U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade. Protests outside Supreme Court after Roe overturned. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin suspends abortion services after Roe V. Wade Overturned. Decision to overturn Roe V. Wade clashes with views of majority of Americans. SCOTUS ends right to an abortion after nearly 50 years. Rep. Jackie Speier on historic Roe V. wade Ruling. Paxton Smith on the end of Roe.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Georgia Representative Nikema Williams, thank you very much for joining our coverage tonight. Really appreciate it.
REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Nikema Williams gets tonight`s Last Word. The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do they have the right to tell me or any woman what she can do with her body?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know plenty of people who have bad things happen to them. That`s not their choice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is when they shouldn`t be allowed to make for themselves.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It`s a slap in the face to women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want nothing more than to be a mother in my lifetime, but I want it to happen on my own terms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like a betrayal. It feels like my country doesn`t love me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Tonight, protesters are out in the streets across the country after the unprecedented Supreme Court decision ending Roe v. Wade, 50 years after it became law. Demonstrations have been growing ever since the ruling was announced this morning.
Five of the courts Conservatives voted to overturn Roe. Samuel Alito whose draft opinion was leaked last month, wrote in his final decision that Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. The ruling automatically clears the way for abortion bans in 13 states, at least six states have already put them into effect. And there are concerns about what this may mean for court decisions on contraception and gay rights. Justice Clarence Thomas says those should be up for review as well.
We got a lot to cover tonight. But I want to begin with my friend and colleague, Maura Barrett, our NBC News reporter. She has been on the ground at the Supreme Court all day long. Maura, you have been among the protesters for hours. What are they telling you? And what`s their goal?
MAURA BARRETT, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Well, Stephanie, for nearly 12 hours, we saw this area head of the Supreme Court completely filled. It started off the day with a tension between two groups of protesters representing both sides of the arguments around abortion rights. And then it grew to fill this entire street that I`m standing in front of, nearly more than 1000 people I would say here at one point, you can see everyone kind of closing up shop here for the night.
But after the first couple of hours, we saw that initial elation from those supporters, those who oppose abortion rights, who were elated and celebrating and happy. And then after a few hours, they left and the streets were filled with hundreds and 1000s of people who were the ones that were hoping that maybe we`d see a compromise. They were maybe hoping that even though we were expecting to see this decision comes down. That`s not what they got today. And so we saw tears of joy and despair. We had very emotional heavy conversations. I wanted to hear some of those conversations, Stephanie.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of emotions have been going through my mind, anger, deep sadness. And a desire to turn this around, is going through my mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a roller coaster or emotion. It`s complete and utter joy that was finally overturned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women are going to die between now and when we can get legislation passed, which is untenable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARRETT: We had a lot of concern around that last sentiment, you heard about the access to safe abortion if women will get injured or die in these situations because that`s what they said they were fighting for. The right to a safe abortion. Another conversation you heard from Hannah (ph), the 66-year-old woman, the first person you heard from there, she fought for abortion rights when she was in high school back in 1973. And now she`s frustrated that she has to do it again.
Overall, I spoke with a lot of -- there`s a lot of young people hear, mostly young people, in fact, who were devastated to see their rights stripped away after thinking that it was a given. And I asked them, do you think that something can be done in Congress? Do you have hope with what we`re seeing in Congress, given that we saw President Biden call for Congress to pass this into federal law, for states to pass individual state legislation and one woman, Sky (ph), told me she`s 19 years old, and she said, well, what I`ve seen in the political spectrum and how divisive the country is right now and what we`ve seen Congress pass and how slow they work. She said she doesn`t have that hope right now. Today, though, as they closed out the protest just minutes before I came on the air. They said that they want to bring their anger, frustration and fury back out on the streets tomorrow and to the ballot box in November. Steph.
RUHLE: To the ballot box in November. They want their voices heard. Maura, thank you for being there. I know you`ve been out there for hours and hours, stay safe and get some rest.
With that, let`s get smarter with the help of our leadoff panel tonight, Katie Benner, Justice Department Reporter for the New York Times, Professor Melissa Murray of NYU Law School, she was a Law Clerk for Sonia Sotomayor on the federal bench before her nomination to the Supreme Court, and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. She`s also a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law.
Ladies, thank you so much for being here tonight. I feel like I need to start this program, sort of with a collective deep breath. There`s so much to get through. Melissa, when I think about the course of U.S. history, it`s been a journey to expand rights, give more rights to more people, as the great American experiment has evolved. Was today the first time the court took away a right that we`ve been given?
MELISSA MURRAY, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: So, Stephanie, first let me thank you for having us all on and for using women`s voices to surface these questions today. It has not been the case on all platforms. But yes, this is unprecedented. The court has typically chosen to expand the rights of individuals. That`s been the trajectory certainly since this century. But in this rather unprecedented move, the court has retracted rights that were extended almost 50 years ago. And again, this is not the end of it. Justice Thomas`s concurrence was not signed by any other justice. But he has laid out a blueprint for inviting litigation that would challenge other rights, including rights to contraception, same sex marriage and same sex sexuality, that will surely be taken up by members of the conservative legal movement going forward.
RUHLE: Joyce, you join our show to bring legal expertise. But you`re also a dear friend of ours. And you`re a woman and a mother. What is this like for you, what`s on your mind?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Today has been one of those incredibly emotional days, especially I think, for the four of us, because we`re all women, who were used to looking at issues, difficult issues, through the lens of the news, and the need to help our communities and the viewing public understand these issues. So I think in some cases, we`re able to cloak ourselves in our expertise, and we insulate ourselves a little bit from the emotion. Today, that wasn`t possible. Because bottom Dobbs is a decision that sends this message to women, it tells us we cannot be trusted with making decisions about what to do with our own bodies. And no matter how you dress that up in law and history, that`s a relegation of women to second class citizenship.
So I think we all have this sense of loss today, this sense of pain. I suspect in the next few days and weeks, that`ll be replaced with a sense of purpose. But for all of us a sad day, and I think it`s appropriate for us to take the moment to acknowledge it. So thank you, Stephanie, for giving us that opportunity.
RUHLE: Thank you. When you talk about that sense of loss, is there confusion out there, that being pro-abortion rights means being pro- abortion? Isn`t it really about a woman simply wanting control of her body? Joyce?
VANCE: This issue has been politicized. The issue has been so politicized, that it`s become an issue. That`s something that it really is not about. I think you`re correct to say that this is about who makes decisions about women`s bodies. I know because I live in the deep south where there are many people who are profoundly against abortion, but nonetheless believe that that decision should be preserved for a woman to make on her own, that anything else really does devalue women as members of our society.
RUHLE: Katie, Merrick Garland has promised to protect abortion rights. But can he, given his job and given the Supreme Court, what can he really do?
KATIE BENNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Sure. So you`re right, the Justice Department`s ability to protect abortion is very limited in this case. What it can do is it can fight for the states that are decided to preserve the right to choose, so it can help protect the states and the Justice Department can help protect women who leave their states if their states have decided that abortion is illegal to travel across state lines.
Also the Justice Department in its long statement today, Merrick Garland said that it would also fight for the right for women to have medical abortions to the extent that it can. Now, one of the things that it can do is show that the -- because the FDA has said that certain medical abortion drugs are safe and efficacious. It can fight laws that are premised upon the idea that those drugs are not safe or efficacious. Anything beyond that, it would certainly have to look at the facts in order to figure out how to move forward and whether to move forward.
Please, keep in mind that for Merrick Garland, if he had his druthers, he would be remembered as the attorney general who fought for civil rights above all else. And when I`ve spoken with him, including on the record this March, he was clear that he feels that the right to an abortion is central to a woman`s civil rights and something he`s extremely passionate about.
