laws in anticipation because they`ve been emboldened by this court. And clearly for good reason, if this draft opinion is correct.

So we see patients who are just seeking access to basic health care who are getting in their cars and driving 1000 miles, who need child care, who need access to places to stay in order, time to take off from work in order to get access to basic health care. And the reality is, there are so many people who actually can`t afford to leave many states, as Amy talked about, you know, in a state like Texas, or now a state like Oklahoma.

And the reality is, if this is true, if the court has already decided to overturn Roe, we are talking about 26 states that will ban access to abortion. We`re talking about 36 million people who could give birth who would no longer be able to get access to abortion in their states and that devastation, right?

That`s half the country where people will no longer have power over their own bodies where people will no longer be able to have the right basic right to self-determination that we have come to expect under this Constitution for 49 years. It is it is more than devastating. It is absolutely unconscionable that this is the way that this Court could possibly go.

RUHLE: So what will that look like, right? If 26 states if the trigger laws are enacted and 26 states automatically ban abortion? What happens there what happens to those women Alexis?

JOHNSON: They will have to travel, right? They will have to identify ways in which to manage their care. It means they no longer have access legally in their own states depending on where they are, right? They will have to, again, they will have to get in a car, fill it up with gas, $7 a gallon gas.


They will have to get child care, they will have to find their way to a provider in a state where, where they`re actually expanding access, we`re actually expanding care. You know that this is the intent, Stephanie, right. The intent is not just to shame and, you know, blame abortion providers and patients, it`s also to create a heavy significant burden, which is also what is significant about the way they are describing this case in this draft opinion, right? They`re not just overturning Roe. They`re also overturning Casey potentially, which suggests that one shouldn`t have an additional burden to travel outside of their state just to access basic health care.

So that is what is happening. You know, and you know, folks like Amy at Woman`s Health, people at Planned Parenthood, other providers are identifying ways in which we can, you know, fill the gap to ensure that we are partnering, finding ways to have patients meet their need, but there`s no solution to have, you know, 24 states absorb all of the care and in all 50 states, and that is significant in itself. We`re already seeing the surge in so many states right now.

RUHLE: Amy, how do you fill that gap besides fighting back against this rally and take the politics out? What do your doctors and nurses do? What do your patients do?

MILLER: Right, our patients are at the center of everything we do at Whole Woman`s Health, and like what Alexis is saying, we`re already seeing people travel. In fact, last week, we had a patient travel all the way from McAllen, Texas, to Alexandria, Virginia, in her car with her family and her children because she needed to take her children with her, because they couldn`t get time off work. They had an abortion in Alexandria, Virginia at our clinic in Virginia there, and then they jumped in the car right afterward and drove all night so they could make it back to work.

This is the kind of impact this ban is having already in Texas. And it`s only going to get worse if this decision is indeed, written as it`s drafted so far. We`re seeing people also forced to carry pregnancies against their will, because they can`t travel.

70 percent of the people we care for our parenting already. These are folks who are navigating childcare and the pandemic, they`re navigating work multiple jobs, not everybody can take off work and travel so far.

And so what we`re seeing is people being disproportionately affected people who don`t have health insurance, women of color, black and brown women and young people in communities completely left behind.

And this is going to have a devastating effect on maternal mortality, on health outcomes, on physical and emotional well-being of families all across this country. We are doing all we can to see as many people as possible in our Haven State clinics, in the states where a Roe is codified, or abortion is legal, and abortion is safe at the state level.

But this map is difficult for even people who are extremely informed to understand. And our patients hear news like this and they`re scared. This news does not reflect their reality, and they need to have access to safe abortion. And we`re here to see as many people as we can, as long as we can.

And also to be a trusted source of information, to get folks to clinics that are good, to get folks to self-manage abortion and to get folks to medication, abortion by mail in states where that`s available so that people can get access to the safe abortion they deserve no matter where they are.

