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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 6/24/22

Guests: Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Cecile Richards, Ghazaleh Moayedi, Kelley Robinson

Summary

Roe V. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court and the fight for women`s rights to abortion is abolished. President Joe Biden calling the Supreme Court decision as cruel. Vice President Kamala Harris says the fight for abortion rights for women is not over. Elect leaders who will defend your rights. For the first time in this nation`s history, the Supreme Court revoked a constitutional right and that opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, relies heavily on two men who believed in witches, believed witches existed, believed witches should be put on trial, and believed witches should be found guilty and sentenced to death.

Transcript

DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR AND LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: So, I think that the court not only got out of step, deeply out of step with public opinion. By the way, not just on this, but on the guns case yesterday whereby similar margin. Americans hate this outcome.

But I think that the utter lack of solicitude for the reality of the trauma that is being imposed, both by mass shootings yesterday and by unbelievable terror of prosecution, of being spied on, of vigilantism, that rebounds from today -- the fact that the court didn`t even think beyond saying, yes, I guess there`s going to be some outcomes, not on us to worry about it. I think that that is what at the heart of what is so, so maddening today.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal editor for slate.com. Dahlia, it`s a really important day. Thanks for being with us.

LITHWICK: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Alright, that is going to do it for us for now. I will see you again on Monday. I`ll be back here for "The Rachel Maddow Show" Monday night. Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. It was, I believe, 53 long days ago when I was running through the hallways here with this leaked opinion that I couldn`t believe that I was holding. You had one and just the shock of having a leaked Supreme Court opinion. And then, getting it today was also shocking because the stuff that we and others pointed out in it, that could easily have been cut, was still in there.

The quoting, you know, these guys from the 1600 in England who thought witches should be tried and executed. The witch trial moral authorities are still in this opinion. They are still being quoted as a guidance for Samuel Alito.

MADDOW: Yes. Justice Alito and the majority, they were not taking pains to make sure that this would be broadly accepted. That was not the goal of this work. This was just raw power, doing it because they could. And they`re not trying to bring anybody along with them.

And I think that`s, I think, part of the reason that you`ve had so much discussion today about what`s next because if they`re willing to do this on this, which they knew would be the most divisive possible thing in the country, obviously, they would do it on things for which they think they had even more leeway to operate.

That, we don`t care element to this is, I think, is going to be a profoundly important part of the way this changes the country.

O`DONNELL: And when you think of the presidents who made this happen, beginning with Ronald Reagan, but more importantly now, George H. W. Bush, because he has Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. There are no Reagan justice there now. But from George H. W. Bush to George W. Bush, to Ronald -- to Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, it is just a statistic likelihood without even getting into their life histories.

It`s a statistical likelihood, but at least one of them has personally in some sense participated in an abortion, possibly by paying for it as is very common. And the idea that they actually really believed this stuff that they were saying on the campaign trail, and really wanted it to happen, is something I have never accepted about any one of them ever.

But the people they put on the Supreme Court didn`t get the memo that that stuff is just campaign talk.

MADDOW: It`s interesting, too, to see the right, to see the anti-abortion right, and see the Republicans certainly pleased with what happens today, but also worried about the electoral consequences of this because they are the dog that cut the car here, in a way. I mean, it`s one thing to crusade about the horrors of abortion and why we need to get rid of it and how terrible abortion is and how if you elect me, we`ll get rid of it, we`ll get rid of it.

Then you do get rid of it, and then you`re the person responsible for America being a country without right is no longer available to all American women. And that`s something -- that`s a kind of accountability that I`m not sure that they are prepared for. I was thinking about the fact that President Biden is going to the G7 tomorrow, right?

So, it`s going to be -- he`s going to be going to go talk to the leaders of Canada and France and the U.K. and Italy and Japan and Germany, and one of the things he has to tell them is, you know, oh yes, we just banned abortion in our democracy yesterday.

Wait, aren`t the American people against that 2 to 1? Yes, but Clarence Thomas, so, I mean, this is -- it`s hard to -- I think it`s hard to explain in democratic terms and I think it`s going to be hard to defend at the ballot box.

O`DONNELL: And he doesn`t have to tell them because it`s headlines worldwide and I think it was seven hours ago where I saw the tweet from the president of France, registering his objections to United States Supreme Court decision, which only applies within the United States. I believe that`s the first time that`s ever happened that a president --

[22:05:00]

MADDOW: I was looking at the Scottish premiere talking about this as one of the darkest days in memory for women`s rights. Like the United States is supposed to be leading on this. We`re not supposed to be like the Central American backsliding dictatorship, right? We`re supposed to be the beacon for the world in terms of rights, the expansion of rights and human liberty. And, yes, every other major democracy, every other mature democracy in the world is freaking out, looking at how -- what a basket case we are.