RUHLE: Then help me understand why wouldn`t he have been doing this already, whether we`re hearing from Merrick Garland or the White House saying we are here to protect one is right. This isn`t -- it`s a shock that this happened today, but it`s not a surprise since we saw that draft last month, Melissa, why wouldn`t the Justice Department or the White House be taking action ahead of this day?
MURRAY: It`s only been a month, and it`s true that some more expeditious action could have been taken, but I think the White House has taken some steps, they convened a roundtable of experts on these issues. I was included in that conversation. I know that they have been investigating whether or not the prospect of federal funds can be directed to allow individuals who are federal employees to take paid leave in order to seek reproductive care. So they`ve been examining a lot of avenues. But frankly, this is an administration that has some really difficult roads ahead.
The President could certainly take executive action on this front, we saw President Obama do this on the efforts for climate change. We also saw how that turned out, there`s currently a case pending in the Supreme Court right now that has the seeds of the overturning of big parts of the administrative state and really limiting the effort to curb climate change because those executive actions were viewed as overstepping. And so I think one of the things the administration is trying to weigh here is if it takes steps under the authority of the executive branch, will that open the door for other losses at the Supreme Court on other avenues that they`re not willing to see right now. So there`s a lot in the balance. And I`m not being an apologist here for the administration in any way. But there are a lot of different things to weigh here. This is a really complicated and nuanced situation, both for abortion rights, but for other rights that are also on the table.
RUHLE: Melissa, correct me if I`m wrong, it sure feels like Clarence Thomas is running the show here. And the fact that he`s now raising things like banning contraception, or same sex marriage, are we in real danger of losing some of these other rights?
MURRAY: Well, Justice Thomas is the longest serving member of the court and he`s really bided his time, and now he`s seeing the seeds of his conservative project in full flower. Yesterday was his birthday and he gave himself the greatest gift of all, which was an opinion, basically allowing the court to expand the scope of the Second Amendment to permit public carrying of firearms.
Today, he got the opportunity to not only join the majority in overruling Roe vs. Wade, but also to write separately to say that in addition to overruling Roe, the court should in the future, reconsider the rights to same-sex marriage and contraception and the like. He`s very much I think the leader of the conservative wing along with Justice Alito. And the real question, I think, is what has happened to Chief Justice Roberts, who did not join in overruling Roe, although he joined the majority opinion to uphold the Mississippi law. He is, in many respects the Chief Justice in name only of this conservative court, he has lost control of that block.
RUHLE: Joyce, prosecutors in 29 states have said they would not prosecute abortion care cases. On one hand, that seems like a big deal. But on the other hand, just because they say that they don`t have the law on their side, can anyone who lives in those states trust that? That`s just a prosecutor giving their word.
VANCE: This is an incredibly complicated issue, Steph. But what it comes down to it bottom is that for state prosecutions, when we`re just talking about state law crimes, the states that have now criminalized abortion, those prosecutions largely are vested in the hands of county district attorneys. And it`s a legitimate exercise of prosecutorial discretion for some of those county DAs to say, I have more important crimes to prosecute, I have limited resources, I have to set priorities. I`m setting my priorities in such a way that I might prosecute violent crime or fraud, and I`m not going to prosecute people who perform or receive abortions. And that`s certainly legitimate.
One of the problems here, you`re talking about trust, I think these DAs have taken this pledge. I know my district attorney in Jefferson County, Alabama is a signatory to that letter. And I believe that he means that. The problem is whether attorneys general in some states have the ability to come in and oversee that district attorney`s jurisdiction and whether those attorneys general might not choose to file cases on their own.
RUHLE: But right there, so what if that district attorney loses his job or get hit by a bus tomorrow? If you live in your district? Can you really trust what they`re saying?
VANCE: I think the point you make is a good one. For some reason, these district attorneys have chosen to publicly put themselves out there. I might have not been quite so public about my decision, but as you say, they could be voted out of office or they could simply wake up one morning and no longer be the district attorney. And that means anyone who has relied on this position is vulnerable and there are statutes of limitations for these crimes that permit prosecution particularly in states that have now made abortion tantamount to murder where those statutes could run for a very long time. So yes, people proceed at their own risk in relying on these promises that they won`t be prosecuted.
RUHLE: There`s an old saying, your word is your bond. Does that not apply to Supreme Court justices? I want to play for you a little bit of what we heard from these conservative justices who were appointed by former President Trump.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, again, I would tell you that Roe vs. Wade decided in 1973. There`s a precedent United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed so good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: Senator, I said that it`s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court. 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.
AMY CONEY BARRETT, U.S. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: As Richard Fallon from Harvard, said Roe is not a super precedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased. But that doesn`t mean that Roe should be overruled. It just means that it doesn`t fall on the small handful of cases like Marbury vs. Madison and Brown versus the Board that no one questions anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: So, Katie, to you first, and Melissa, I want you to weigh in, what were they just crossing their fingers under the table and saying sake. Are there, no repercussions? The reason we have hearings is to ask these specific questions. And clearly, they weren`t telling the truth, or at the very least, weren`t being straight.
BENNER: So I think that the idea of having hearings in order to really understand what can -- what, you know, people who are being considered for the bench truly think that is an antiquated idea. We see and hearing after hearing the people ask difficult questions, they find creative ways to basically repeat talking points. You know, to say that they believe largely in the idea of precedent. But if you look at the decision today, I think that all of the justices who decided they needed to overturn Roe versus Wade would say that there are sometimes cases in American history where the decision was just wrong. I think the big example is always Plessy versus Ferguson, it was important not to uphold that decision in order to go forth and have a more equal country. And I think that the idea that we see Supreme Court justices be considered, and they always tell the truth and tackle heart issues head on, is somewhat wrongheaded. I think everybody is playing the game of how do we get confirmed it`s a matter of Senate math. And it`s a matter of not saying anything that can be hard and fast, interpreted in a way that would pin somebody down.
RUHLE: Say whatever it takes to get across the line, Melissa?
MURRAY: Stephanie, if you listened to those responses carefully, they`re pretty anodyne responses. Roe versus Wade is a precedent. Richard Fallon set x. At no point did any of them ever say, when I get in the black robe, and I`m sitting on that bench, I will uphold Roe versus Wade. And Katie`s exactly right, they can`t say that because they want to be confirmed. They have to keep their conservative senators on board without having the liberal senators depart. And so they said what they said, it`s not exactly a lie. It`s obviously not as forthcoming as perhaps we would like, but it`s also not impeachable. These are individuals who are appointed for life on individuals like me, testified against them and said that they would be solid votes to overrule Roe versus Wade and we hoped that some senators were listening. Obviously, those senators were not and here we are.
RUHLE: They`re appointed for life. Clarence Thomas, celebrating his birthday, overturning Roe vs. Wade, Katie Benner, Melissa Murray, Joyce Vance, it is always a privilege to have you on, but especially tonight. Thank you all for bringing your expertise and more importantly for being my friend.
Coming up, today`s ruling and the immediate impact for women around the country. One of our next guests will explain why she says there are now two different Americas.
And later, people already had a low opinion of the Supreme Court before today`s ruling where today fits into the history books. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a very important Friday night.
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DR. KATHY KING, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL DIRECTOR: Today, I had to look people in the eye and turn them away when they were seeking abortions. The patients I see who have abortions are all of us, they`re your friends, your family, your neighbors, your members of our community of our state. All who deserve access to safe timely medical care.
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RUHLE: It did not take long for today`s decision to create confusion and distress. In the state of Texas, the Attorney General released an advisory saying, "abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today."