RUHLE: Women are not going to stop getting abortions. They`re going to stop getting them safely. And I want our audience to understand that again. A woman, a mother drove all night from McAllen, Texas that is at the Texas- Mexico border to Alexandria, Virginia to get a safe abortion. She could then get back on the road and drive all the way back there to go to work the next day, that in 2020, to think about that. That is the state of the United States of America right now.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Amy Hagstrom Miller, thank you both for joining us this evening.

We`re going to continue on this conversation with California Congresswoman Barbara Lee here to react to tonight`s breaking news on abortion when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Once I made this decision prayerfully one of my mother`s best friends in El Paso helped me access to the abortion I could not get in California. When my mother told her what was going on. She told my mother to send me to her in El Paso because she knew of a good competent and compassionate doctor. Yes, we had a back alley clinic in Mexico. She was kind and loving took me to Mexico to have a DNC abortion procedure. Remember, I just turned 16.


RUHLE: A deeply personal story shared right there by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California. Her own private story just this past September during House Oversight hearing. And the Congressman -- Congresswoman joins us tonight. Congresswoman you were the first person I wanted to call to join us this evening. First of all, what was it like for you, what did it take for you to be willing to share a story so personal and now here you are tonight, possibly having to think about all these American women who might have to take that same trip you did so many years ago.


LEE: Stephanie, you know, I didn`t talk about having an abortion, because that was my right. And that was my decision, just as it should be right now. And it is because abortions are still legal. And I hope young people are who, again, have a pointless to get an abortion understand that they`re still legal.

But then let me tell you, my mother told me, she said, Look, I`ll help you whatever decision you make, but it`s no one`s business. It`s your private decision. So you don`t need to talk about it unless you want to. Well, I chose not to talk about it. But now once all these horrible cases started coming down, I felt compelled. I could not keep quiet. I had to tell the truth about what happened to me. I had to sound the alarm.

Because let me tell you, in the 60s, abortions, were not safe. They were not legal. The deaths of the majority of black women during that period were from septic abortions. I was one who survived. My mother`s friend who just passed away, quite frankly, made sure that I had a safe abortion. It wasn`t legal, it was back alley. And I`m so worried now. And I and it`s very -- this triggers so much personal pain for me, because not only am I angry, I`m heartbroken because I know what I went through. And I know what young people are going to go through.

Most of our young people they don`t know life without Roe. And this is -- it`s crucial that we understand that this is a political decision. The leak unfortunate, sinister opinion that was leaked, that if it is true, that we have to organize, organize, organize, and elect candidates who are going to support a woman`s right to privacy, and to make sure that her own body becomes her own body once again, because right now, these decisions are being made by lawmakers and Supreme Court justices who have nothing to do with the woman`s bodily autonomy.

RUHLE: They might not have nothing anything to do with it. But they do make these decisions. And if this draft does become an official decision, if it`s held, then what does organizing due?

LEE: Well, first of all, we have the Women`s Health Protection Act that the House passed led by my colleague, Congresswoman Judy Chu, who saw this comment. It`s in the Senate now.

And so right now, we need to be organizing and making sure that the Senate passes the Women`s Health Protection Act, because we have to codify the right to a woman`s the Roe versus Wade, excuse me into federal law. That`s the first thing.

Secondly, we have to make sure that people are educated about the impact of decisions voting for the President, in terms of a President having the authority to appoint people to the Supreme Court who make decisions that impact one`s daily lives. We have to educate the public about voter participation and civic engagement, because otherwise, we`re going to end up with what word it looks like, we`re going to end up now because Donald Trump was elected as president.

And so this is, Stephanie, as a matter of racial justice, because women who have money and majority, excuse me, of women who don`t have money are low and who are low income are black and brown women. They don`t have the resources to travel to other states, like women with money have.