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, the solution is that boring sounding solution of voting, voting, voting, and the people who understood that are the voters who put those Republican presidents in office. They understood what those votes were about.

MADDOW: Yes. The other solutions are really practical about helping women become outlaws in order to continue to make decisions about their bodies and their lives and coming up with ways to protect women while taking them outside the law, in order to do what they need to do. And that is, that`s a very different country than we`re all used to.

O`DONNELL: And that story is just beginning tonight.

MADDOW: Yes. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Well, I have read many Supreme Court opinions that I have disagreed with, but whose legal scholarship I have respected. This is not one of those decisions. The current Supreme Court is not reflexively worthy of respect. They have not earned it.

The current Supreme Court harbors the most corrupted Supreme Court justice in history who infamously ruled on a case involving his wife`s attempt to encourage people to commit election fraud. The court contains three justices who was names were handed to Donald Trump by Mitch McConnell.

Donald trump, a candidate who came in second in the presidential election of 2016, but then came in first in the Electoral College. He`s not the only second place candidate who got to be president and got to appoint a Supreme Court justice, including the justice who`s the author of this opinion.

The author of today`s opinion, Samuel Alito, was appointed by George W. Bush, who was the first president in history to get fewer votes than his opponent, but still win the Electoral College.

The current Supreme Court is not a product of democracy. It is a product of minority rule. It is the product of the corruption of constitutional processes by Senate Republicans who refused to even allow a vote on President Obama`s final choice of a Supreme Court justice. The Republican judges on the Supreme Court share a dangerous Trumpian characteristic. They are incapable of embarrassment.

The Trump appointed judges do not take their appointments to the Supreme Court with modesty, recognizing that most voters in the country voted against the president who nominated them. Neil Gorsuch shows no embarrassment in occupying a Supreme Court seat stolen from President Obama by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans.

I never said anything like this about the Supreme Court before the Trump years. I spent most of my life in awe of the Supreme Court. I always wish there were more justices on the court who agreed with me, but I always believed in the legitimacy of the electoral process and the confirmation process that delivered them to the Supreme Court.

The crisis of the very legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court fills me with sorrow. The same sorrow expressed by the three justices on the Supreme Court who represent the views of a majority of the American people, the last line of the 66-page dissent, written by Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan says, "With sorrow, for this court, but more for the many millions of American women who have today, lost a fundamental constitutional protection, we dissent."

They dissent from the majority opinions reliance on the moral authority on the subject of abortion of two English aristocrats, who in the 1630s believed that witches should be tried in court before being put to death. The Supreme Court opinion revoking a constitutional right for the first time in history relies on men who believed in witches and believed they should be executed, and it does so without embarrassment.

[22:10:03]

They dissent from the majorities belief that the 14th amendments guaranteed constitutional right to liberty applies only to the legally recognized liberties that existed in 1868 when the 14th amendment was written. Clarence Thomas embraces that view without embarrassment, even though in 1868 he would not have had the liberty of interracial marriage that he now enjoys.

The dissent points out the 14th amendments ratifier`s did not give black and white people the right to marry each other. But 100 years later, the Supreme Court relied on the 14th amendment to make interracial marriage a constitutional right.

Twenty years after that, Clarence Thomas use that constitutional right in the state of Nebraska where interracial marriage was illegal until 1963. Interracial marriage was still a novel concept for Virginia Thomas` white relatives in Nebraska, in the Midwest, even after she married Clarence Thomas. In 1991, when Clarence Thomas` nomination to the Supreme Court was announced, Virginia Thomas` aunt and uncle spoke to the "Washington Post" saying, "I can guarantee you I was surprised when I found out she was going with a black man," Ginni Thomas`s uncle, Ralph Knop, said from his farm in Iowa. "It was unusual for us, but he was so nice. We forgot he was black." Her aunt, Opal, added, "And he treated her so well, all of his other qualities made up for his being black."

Made up for his being black. They said that in 1991. In a country where most people thought it took other qualities to make up for being black, the Supreme Court found in the 14th amendment the liberty for Clarence Thomas to marry the woman he loved. And today, Clarence Thomas cannot find the liberty for women in the 14th amendment. And he is not embarrassed about that.