With us tonight to discuss, Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman`s Health, the nation`s largest independent abortion provider and Mark Hearron, Senior Counsel at the Center for Reproductive rights. He also served as Senator Feinstein`s lead counsel for judicial nominations.
Amy take us through your day, your clinics in Texas had to immediately suspend services, what happened the moment this decision was made, because you`ve got women in many cases, girls, young women under the age of 18, having the most stressful day of their life heading in for an abortion, what happened to them?
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMAN`S HEALTH PRESIDENT AND CEO: So today, on the advice of counsel, we had to stop seeing the abortion patients. As soon as this decision came out, in order to protect our staff, in order to protect our patients, from a very aggressive administration in the state of Texas, we had to tell people that we couldn`t care for them. And we are completely committed to caring and completely trained and ready to provide safe abortion care, but for this kind of restriction, and but for this kind of decision that happened today from the Supreme Court. So while here in Texas, we have to say no, in our states, like Minnesota, and Maryland and Virginia, where we have clinics as well, we are preparing for an influx of people who are being forced to migrate out of the states where abortion has been banned, and travel across the country in order to get the safe abortion care that they need.
RUHLE: So what happened to those women today in Texas, when you turn them away? What did they tell you where they go?
MILLER: So, you know, people don`t have anywhere to go that`s close by. Clinics in Oklahoma have been shuttered by abortion bans now. Clinics in Louisiana, the same. Clinics in New Mexico are really at capacity. So we have been supporting people through our Wayfinder program at Whole Woman`s Health, to find their way to clinics outside of Texas. And we have a bunch of patients who just begged us to put them on a waiting list, if somehow, we`re going to be able to reopen and care for them. They`re begging, please come in. And our clinic staff as well, they are so dedicated and so committed in the state of Texas, and all the states where we have clinics, they`re just so tuned in to what people need in our communities. And, you know, they keep saying to us, we want to see as many patients as we can for as long as we can. So, so heartbreaking today that we had to stop care, and we were open in all four of our Texas clinics, and we had to stop providing abortion care services really came out and start sending people as far as Minnesota or Virginia or Maryland instead.
RUHLE: Marc I promise I`m going to get to in a second. That`s my question, then Amy. When you turned women away, if they said, all right, I`m going to get in my car, and I`m going to find the nearest clinic, how far are they going to have to go, how long would the drive be?
MILLER: So, Stephanie, even before this Supreme Court ruling today, already 30% of the people we are seeing in our clinic in Minnesota, which is about 21 hours` drive from the closest place in Texas, we`re coming from Texas, just because of Texas` SB 8 abortion ban. And now we`re seeing these abortion bans in multiple states in the South and the Midwest.
So once a person decides they don`t have the ability to continue a pregnancy, they`re going to seek an abortion. And these abortion bans don`t prevent unplanned pregnancy. They don`t help people plan their families. They simply ban people from care and forced them to migrate.
We`ve seen people traveling all the way from South Texas from our community in McAllen, all the way to Alexandria, Virginia, that`s three days drive. We had a patient drive with her children. She took her children with her because childcare is very difficult to get for that many days in a row. And she had the abortion and got in her car and drove all the way back to Texas in order to make it to work so that she could keep her job. This is the reality of the people that we`re serving. People who are being forced to travel by car by bus. People who fly who have never even flown before, are trying to figure out how to fly and navigate all these things they haven`t done before. They don`t know what Lyft is, or Uber is or they may not have a credit card that allows them to check into a hotel. These people need our advocacy and they need our support at this time. And it`s going to be this way for some time into the future that we`re going to need to support people to get safe abortion care, and also be there in the communities for people who are going to be forced to carry pregnancies against their will and support community networks that can help with the maternal mortality and pregnancy outcomes that are going to impact our community for generations to come.
RUHLE: Marc, it was clear in Texas as Amy said their legal counsel advised them, they couldn`t continue abortion services, certainly they would want to. In other states how chaotic and confusing is this ruling just knowing whether or not it`s legal in your state?
MARC HEARRON, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS SENIOR COUNSEL: Well, today`s decision, which is absolutely devastating, for at least half the country, abortion is poised to be banned, either and is immediately or will be very soon. Texas, for example, there is confusion about whether the pre-Roe ban has come back to life, this sort of zombie ban that isn`t actually anywhere on the statute books, and yet the attorney general is -- has come out with this extreme position saying that somehow, they`ve bans abortion anyway. And threatening criminal sanctions against providers like Amy, like Whole Woman`s Health in Texas, which I`m very proud to represent.
This -- the confusion is being sown everywhere. And look, if you`re in a blue state, and you think this isn`t going to affect me, this is terrible. I hate this outcome. I hate what this decision, but it`s actually not going to affect me, you`re wrong. And the reason is, think about -- look at what happened in Texas, after Texas passed a six week ban, that has been in effect for nine months now. As Amy was saying, the rush of patients out of Texas to Oklahoma, to New Mexico, to Kansas, that is creating backlogs of weeks, weeks in those other states, if you`re in a blue state, patients from half the country are not going to be coming to your state trying to seek abortion care that remains legal in your state. And it`s going to be hard to get an appointment there. That we also know this isn`t over.
RUHLE: We`re out of time. But I want to ask before -- I want to ask you before we go, though, these red states that are making moves to ban abortion, when they ban it or strict it at the same time, are they then going to offer more financial services, more support to these women because many, many women who seek abortions, part of the reason is they cannot financially support a pregnancy, prenatal care is hugely expensive. Is this going to trigger any financial support coming from the state or an obligation of financial obligation from the fathers?
HEARRON: You know, I wish I could say that it would. But even if the states -- we know that the states that are acting to ban abortion are the same states that have rejected expansion of Medicaid. These are the same states that have limited resources available. But look, setting that aside, the state still should not be able to tell a woman that from the point of fertilization, from the point of conception, that she can`t decide what to do with her own body. I don`t care what kind of resources are available to that woman, that is a decision for women to make with their families, with their loved ones for themselves.
RUHLE: I`m not suggesting they are. My question was just those states that are making the decision that you can`t, what I`d like to know is fine, if they can`t, then what are you doing to support those women?
Amy, thank you so much for being here. Marc, thank you as well. You definitely made us smarter. I appreciate your time.
Coming up next, American`s views on Roe do not line up with what we saw from the Supreme Court today. Democrats want to turn the outrage into votes in November. Is it going to work? When the 11th Hour continues.
RUHLE: In some recent NBC News polling 63% of Americans, nearly two-thirds of people surveyed said they did not want Roe versus Wade overturned, yet Republicans they`re doubling down. Former Vice President Mike Pence is now calling for a nationwide ban as many in his party are celebrating the ruling.
I want to bring in to discuss Jennifer Palmieri, the former White House Communications Director for President Obama, Tim Miller, Contributor to the Bulwark and former Communications Director for Jeb Bush, and our good friend, author and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss. His latest work is Presidents of War.
Jennifer, let`s get right to it. We see protests in the streets across the country. Will this mobilize Democratic voters, young ones especially?
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, I think it can. But Democratic candidates have to lead the -- they have to lead the charge. I look to you can`t -- this, you can`t expect that it will happen organically. And I would point to Gretchen Whitmer sort of an example of a candidate who is very much leaning into the abortion fight but also just concerned about the -- you know, the rollback of rights in general. She has a zombie law. So in Michigan a law -- so in Michigan, there is a law on the books that would ban abortion. If Roe is overturned, it`s in the courts right now. She filed a lawsuit against that earlier this year. She did a lot of press around this issue. She had one of your colleagues fly out to Michigan yesterday to be part of a roundtable, listening to pro-choice women Republicans and Democrats in the stage. She is not shying away from it, which is going right to it.