And so this is, again, women are going to have the abortion abortions, regardless. What concerns me now is they`re not going to be safe if they`re going to be illegal. And so, I`m terrified of the precedent that this is setting also, because the next ban they`re going to create is a ban on birth control.

And so this is a slippery slope, slope. And we have to really wake up now and do everything we can do to get the Women`s Health Protection Act passed in the Senate.

RUHLE: Could you possibly get that done on a bipartisan way now? I mean, not all Republicans support there. There`s a whole lot of Republicans tonight, especially those who represent swing districts, swing states who are not feeling good about this.

LEE: There are a lot of Republican women out there Stephanie, who believed that they should have the right to make their own health care decisions. A lot of Republican women, right?


So it`s up to them, it`s up to everyone who believes in women`s equality, women`s reproductive justice Republican women, right? So it`s up to them. It`s up to everyone who believes in women`s equality, women`s reproductive justice, to step up, and insist that their senators vote to pass the Women`s Health -- Production Health Care Act is just critically important that they step up now and do that, because this is not only affecting black and brown women, it`s not only affecting women who are registered Democrats, this is affecting all women, Republican women also.

And so they need to understand that they`re young people and I have three granddaughters, I don`t want them to have to deal with what we`re dealing with now and what I had to deal with in the 60s in terms of having to have an unsafe or illegal abortion.

And so yes, Republican women need to let their senators know this impacts that will also and that they`re going to hold them accountable at the polls, because in a democracy, that`s what this is all about, right? It`s holding your elected officials accountable. And so that`s what has to happen right now.

RUHLE: It`s going to impact all Americans. Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us this evening, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, from the state of California.

Coming up much more on the politics of rolling back the right women have had in this country for nearly half a century when THE 11TH HOUR continues.


RUHLE: A political reaction pouring in tonight to Politico is reporting on the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn both Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, two landmark civil rights cases that guarantee the constitutional right to an abortion.

With us tonight to discuss, A.B. Stoddard, veteran Washington journalist and associate editor and columnist for Real Clear Politics and MSNBC political contributor Matthew Dowd also a former George W. Bush strategist and founder of Country Over Party.


Matt, for months, we have been saying what could motivate Democratic voters come the midterms, they`re unfulfilled. They`re disappointed. They`re sluggish. Could this, could this blow up and Republicans face and truly energized Democrats to show up at the polls in November?

MATTHEW DOWD, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, I just want to say how destructive I think this decision is, it`s the first time in our history that a constitutional right has been removed from a group of voters in our country, let alone a majority of voters in our country. It was just it hasn`t been removed yet, I should say is the draft of it is there.

If that`s the case, I believe that this resets the table for the 2022 election, Democrats have been worried about two things one, as you say, motivation, two, about persuasion at a time where President Biden is unpopular. Republicans had thought this was going to be 2010.

What this could do, and we`ll see how it unfolds, I could easily see this, instead of it being 2010, it being 2018. Because as you remember what motivated a lot of people in 2017 and 2018 was the worry about this issue. If this comes to pass, it`s not -- it`s taken that worry to a degree that now is become reality.

So, we`ll have to see how it all unfolds. I would guess most Republicans in swing districts and swing state states are not looking at this well. Mitch McConnell is probably not looking at this well. Because I think this we don`t know the fundamental way, as I say resets it, but it definitely moves the table dramatically different than it was yesterday.

RUHLE: A.B. is this what the majority of Republicans really want because this hasn`t been led by the broader GOP. It has been led over years, specifically by anti-abortion groups scheming to make this happen.

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: That`s right. I think that Matthew`s right that it`s going to be very tough in swing districts where they thought they had the wind at their back. And this could bring some independent and sort of former Republican women who voted for Biden, either back voting for the Democrats or staying home and not voting for Republicans down ballot.

You can see tonight also the reaction from conservatives definite (ph) really anger about the league. It`s not I mean, Marjorie Taylor Greene is chairing the decision. But not a lot of people are they`re very angry about this leaking out in advance of June when they expect it, giving more months for the public to become aware and energized by it.