Not long ago, the surest way to embarrass the Supreme Court justice would be to point out an inconsistency. Not anymore. The dissent hurls embarrassment at the majority opinion knowing that the majority created by Donald Trump cannot feel embarrassment. The dissent says, "embarrassingly for the majority, early law in fact does provide some support for abortion rights. Common-law authorities did not treat abortion as a crime before quickening, the point when the fetus moved in the womb. And early American law followed the common-law rule. So, the criminal law of that early time might be taken as roughly consonant with Roe`s and Casey`s different treatment of early and late abortions."

We will have more on the embarrassing, amateur historians work in today`s Supreme Court opinion later in this hour with a professional legal historian. The Republican judges on the Supreme Court are now and never have been, and perhaps never will be, embarrassed by their cruelty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effect today jeopardizing the health of millions of women, some without exceptions. So extreme that a women can be punished for protecting their health. So extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist child. With a child of consequence, it just stuns me.

So extreme that doctors will be criminalized for fulfilling their duty, to care. Imagine having young women having to carry their child of incest -- as a consequence of incest. No option. Too often the case, the poor women are going to be hit the hardest. It`s cruel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:14:58]

O`DONNELL: Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan dissent because the majority opinion says, "that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs. Some states have enacted laws extending to all forms of abortion procedure, including taking medication in one`s own home. They have passed laws without any exceptions for when the woman is the victim of rape or incest. Under those laws, a woman will have to bear her rapists child or a young girl her father`s. No matter if doing so will destroy her life."

A young girl, her father`s. It`s not a theoretical example. You know that if you read our first guest, "New York Times" op-ed piece last year when she first appeared on this program. It was right there in the headline, "I Was Raped by My Father. An Abortion Saved My Life."

Michele Bratcher Goodwin wrote, "At age 12, I was pregnant by my father and I had an abortion. Before we got to the doctor`s office, I had no idea that I was pregnant. I will forever be grateful that my pregnancy was terminated. I am fortunate that my body was spared an additional trauma imposed by my father, one that today would be forced by some state legislatures in courts. No child should be pressured or expected to carry a pregnancy and give birth or to feel remorse, guilt, doubt or unease about an abortion under any circumstances, let alone rape or incest."

Never forget who did this. George H. W. Bush, through Clarence Thomas. And George W. Bush through Samuel Alito and John Roberts. And Donald Trump, through Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. They have all now said, to children who get pregnant, they can be forced to bear their rapists` child. George H. W. Bush did that. George W. Bush did that. Donald Trump did that.

Leading off our discussion now is Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor`s professor of law at the University of California Irvine and the author of "Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood." Also with us is Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood.

And Professor Goodwin, let me begin with you. You`ve been with us throughout the 53 days that we knew this was going to happen, but when it happens, it always is something else. It`s a different moment in our history.

MICHELE BRATCHER GOODWIN, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE: The gravity of the moment is with us today now that the Supreme Court decision is no longer theoretical, but it is in existence. And with it, there are more than two dozen states that will trigger laws into effect that outright ban abortion or make it incredibly difficult for pregnancy to be terminated.

This is a devastating day not just for reproductive health rights and justice, but it`s a devastating day for the rule of law. And also, for our democracy because it is absolutely clear by this final opinion, that the Supreme Court has turned its back on its key duty. And that is to defend the Constitution and uphold the civil liberties and civil rights of people in this country.

And by this ruling, it has shirked that responsibility. And as you just mentioned, when we think about the people who will be most harmed by this, of the many categories the Supreme Court has essentially said, that a 10- year-old girl who has been raped by a father, brother, stepfather, should and must carry a pregnancy to term if she is living in a state that bans abortion. And that being a mother at 11 years old in the United States is permissible under law.

O`DONNELL: Cecile, you have joined us on this subject really since the beginning of this program and you`ve been with it as a cause in your life for much, much longer than that. What are your feelings and thoughts tonight?

[22:20:00]

CECILE RICHARDS, CO-CHAIR, AMERICAN BRIDGE 21ST CENTURY: Look, I would agree with the professor. This is a day of enormous sadness and despair. And I was talking to my clinician friends in Texas today, literally women who are at health care clinics who when this decision came down were sent home. And not only sent home, but, as you looked at the map of where abortion immediately was banned in this country, really with nowhere else to go.

And as the professor says, these are women, oftentimes, who have no other options. They can`t fly out of the state. Many of them never left the state of Texas before. And of course, this is happening, most poignantly, to young people, to women with very low incomes, women in rural areas, black women, women of color who have just disproportionately less access to the health care system.

And I do think it is the cruelty of this. I think that that was -- this is a day where it`s hard to really get to the politics of it because just the inhumanity of what the justices have done is so profound. But that is what is really striking to me about this opinion, is it seems that the justices -- five unelected justices, or six if you want to include Roberts -- just don`t care.