And I think, you know, these are -- this is an existential threat. That that right to American women, it is gone. There are other rights that are on the butchering blog and you have -- you can`t -- you just can`t shy away from it, you have to go and lead right into it.
Rather than giving them the rights that are on that are on the butchering blog and you have you can`t you just can`t shy away from it. You have to go lead right into it.
RUHLE: Tim, help us understand the Republican calculation. This is a wildly unpopular decision that they`re celebrating as a huge win.
TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s been a 50 year fight for Republicans. And I think that they`re obviously some in the pro-life movement --
RUHLE: For some Republicans?
T. MILLER: Yeah, you`re right.
RUHLE: For some Republicans. You hold on a second -- you are a Republican for 20 years, right? Downstairs in my house, or my mother and father lifetime Republicans. None of the three of you, this has not been a fight for you, they don`t feel good about this.
T. MILLER: Right. And so that`s what I say, I think that there are a couple of parts of the Republican Party, right? I mean, the me and your parents were not in the Republican Party anymore. So a lot of the sort of the old, you know, George H.W. Bush matter Republicans in the suburbs have been pushed out of the party. And I think those are people that is important for the Democrats to talk to right now in the midterms, because it`s a two prong thing. They`ve got to mobilize the base, but also speak to the kind of Romney-Biden voters that helped put Biden over the top that Hillary didn`t get in 2016. So I think there are two elements to this.
The problem for the Republicans and political issue that they`re going to face is that, in some of these states, like what you have in Texas, you know, these five weak bands, these immediately -- immediate after fertilization bands, even mainstream Republicans don`t like that, you know, this is a very small part of the Republican base that is mobilized by that. And I think that if you look at a state like Georgia, Wisconsin, both very important swing states, the Wisconsin trigger laws going to go into effect, Georgia trigger law, going to go into effect, those are both very important states coming up this November, with big cities, Milwaukee, Madison, Atlanta, where there are a lot of voters that maybe have mixed views on abortion, that certainly are not going to be in favor of five week bands, that I think those are going to be places that the Democrats are going to have to fight aggressively to make Republicans pay for these more extreme measures that are being taken.
RUHLE: Michael, you know, who doesn`t have to fight aggressively or get reelected? Supreme Court justices. So well, we keep hearing about how unpopular this is, or how the court is really losing the faith of the American people, do these justices care? They`re on the bench for life, and they got exactly what they wanted.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: That`s exactly it. That`s the central question here. You know, look at the tone of that decision today, George Washington would have said, if you`ve got power, like a five person majority, you always exercise it with restraint, you`ll always try to bind the country together. That seems to be what John Roberts was trying to do, which was to introduce a change in abortion rights and narrow them. But what this decision, it sounds just like Donald Trump, this decision was intended to throw scalding acid into the face of people who feel strongly about abortion rights, it was intended to shock. Compare that to, for instance, the decision on Brown versus Board of Education, 1954, saying that you took -- couldn`t do separate but equal anymore, you couldn`t have a segregated society.
Earl Warren said privately as he was talking to justices, you know, this is going to be a big social change to say that the government is now saying there has to be integration. You can`t do that with a five to four majority, you have to do it with language that`s channel introduced justice, with mercy. And so as a result, that was an overwhelming majority, for Brown versus Board of Education, held that social change to be accepted. But what this was, did this morning, I think, pushed our beloved bleeding country in the direction of almost civil war over the issue of abortion one day after it made another decision on gun safety. This is not a supreme court trying to heal. This is a Supreme Court of a radical majority. It`s essentially saying, look at how much power we have, even though we`re about a third of the country in terms of sharing our views. We`re going to just shove it in your face.
RUHLE: That might sound like Donald Trump, but doesn`t sound like Donald Trump for life when it comes to abortion. He didn`t take such a strong stance until he realized the value of the evangelical vote. Yes, when he took the stand.
All three of our guests are going to stay with us. So stick around, we got to take a quick break. When we come back, public support for a woman`s right to choose goes back decades. We`re going to have more on the historical impact of today`s decision. And the consequences yet to come when the 11th Hour continues on this very important night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I was in high school in 1973, and I can say that the stories were out there. What happened to women. They needed an abortion to see us going back to knitting needles and the whole thing. I just -- I`m stunned. I don`t understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Two years after Roe vs. Wade was decided Gallup began asking Americans, should abortion be legal in all circumstances, legal in some circumstances, or always illegal. And as you can see on your screen right now, a huge majority of Americans have always wanted abortion to remain legal.
Let`s discuss, Jennifer Palmieri, Tim Miller, and Michael Beschloss, all still with us. Michael, is there historical precedent for a decision this unpopular?
BESCHLOSS: Sure. But you`d have to go back to 1857 Dred Scott decision, but actually did lead to Civil War. And I`m by no means suggesting that this decision is the equivalent of Dred Scott. But sometimes there`s a decision from the Supreme Court, that is so shocking to a majority of Americans that it leads to consequences that we do not want.
This was almost nakedly cruel, the way that this was done this morning, was essentially saying to two-thirds of the American people, just as you`ve been saying, my dear friend, Stephanie, that even though a vast majority prefers to have abortion rights available much more easily, you know, we`ve got a cabal on the Supreme Court, you know, we`re now in charge. It`s only happened for a couple of years. But here we are, and at the earliest opportunity, we`re going to do this in the most angry and overwhelming way possible. That`s not the way it`s been done, usually in history. And when it`s done this way, just like 1857, it makes Americans distrust the Supreme Court sends its prestige way down.
RUHLE: They don`t care what -- they don`t care about prestige or reputation, they got what they wanted.
BESCHLOSS: With Clarence Thomas, in a sidecar babbling about we`re going after contraceptives and gay marriage next, that`s what we`re --
RUHLE: He doesn`t care if protests are going on. He got his wish.
BESCHLOSS: The purpose of this is the anger.
RUHLE: Well, it`s working. Jennifer, why haven`t Democrats codified Roe at any point in the last half century?
PALMIERI: Yeah. So there was an effort -- I worked with President Clinton, there was an effort early on in his presidency to do so, to codify Roe. And I would say it didn`t happen -- it didn`t happen under Obama, didn`t have an under Clinton method for two reasons. One, particularly under Clinton, there was still -- there was still disagreement within the party. You know, not all of Democratic members of Congress are pro-choice. That`s mostly changed now. And then, as it went on, I think people just thought it wasn`t ever going to happen, that they did not believe that Roe was actually in that kind of jeopardy. They did not imagine a day like today until it was too late. And with a Congress that we have now, you know, only 50 Democrats in the Senate, that`s not going to happen.
RUHLE: That actually speaks to how determined anti-abortion activists have been over decades, working for this moment, in the last few years. I mean, they were almost laughed at by many others who thought this is never going to happen. This is settled law. Tim, is there actually anything to learn? For those who support abortion rights, is there anything to learn from the strategy that anti-abortion activists have had all these years? Because my God, nobody thought they win. And they just did?
T. MILLER: Yeah, absolutely. I looked at the deal with the devil, with Donald Trump. I mean, look, a lot of these folks came around to liking Trump. So we`re going to do a whole another segment about that. But in 2016, there were a lot of voters that did not like Donald Trump, did not trust him. But he made a deal based on the Supreme Court, and he got enough votes to win not a majority, to win the electoral college in large part because of voters who had had been -- who cared about this issue, genuinely, in some cases, had been conditioned to care about this issue. This was part of, you know, putting on the team red jersey and other cases. And so I think that on the left, you did not see that in 2016. You did not see people saying, you know, we have to go out and vote for Hillary, you know, because the Supreme Court is too important. You know, you saw the opposite. You saw some people from the Sanders crowd that were refusing to support Hillary and throwing their vote away, or people who didn`t turn out for it.