So, there was no evidence in the gubernatorial elections in last November in New Jersey, and Virginia that the Texas banned did anything to motivate voters, or fundraising. This is different. The Supreme Court decision is going to be an explosion in this country. And I think that in a way that the Texas ban obviously was not far -- more far reaching. And it`s more devastating.

So I do think that it`s going to have political energy for the Democrats how much we don`t know. But it is the one issue that sort of blues the base that the base that the Democrats worried wouldn`t come out, non-white voters, young voters, those voters who didn`t come out for Barack Obama, when he suffered his party suffered devastating losses in 2010 and 2014 though, he was reelected.

It combines those voters who don`t turn out midterms with, as I said, this coalition of people that turned out for Joe Biden rejecting Trump both in 2018, and then again in 2020. And those are includes a lot of independents and for Republicans. This is an issue that would attract both of them, both groups and energize both groups. So it`s likely to be not what Republicans wanted to hear this many months away from the election.

RUHLE: Matt, how much of a complication is this for Republicans? No longer is it something they`re just campaigning on to bring in evangelicals? They now have to say we`ve delivered it to all Republicans.

DOWD: Well, I think that`s the difficulty. I think, for all this period of time, it was a great motivator when you didn`t have it. It`s like the dog that ran after the car, but now they caught the car, they got the car. And now like what else do they have in their piggy bank on in the course of this? They don`t have a series of issues, right, that they`ve laundered through and then running on and we need to achieve this and we need to achieve that.

They now have this has now been handed as I say handed to the Democrats, how they make use of it and what they do. We`ll see. But I think tonight, and will, and obviously again, it`s a draft opinion, and we`ll see.

But for me as I heard this news and saw this news, you thought it could possibly come. But that moment it comes you`re sort of shocked by it because you`re just like, wow, that`s a reality. That -- a right was just fundamentally it -- could be fundamentally taken away.


And I would also expand this this is not just about women voters. This is about sons and fathers and friends, all of those people who want to give the women that respect they have to make that choice themselves. All of those people are motivated this oh, well, it`s not just women voters.

RUHLE: Matt, thank you so much for saying this. This is not just about women. It`s about all Americans. Matt Dowd, A.B. Stoddard. Thank you both so much. Roe vs. Wade, it has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. Stick around, we`re going to take a look back from THE 11TH HOUR continues.


RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight the law of the land. As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to officially released its final decision on a right to an abortion. It is important to remember that right has been around for a very, very long time. It was back in January 1973. A little more than 49 years ago when this monumental decision was made. Here`s a look back on how that news was reported.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s decision came as a shock to both anti and pro abortionist forces.

DR. ALAN GUTTMACHER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Well it means that January 22, 1973 will stand out as one of the great days for freedom and free choice. This allows a woman free choices whether or not to remain pregnant. This is extraordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For some women, this law will mean the difference between having an abortion or not. For many others the law will mean simply having the abortion in their own state instead of traveling to another state like New York.

This New York clinic for example reports that 48 percent of its patients are from out of the state. The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church in New York was expressed by Terence Cardinal Cook in a statement read by a spokesman.

From the beginning pro-abortionists forces have seen this shoe is a question of freedom of an individual`s choice the freedom to have an abortion is now legal in every state.



RUHLE: And here we are 49 years later, more than a lifetime ago for many of us. Back in December, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked this quote, will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts, I don`t see how it is possible. End quote.

An unprecedented leak involved in one of the most divisive issues in this country, leaving the nation with many, many with more questions than answers on this unsettling Monday night. But as our guests said, for those of you who are watching, or planning who have appointments for abortion services tomorrow, know that those appointments hold, you are safe. As of tonight nothing has changed.

And on that note, I wish you all a very good and a very safe night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for staying up late with us. I will see you again tomorrow.