They don`t care that this is overturning a freedom that we`ve had in this country for more than 50 years. They don`t care of what it`s going to do to women in this country. And they don`t care the fact that this is not with the majority of Americans want.

That is chilling, to think that we`ve lost our freedom in this country and we`ve lost it to people, unelected folks who sit on the Supreme Court, who are making their own decisions about our lives and our futures.

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now from Texas is Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi. She is a board member at Physicians for Reproductive Health. What is the situation there tonight?

GHAZALEH MOAYEDI, OB-GYN IN TEXAS: You know, we have been dealing with the fallout of strict abortion bans for nearly a year here in Texas. And while we were ready for today, that doesn`t make it any easier. This is a human rights issue. My colleagues across the state and across the country in the middle of clinic today having to stop and send people home and colleagues scrambling across the country to figure out where we can get people care.

It`s unconscionable to think that unelected people in this country can dictate evidence-based medicine. That physicians and nurses and health care providers can`t do what they`ve been trained to do to save the lives of their community members. That our hands are being tied, that we are being threatened to be imprisoned, to deliver lifesaving care to our community.

O`DONNELL: I want to hear so much more from all of you, but we have several more guests that we`re getting to in this first hour of covering this opinion on the show. Please, we are going to need all of you to come back and join us and guide us through this period. Cecile Richards, Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin, and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, thank you very much for beginning our discussion tonight.

GOODWIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning. Without access to the same health care or reproductive health care that their mother and grandmothers had for 50 years.

You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights. And as the president said earlier today, with your vote, you can act. And you have the final word. So, this is not over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our coverage now is Kelley Robinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. And let me just give you an open mic to tell us what you think we should know at this point, whether it would be your reaction to the opinion or what happens next for Planned Parenthood.

KELLEY ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: Thank you so much. This is a tough day. It`s a sobering day for so many folks and it`s a scary one for many of the people that we serve, and communities across the country.

Today, I was in a room with people that lead our health services all across the country and I sat with them as they worked with their teams to call patients to let them know that the appointments that they had schedule could no longer take place. Right now, in states across the country, health centers were forced to stop providing care, providing health care to people that need it.

So, what I need people to know is that this is a devastating moment. Planned Parenthood is here. We will find you access to the care that you need. We will get you information, visit abortionfinder.org and we will help you get to the care that you need.

We`ve got the abortion funds that are also available to support people in getting access. And at the same time, we`re going to be fighting back. This is not the end of the story, as Vice President Kamala Harris said, we`ve got to vote. We`ve got to make clear who is accountable here. We`ve got to be clear that those justices that made this decision live when they said that they have respect for precedent.

The courts have failed us. And tonight, what I saw at the steps of the Supreme Court and in communities across the country, it was hundreds of thousands of people mobilizing to say, enough! We are not accepting this as being our reality and we`re ready to fight back. So just know, if you`re scared, call us. And if you are mad, join us, because we have work to do.

[22:30:03]

O`DONNELL: Kelley Robinson, thank you very much for joining our discussion. And joining us now is Senator Tina Smith, a former vice president of Planned Parenthood for Minnesota and the Dakotas. Senator, you`ve joined us on this subject before, but here it is.

Here is the Supreme Court doing what I`m sure, for most of the last 50 years, you thought was impossible.

SENATOR TINA SMITH (D-MN): It has been a long day. It`s been a devastating day. But I just am thinking about the women who showed up about at clinics in Texas and Mississippi and other states around this country, expecting to be able to exercise their freedom and their decision-making about their own health care only to be sent away.

That is unacceptable, and the Supreme Court spoke today that they do not have the last word. There is a ton of work to do, and I see people mobilizing all over the country tonight, just as we heard, hundreds of thousands of people.

I believe that this is going to be a galvanizing issue, Lawrence, and I think that people are just so angry.

O`DONNELL: Senator, what about, what can be done legislatively, in terms of assuring the interstate delivery of certain drugs involved, and other possible issues that the court did not specifically address?

SMITH: One of the things that we have to understand is that medication abortion, the abortion pill, is now the most common way that people decide and use to terminate their pregnancies. It is safe and reliable and effective up through the 11th week of pregnancy.

I introduced legislation this week that will ensure that medication abortion is available in states where abortions will still be legal. This is something that`s going to be incredibly helpful to women and I think about my home state of Minnesota, which will be an oasis for people seeking abortion care. As medication abortion is available here, we don`t want anybody to try to put up additional barriers like we know the Republicans will attempt to do to stop women from getting access to that care.