So, you know, I look, I think that there`s a good reason. I understand the frustration on the left for people who say, well, voting -- we voted, we won, and this still happened. But I think that there`s a lesson to be learned about the persistence and about, you know, prioritizing what is happening on the court and sometimes taking, you know, the good instead of the perfect, that certainly, you know, we wouldn`t be in this position had that happened in 2016.
RUHLE: But then here`s the question for those voters, does this make Donald Trump more powerful and that he filled -- he fulfilled the deal, he got it done, or less valuable in that they`re done with him? They got their wish. They don`t need him anymore.
T. MILLER: I think that`s a really interesting question. I think that Donald Trump has been slightly weakening over the past few weeks because of the power of the January 6 Committee and you could see that a little bit in some Republican polls and some focus groups we do at the Bulwark. I think that this could be a, you know, a shirt that he waves over his head, right, that make people feel like, you know, this heat, we picked him because he said he`d fight the left and he did fight and he won. And this might turn him from being a loser, which he is into a winner in some of their minds. I don`t -- we don`t know that yet, but I am a little bit concerned that this strengthens him. Obviously, that`s not the prime concern for people today. But it`s something to monitor.
RUHLE: We`ll see, there`s a whole lot of independence in this country. And they don`t think this is a winning day. Jennifer Palmieri, Tim Miller, Michael Beschloss, you made us all smarter tonight. I really appreciate you joining us.
Our special extended coverage of the end of Roe continues after the break. We`re going all night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is something central to a woman`s life, to her dignity. It`s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she`s being treated as less than a fully adult, human responsible for her own choices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: I`m Stephanie Ruhle back with you for another hour of our special coverage on the Supreme Court`s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade. The move reversed nearly 50 years of abortion rights in this country. This will likely be a weekend or possibly longer of protests in the streets, which we have already seen coast to coast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s complete and utter joy that it was finally overturn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like a betrayal. It feels like my country doesn`t love me and appreciate my body as a woman. I can`t even -- I can`t have a chat because I can`t say anything. It just -- it hurts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve had people in my family have abortions and they have felt their regret years and years down the line and they`re still dealing in facing with the trauma today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see us going back to knitting needles and the whole thing, I just, I`m stunned. I don`t understand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You cannot agonize over it. We have to get organized and just vote people out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, people are going to die, women are going to die between now and when we can get legislation passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: This ruling automatically clears the way for abortion bans in 13 states, at least six states have already put them into effect. We`ve got a lot to cover. So let`s get smarter and bring in our lead off panel. Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate and an MSNBC Law and Politics Analyst, Barbara McQuade, a Veteran Federal Prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, she worked with the Department of Justice during the Biden transition and is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law. And Josh Gerstein joins us, Senior Legal Affairs Contributor for Politico. He broke the story on the Supreme Court leak last month.
Dahlia, this current conservative Supreme Court has been in the making for decades. And while today might be shocking or jarring, should we be surprised? Wasn`t this the game plan?
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE SENIOR EDITOR: Not only was the game plan, Stephanie, but it`s been telegraphed at every turn. This was so clearly decades in the making. This was an undertaking that goes back to the sort of misrevolution, we`re going to lose everything else. But if we take the court, we will ultimately win. And in a deep, deep way, I think when Donald Trump took office, saying I will do one thing right for all the things I do wrong, and that is transformed the court, I think we should have believed him because this was all happening in plain sight. Nobody should be surprised.
RUHLE: Josh, as I said, just a moment ago, you were the reporter who broke the story when there was that draft opinion a month ago, this decision, how close is it to the leaked draft?
JOSH GERSTEIN, POLITICO SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: It`s almost identical, Stephanie, you know, there may be a few small changes here and there, Justice Alito hewed almost exactly to the draft that we recorded about seven weeks ago or so. The only differences are he did add sections to this opinion, rebutting both the liberals the three justices who did the liberal dissent and Chief Justice John Roberts, who did his own concurrence here and with Robert said, that the court should have allowed this Mississippi law that was at issue to take effect, but still left some form of a federal prosecution guarantee for abortion to be sorted out later. So there were some additions.
But I think, Alito, maybe he resented the fact, his opinion was made public, because it seemed like he went out of his way to really not change anything in it. Yes.
RUHLE: Chief Justice Roberts was incensed, infuriated when that draft was leaked, when you got it. What`s happened with that investigation that he launched?
GERSTEIN: I don`t know the answer to that, Stephanie, beyond saying that I know that they`ve taken steps and there have been things that they have done to advance the investigation but precisely where it stands right at the moment, I`m not entirely sure.
I think it`s possible. You know, the court has such a rush of work that comes in the last few weeks of the term or the last few weeks before they go away for the summer, then I think it`s possible that after doing some initial work on the investigation, it was sort of effectively set aside. And the question is going to be whether the court decides to pursue it in earnest, particularly after a significant number of their staff will be leaving over the summer, the annual group of law clerks I think, probably go when the term change is over.
RUHLE: And now it`s been overturned. So the leak is history.
Barbara, let`s talk about Clarence Thomas, because it`s not just overturning Roe. Now, he wants to look at overturning other rulings, other rights we have been granted. What does that mean essentially? I mentioned it in the last hour. When you think about America`s historical arc, we`ve been expanding rights to include more people. And now we`re starting to take them back.
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yeah, you`re right about that, Stephanie. I think one of the things that`s so shocking about today`s opinion, even though as Dahlia said, it`s kind of been 50 years in the making, is it`s the first time the Supreme Court has overruled an opinion to take away a right that has been on the books for 50 years. And Clarence Thomas` concurring opinion, is very disturbing, because he suggests that, while we`re at it, we ought to take a fresh look at things like the right to contraception, and same-sex marriage, and even intimate sexual relations between consenting adults behind closed doors.
And the reason is, frankly, he`s the only one willing to say it out loud. Because if you look at the reasoning of the majority, in this case, it is all about this idea that the word abortion does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, and the idea of substantive due process, that there are some fundamental rights that are so basic, that they are protected in the Constitution, even though they are not specifically spelled out, if we`re going to go down that road, that`s the foundation for abortion rights. It`s also the foundation for all of those other rights. And so if that foundation is gone, then the whole house of cards comes down. And so I think he is really seeing the tea leaves.
RUHLE: But Barb helped me with this rationale. If one could argue you have the right to bear arms to protect yourself, why wouldn`t you have the right to protect your own body as a woman?
MCQUADE: Well, I think you are reading the document the way it is intended to be read, Stephanie, in its entirety, you can`t read one section of it in a vacuum and say that it doesn`t -- you don`t look at the rest of it. That is the way until originalism came along in the 70s and 80s, the justices of the Supreme Court looked at it but now I think what they would say is, well, we pluck out the Second Amendment right here, it`s got the word keep in bear arms, we read that and so therefore, you know, ipso facto, there`s a right to bear arms, because the word abortion does not appear anywhere in the document. That`s not a right, and we are going to pull down Roe versus Wade.
So, but I think the better way to look at the document is to say that you have to read the entire document. And when you think about, say, the Ninth Amendment, for example, which says rights, which are not enumerated, still exist, just because we didn`t think to write them down doesn`t mean they don`t exist anymore. And so they want to pretend those don`t exist. And say, because the word abortion doesn`t appear there, there is no such right.
RUHLE: Dahlia, we are seeing, in some instances, a court that is clearly at odds with the majority of Americans, especially on issues like guns and abortion. But a moment ago, when we were showing a clip of protesters, one woman said, we`ve got to show up and vote them out. You don`t vote for a Supreme Court justice. They`re not going anywhere. So when people are out there protesting and saying they`re going to take action, what`s that going to look like? Clarence Thomas is not going any -- he`s not leaving that bench until he`s in a grave.
LITHWICK: Right. It`s such a complicated question, Stephanie, because at one level, the impulses just vote, right? If all those people who didn`t vote -- voted, this could change. I think underlying that we have to just sit for a minute with the uncomfortable fact that not every vote is equal and that this is not actually a representative democracy because it was never intended to be a representative democracy.
And so you would have to strip out the Electoral College, the filibuster, you would have to strip out a massively mallet portions in it, where you have a 50/50 Senate but one side represents 41 million more people. All of that stuff, all of that minority, majority rule stuff that is baked into, right, the way government work means that just showing up and voting isn`t enough. And I think one of the lessons that people need to understand when they think about, you know, 70%, 80% of Americans hate this outcome, 70%, 80% of Americans hate the outcome and ruin the gun case yesterday.
But it`s not a one to one correlation between getting out and voting. This requires massive, massive democracy reform. And it requires kind of staring at a Supreme Court that in Shelby County, in Brnovich, in all the gerrymandering cases, and all the vote suppression cases, have increasingly made it hard for every vote to be equal. And so I always say, this isn`t a guns problem. It`s not an abortion problem. It`s a democracy problem. It`s a structural problem. And I think until we really, really start to think about, why is the filibuster getting in the way of voting rights reform? Why is it getting in the way of WHPA, The Women`s Health Protection Act? Because it was meant to, and that`s the stuff we have to think about fixing.
RUHLE: So how do you fix it?
LITHWICK: Well, I mean, none of these things are unfixable, right? I think that there is meaningful effort to reform the Electoral College. There`s meaningful conversation about figuring out why the filibuster has precluded having, you know, reinstating the Voting Rights Act, which was passed by, you know, massive bipartisan agreement until the court struck it down. I mean, every piece of this can get fixed. But I think in a weird way, and I guess this is analogous to you know, what, what dogs is teaching us is that if you lived in Oklahoma or Texas, it was always hard to get an abortion. The Hyde Amendment always made it hard to get an abortion.
By the same token, this was never really one person, one vote, a fair democracy. This was never anything like what we think it is. And now`s a really good time to reckon with that, and to say, how do we fix gerrymandering? How do we fix vote suppression? We can do this, Steph. But it really requires thinking about boring, wonky system.
RUHLE: Josh, come September, President Biden`s pick, Ketanji Brown Jackson will join the Supreme Court, she will be on the bench. Between now and then, are we going to see the conservative justices tried to push a lot more of these type of rulings before she shows up?
GERSTEIN: Well, I don`t think they`re going to have that many more opportunities. But they do still have a bunch of cases, I think seven left to go that we expect to get next week, including, as Dahlia says some things that might sound pretty wonky and boring, but are very, very important involving the powers of regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, you know, the conservative movement has always been sort of a two pronged movement, one on the social issues, and two, on trying to tear down the federal government`s regulatory state. And that part of the project is also very much alive and very much in the works and, you know, may even have more support at the Supreme Court than the social conservative agenda does. And we`ve got that case to be decided next week. And of course, the big case on the agenda for the fall, when Justice Jackson gets there, a pair of cases involving affirmative action might be the next big decision of the court that really grabs major headlines.
RUHLE: Barb, tell us a little bit about a case that`s going to go on in your state. We`re all watching Michigan, to see what happens with a law there that has been on the books since 1931. What can you tell us and why could it matter to the rest of the country?
MCQUADE: Yeah, so in Michigan, we have one of those laws, sometimes referred to as a zombie law. It`s not the same as a trigger law, which was passed after Roe to come into place if Roe was ever overturned. It was already on the books passed, as you said in 1931. And it became moot in 1973 when Roe was decided. But it was still on the books. And so if Roe is eliminated, then that means that that law comes back to life that`s hence the name zombie.
But the law was the subject of a recent lawsuit Planned Parenthood and our governor Gretchen Whitmer have each filed lawsuits challenging that under the Michigan Constitution. And so far, a judge has entered a preliminary injunction, saying that it appears that they may be likely to succeed on the merits and holding it in abeyance until she can decide the case on the merits.
And I think the lesson for the rest of the country is this idea that these battles now may need to be fought within the states, perhaps their state constitutional provisions that can protect a woman`s right to choose. It`s not explicit in the Michigan Constitution but there are some provisions there`s a due process clause and an Equal Protection Clause. And it`s -- the issue is about bodily autonomy, the same one that was used, by the way, to challenge vaccines and masking and shutdown orders earlier in the pandemic. And so there may be a lesson there for other states.
RUHLE: Dahlia, even before the ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court had the lowest approval rating, Americans had the least amount of confidence in the court that we`ve had since they have been monitoring this, that may be a really negative number, which it is, but at the end of the day, doesn`t matter. We might not have confidence in the court, but their rulings still stand and have a lot of power.
LITHWICK: It`s a great question. And, you know, I think it`s important to just stipulate from the get-go, that we don`t want or that are slave to popular opinion, right? One of the reasons that we have lifetime tenure and political free, affords justices, massive, massive protection is because sometimes they have to do unpopular things. Think about Brown before, right?
Fundamental rights or fundamental rights, it doesn`t matter what the polling numbers show. All that said, I think both yesterday`s done case, and today`s abortion case, signal, not just that the six justices in this conservative super majority are speaking for, you know, 17%, 18% of the population that want these radical outcome, but that the justices are actually a part of this persistent effort, as they said, to shrink the vote. And the more you bless, you know, vote suppression laws, the more you bless, partisan gerrymandering, the more you say, oh, you know, this is too hard for us. It`s unjustifiable, and therefore, you know, states can continue to constrict the vote.
The Justice don`t just become a sort of minoritarian check. They become part of reinforcing -- persistently reinforcing minority rule. And I think that`s what we`ve kind of slid into without entirely reckoning with it, that now we have a court that is persistently making it harder for majority views and wishes and policies to be effectuated. That`s not necessarily doing something that`s constitutional. That`s just raw power.
RUHLE: Judges, they matter. Dahlia Lithwick, Barbara McQuade, Josh Gerstein, thank you all for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
When we come back, the battle for abortion rights is deeply personal for people all across this country. But for Congresswoman Jackie Speier, possibly even more, she`s here to reflect on today`s historic reversal from the Supreme Court and weigh in on what is next for Democrats.
Plus later, as some states are working to fight back and protect access to abortion if they can, but are they prepared for the increase in new patients? Don`t go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has nothing to do with the Constitution. This has to do with a cabal of people that think they can, I`m sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to get rid of all of these. Who think that they -- how do they have a right to me or any woman what she can do with your body?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA: I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child I lost a baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Back in 2011, Congresswoman Jackie Speier was the first member of Congress to share her own abortion story on the House floor. She and her husband wanted to see their pregnancy through but the fetus was not viable and the procedure was necessary for her health. Since then she has fought for the right to an abortion.
I want to welcome California Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Congresswoman, I`ve said it before I`ll say it again, thank you for sharing your personal story. It`s important, it`s valuable. I know you`ve spoken for the last 10 years about your experience. What was your reaction? What was this like for you today after the ruling?
SPEIER: You know, Stephanie, I went over to the Supreme Court early and the only people that were there were the protesters who were pro-birth, not pro-life. And I thought, you know, they had been tipped off. And I was disgusted by it. This is the greatest setback for women`s rights in the history of this country. It pains me to think that I have had this right and that my daughter won`t have this right.
I just can`t believe that we are at this point. And your earlier commentator said, well, you know, they were telegraphing that. Well, we thought maybe it was going to be a 15 week. We thought maybe the Roberts` position was going to be what was going to happen, but to have the whole law just dead is, it`s a gut punch.
RUHLE: Can we go back to what you just said a moment? Did I hear you right? When you went over to the Supreme Court this morning, you`re saying anti- abortion activists were the only ones there? You believe they were tipped off by the court?
SPEIER: I think they were tipped off, because it was quite early. It was just right after the decision came out. We were voting on the floor. I thought I was going to run over. And I thought this is odd. There aren`t any pro-choice people here yet. And these folks were there. So I do believe -- I believe they were tipped off. I don`t have any evidence of that.
But, you know, more importantly, the Supreme Court now has become a weapon of the far right. These two decisions, one on guns, and one on choice really sets us back in ways that I don`t think we can totally comprehend. On the one decision, they basically say the states can have this power about concealed carry. So everyone has the freedom to carry. On the abortion issue, they`re saying, we`re going to send it back to the states. And we`re going to force you to carry, its government mandated pregnancy. I mean, think about that.
RUHLE: So if what you`re saying is the far right or the right controls the Supreme Court, Democrats have the Senate -- Democrats have the White House and Congress, what can you do right now to combat what`s happening?
SPEIER: So there`s a number of things we must do. First is to educate women throughout this country that medication abortion is FDA approved that it`s safe and effective. In fact, it`s used in 54% of the abortions that take place in this country. We have to get this out to them. It`s a pill you take, and it terminates the pregnancy for up to 11 weeks.
RUHLE: And can you get access to that pill -- hold on, can you get access to that pill in states like Texas and Oklahoma?
SPEIER: Yes. I believe you`re going to be able to access that pill. Now, you`re going to have to get it from a doctor who is out of state, but they can interfere with the interstate commerce and the Postal Service, I don`t believe. So there`s things we`re going to have to do to shore up protection for a health care professionals who want to do that.
There are some of my friends who are now going to get licensed in Texas for the specific purpose of being able to prescribe the drug. The other thing I think we did we`ve got to make it as easy on women as possible. I`m reaching out to the San Francisco airport personnel to see if we can create clinics that typically are medical clinics that are at airports, maybe that`s where we can beef up the ability there to provide those services.
The other thing we have to do is we have got to use the nuclear option on filibuster. And by that, I mean, we`ve got to get to more U.S. senators who believe as we do that choice is important that gun violence prevention is important. Get them elected to the U.S. Senate that will take us to 51 members of the Senate that can overturn the filibuster, and then we could do things like pass a Women`s Health Care Protection Act.
RUHLE: So that`s something you would look to do after the midterms. Today, you think you can get Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on board for that after a ruling like this?
SPEIER: I don`t have a lot of confidence in getting them on board. Certainly, Joe Manchin came out and said that Gorsuch and Kavanaug lied to him. I mean, these are two Supreme Court nominees, three actually, that took an oath, swore that they were going to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And they sat down and said that Roe was settled law that it was precedent, and within two years, they have absolutely turned it on its head. So maybe that is making him think, more willingly to maybe narrowly and the filibuster for this issue of women`s choice.
RUHLE: But they don`t face any consequences for being misleading in their confirmation hearings. Joe Manchin could say, I`m mad or I`m disappointed, they lied to me, but he can`t do anything about it. Is there anything that the President can do today, tomorrow to protect women in this country?
SPEIER: I think we have to galvanize support around the country. I have recommended to the President. We should have a summit on women`s autonomy and right to make these decisions on her own. Do it in Washington, bring women from across this country together, to talk about ways that we can guarantee that women have access.
You know, I chair, the Military Personnel Subcommittee, I am deeply concerned about all of the bases we have in the south, that now it`s going to require our soldiers and sailors and airmen to transport themselves 1000s of miles away to get abortions. They can`t get an abortion now at the military treatment facilities, but they can get it in the communities. Now, they`re going to have to go many states away. It`s going to affect readiness in the military as well.
RUHLE: More talking and listening is very good. But decisive action changes things. The Supreme Court took decisive action today. And that`s impacted women across the country. Is there any action you would like to see the President take immediately?
SPEIER: Well, the President has looked at the options and I think he is determined that he doesn`t have the ability under an executive order to do more than make sure that the FDA has the medication abortion readily available everywhere. I think beyond that, we`ve got to put our heads together and see if there`s anything else we can do. Half the women in this country now, half of them are not going to have ready access to abortion services, because of this decision. And the states that have already utilized trigger laws, or will be passing laws that will prohibit access to abortion. So here we have one decision where you have the freedom to carry a concealed weapon, and then another decision that`s forcing you to carry a fetus to term.
RUHLE: And what can be done about it? Nothing. When the Supreme Court makes a decision, their decision is set. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you.
SPEIER: But we could have beat them. Thank you.
RUHLE: Yes, that is an option. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you for joining us this evening.
Coming up next, has some states are working hard to protect abortion rights? We`ll be speaking to the Attorney General of the State of California about what is next for his state after the historic ruling when our special extended edition of the 11th Hour continues.
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GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, (D) CALIFORNIA: I want to take this moment and sign legislation to push back against those Republican, state legislators and governors that seek to move forward with civil actions against people that wish to travel to the state of California seeking their reproductive rights and reproductive freedoms.
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RUHLE: That legislation signed today by California`s Governor protecting anyone. Anyone seeking abortions in California from civil actions in other states. Gavin Newsom also repeated California`s commitment to being a sanctuary for those seeking reproductive care.
With us tonight California Attorney General Rob Bonta. He`s running for reelection. Mr. Attorney General, unlike a lot of other states, you were not surprised you saw this coming. You have been preparing the state of California. What`s next there?
ROB BONTA, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have a lot in the works. We`ve been preparing for months. But this moment, of course, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We had the preview with leaked draft decision in Dobbs. So we have an active legislature who have been incredible partners, who have 14 bills moving towards the governor`s desk. Of course, the governor signed today that bill that prevents any cooperation or assistance from the state of California on civil actions against individuals seeking abortion or providers providing abortion.
And there`s a bill that I`m supporting, sponsoring, that will also prevent cooperation and assistance in California by law enforcement when it comes to criminal actions being brought against individuals who are seeking reproductive health care and an abortion in California.
We have $125 million in the proposed budget that will be expanding access to reproductive health care, expanding access to abortion, supporting women in California and from out of state. We also have another bill I`m supporting that makes it clear that you shall not criminalize pregnancy loss in the state of California. And meanwhile, the legislature and the governor are working on, putting on the ballot for the voters of the state of California in November, a constitutional amendment enshrining in the California Constitution, the right to reproductive health care, reproductive freedom, the right to an abortion.
RUHLE: For you and the governor, it was not a question of, if it was a question of when they were going to overturn Roe and you just laid it out you are well prepared for this. Why do you think so many other states aren`t and we`re hearing well, we got to get ready, we got to do something now, why are so many other surprise?
BONTA: I can`t speak for them. You know, this is part of who we are in California, what makes us special which it`s in our DNA, to stand up for our values to fight, to prepare, to have care and compassion for our people, to do everything we can to have their back. And knowing that a threat was coming that was on the horizon and getting nearer. We leaped into action. And we did it. I`m very proud to say, all hands on deck, from our leaders in the legislature in both houses, our governor, our California Department of Justice, my team as California Attorney General are advocates and activists in the nonprofit world, all working together, we had a future of an abortion Council created where we were preparing for this moment, starting months ago. Because we saw the tea leaves. We saw what was possible. Of course, we were -- thank you.
RUHLE: Then are you prepared for this massive influx of patients of women you`re likely to see over the next few months, do Californians want that?
BONTA: We are preparing for them. We are a haven when it comes to reproductive health care, a sanctuary. Anyone who seeks reproductive health care, who seeks an abortion, you can seek that in California. We have -- the right to an abortion is alive and well in in California. It is untouched by the Dobbs decision today. And we are a strong reproductive freedom state. So there will be many individuals unfortunately, who are being hurt and harmed by the trigger laws and other laws that will ban abortion in those states. We anticipate 26 states will ban abortion and the women and pregnant persons in those states will need somewhere to go. We invite them to come to California. It will be a huge influx. We are still preparing logistically and financially for that. We`re not working alone as a government. We also have our philanthropy, our private sector, also in support that share our values here in California. So we will meet the moment and we will rise to the occasion.
RUHLE: Well, you have got your work cut out for you sir. Attorney General Rob Bonta, thank you so much for joining us this evening. I appreciate it.
BONTA: Thanks for having me.
Coming up, she warned her fellow graduates and she was just a high school student about a war on her body and a war on her rights. The Texas valedictorian who sounded the alarm joins us next when the extended edition of the 11th Hour continues.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, people are going to die. Women are going to die between now and when we can get legislation passed, which is untenable. And I don`t know how we`ve let it get to this point. It`s just very disappointing.
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PAXTON SMITH, FORMER LAKE HIGHLANDS HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN: I have dreams and hopes and ambitions, every girl graduating today does. And we have spent our entire lives working towards our future and without our input and without our consent or control over that future has been stripped away from us.
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RUHLE: Paxton Smith gave that speech just over a year ago back when the most restrictive abortion law in Texas essentially banned the procedure around six weeks. Now, with the demise of Roe, Texas is one of 13 states ready to take those restrictions even further. Trigger laws expected to go into effect within 30 days banning abortions across the board. Even in cases of incest or rape.
Some clinics in the state warn abortion services have already ceased altogether. With me now, Paxton Smith, she`s the Texas high school valedictorian who swapped her speech to speak out against restrictive abortion laws. Paxton, thank you for being here tonight. Your speech is more relevant today than ever. What`s your reaction to the loss of Roe?
SMITH: It`s been incredibly disappointing. But I think that the feeling that I`m feeling most is fear about what the future brings. As you know, I`m from Texas, I still live in Texas. And in my home state they are going to criminalize abortion within the next 30 days, which means that abortion providers could spend up to life in prison now for providing abortion care.
RUHLE: Is that what the majority of Texans want? You`re a college student at U.T. When you walk around campus, is that what your fellow students want?
SMITH: It`s certainly not what my fellow students want. Although grants in U.T. Austin is quite a liberal campus. But I would say in general, the majority of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to overturn. The majority of Americans want abortion to be safe and legal and accessible.
RUHLE: The Supreme Court isn`t going to change their mind at least not today, tomorrow or the next day. So do you think young activist, young voters like yourselves in the state of Texas are going to take action after this decision was made? And after these more restrictive laws are going to be put in place very soon in Texas?
SMITH: I think so. And I hope so, I know that my generation is definitely going to be taken to the polls and is going to be voting for politicians that favor our human rights and that will pass legislation that will value our human rights. What I`m really hoping for though is that people of my generation are going to take to the streets and are going to be consistent and their fight in the streets because part of what we`re seeing now is that people are going out and protesting for one or two days, and then staying at home and waiting for the next big event. But I think what it`s going to take to get this right back, it`s going to take a lot more coordinated and consistent action from the pro-choice side.
RUHLE: And what is the goal, protesting in the streets, you`re not going to change the mind of the Supreme Court? So what is your goal? What do you want to happen practically speaking?
SMITH: I know that we`re not going to change people`s minds. We all have our beliefs, and we`re all setting our beliefs. But what I want to do is what I want to show that people in these positions of power, that we are not going to stand for them taking away our rights, we are not going to stand for that at all. And I want what I envision is people taking to the streets and demonstrating that.
RUHLE: How about in Texas? Have you ever -- I mean, after you gave that speech? How did your high school take it? How did your town take it? Could you get a meeting with Governor Greg Abbott?
SMITH: I did not get a meeting with Governor Greg Abbott. But the reaction to my speech was actually overwhelmingly positive. I received hundreds and hundreds of messages of support and love. And since giving that speech, I`ve received a lot of opportunities to continue my activism at the scale that I do now. And that`s something that I do every day.
RUHLE: You got those messages in that support from Texans or nationally, what I`m trying to get at is, if your voice, if your perspective is the future of your state, why does your state make the rules and restrictions that they do? And I`m obviously not accusing you of that, I`m trying to get inside the lone star state to understand why it is the way it is.
SMITH: Right. Well, politicians are not necessarily making legislation that reflects the views of the people in the state. That`s not something that people of my generation can necessarily control, especially since we`re just now getting the right to vote. I just voted in my first election last semester, a few months ago. And I think it`s -- rest assured people are going to be taking to the polls, people are going to be vote -- be voting these people out of office the best that they can. But right now they are not working in favor of their constituents and in favor of their constituents` beliefs.
RUHLE: All right, Paxton Smith, thank you so much for joining us this evening. I appreciate it.
SMITH: Thank you.
RUHLE: Coming up, the complex story of the woman behind this bitter national debate that began half a century ago, when the extended edition of the 11th Hour continues.
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LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: We`ve organized providers as well as medical professionals in the state of New York and we are prepared to represent individuals. We`re prepared to train legal professionals as well as medical professionals in anticipation of individuals who might be prosecuted in their home state. We`re looking at expedition, we`re looking at subpoenas, we`re looking at all of that, we are ready. We will not again bow down to the radical right, we will stand up and protect a woman`s right to choose, protect the 14th Amendment. And not allow women to be treated like second class citizens.
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NORMA MCCORVEY: Once the Supreme Court decision was done in `73, I thought like, well, OK, we`re all safe and legal now. We can have control over our own bodies.
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RUHLE: The last thing before we go on this very late night, knowing Roe. Norma McCorvey better known as Jane Roe is a complicated person in our nation`s divided history. When Norma was just 16 years old, she was already married and pregnant, divorce by the time the baby arrived. She gave up custody to her mother. A few years later, Norma was pregnant again. She gave that child up for adoption. Then in 1969, when she became pregnant for a third time, Nora was dealing with addiction and living in poverty, and she wanted an abortion. NBC`s Ron Mott tells us her story.
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RON MOTT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Her quest began not as a movement for women`s rights but more simply an unmarried 22-year-old looking to end her third pregnancy in Texas, where the procedure was illegal unless the woman`s life was in danger. Despite her ultimate victory in the case, she had her baby, the legal process pushing well beyond nine months. The landmark ruling eventually propelled McCorvey out of the shadows of her pseudonym, and into the spotlight of perhaps the country`s most divisive social issue.
For a time she became the face of pro-abortion rights. But later in the mid-90s, she announced that she had become a born again Christian, and then an about face became an anti-abortion advocate appearing in ads.
MCCORVEY: I realized that my case which legalized abortion on demand was the biggest mistake of my life.
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RUHLE: It was not until 2017 just before her death, when Norma McCorvey finally came forward with what she called a deathbed confession. She said she was never really against abortion. She was just paid to say that she was. A reminder, a stark reminder of the very complex and very personal story of Roe. A story that launched the bitter debate, one that tonight is clearly far from over.
We needed a deep breath. And on that very heavy and very serious note, I wish you all a very good night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for staying up late with us. It has been a privilege to be here with you.