That is one thing that we can do, but we really need -- we`re going to be doing literally hundreds and hundreds of things to protect access to care, while we also the fight back at the ballot box, and hold these Republicans accountable who have fulfilled their dream of making abortion -- overturning Roe.

O`DONNELL: Senator Tina Smith, thank you very much for joining our coverage tonight, really appreciate it.

SMITH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, a legal historian will take on the amateur historians who wrote today`s embarrassing majority opinion, called "embarrassing" by the Supreme Court justices, the three who dissented. That`s next.

[22:32:49]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: For the first time in this nation`s history, the Supreme Court revoked a constitutional right and that opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, relies heavily on two men who believed in witches, believed witches existed, believed witches should be put on trial, and believed witches should be found guilty and sentenced to death.

Sir Matthew Hale sentenced women accused of witchcraft to death. Sir Henry Cook (ph) wrote the Witchcraft Act of 1604 in England, which served as the primary English law against witchcraft, deeming it a felony.

Justice Samuel Alito cites Matthew Hale and Edward Cook in his opinion as moral authorities on abortion.

Our next guest law professor Jill Olin Hasday (ph) writes that Justice Alito relies on Sir Matthew Hale because he, quote, "is desperate to establish that the early American legal system was opposed to abortion. He thinks this characterization of the past gives overturning Roe a veneer of legitimacy, relying on that history of injustice as a reason to deny modern women control over their own lives a terrible argument, but apparently the best thing Alito can do."

Joining us now, Jill Olin Hasday professor of law at the University of Minnesota and Emily Bazelon staff writer at the New York Times magazine and fellow at the yale law school.

And Professor Hasday, let me begin with you and your reaction to the work of the amateur historians in the opinion.

JILL HASDAY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOT: Well, one thing -- I mean there`s a lot of things that were striking. The majority opinion is almost unchanged from the leaked draft. Alito`s basic argument, as you said, is the same in reasoning about what liberty the constitution protects, we have to look at what rights you would have in 1868, would a court have upheld, have recognized the constitutional challenge to abortion in 1868, Alito says no. So, you don`t win.

You don`t have constitutional protection for abortion access now. I think there is at least two problems with this argument. First actually, abortion the (INAUDIBLE) governance in America in its first generations doesn`t regulate, doesn`t criminalize abortions before quickening, which is the moment when a (INAUDIBLE) first detects fetal movement which can be as late as about 25 weeks.

[22:39:56]

So, there actually isn`t as consistent a history of abortion regulation as Alito suggests. Moreover, the sources he cites for how we should think about abortion are exclusively, of course, male authorities women are denied equal constitution or otherwise rights at the founding and through the ratification of the 14th amendment in 1868.

I think Alito is the most egregious example. He is a 17th century English judge. He is regressive even for the time. He, as you said, sentenced two women to death on the grounds that they were witches. He accepted spectral evidence, or even his contemporaries thought that was ridiculous. And Alito cites him as great and eminent authority that we should use and reasoning about what the modern constitution means today.

O`DONNELL: Emily Bazelon, the real news of the day from the point of view of the opinion is the dissent because the dissent is new. The opinion is something we have already seen in the leaked version. And in the dissent, they say the lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not deeply rooted in history. What was your reading of the dissent today?

EMILY BAZELON, "NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE": I think the dissent is making a full throated case for the idea that, abortion -- access to abortion is necessary for women`s freedom and equality. That was not the clear constitutional basis in Roe versus. Wade, but in Planned Parenthood versus Casey, which reaffirmed Roe in 1992, the court started to talk about how access to abortion helps women become full citizens. And today we see in the dissent, this recognition that if you force people to carry pregnancies to term, it`s very hard to them to really control their own lives, to really be free and equal. But there were only three votes, for this point of view.

O`DONNELL: Professor Hasday and Emily Bazelon, thank you both very much for joining our special coverage tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

HASDAY: Thanks for having me.

BAZELON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, the night the draft decision overturning Roe versus Wade was leaked. Representative Katie Porter joined us on this program, and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): This is a terrible outcome, not just for women, but for all Americans. The last thing I needed tonight was a lecture from Justice Alito about how easy it is today to be a parent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Representative Katie Porter will join us next.

[22:42:30]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Clarence Thomas appointed by the first President Bush is the most corrupted member of the United States Supreme Court in history since he ruled on a case involving his wife which is specifically forbidden for Supreme Court justices. Clarence Thomas appointed in 1991, staked out the most extremist position in today`s Supreme Court opinion by adding his additional opinion that in future cases, we should reconsider all of this court`s substantive due process precedents including the right of married persons to obtain contraceptives, the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts, the right to same sex marriage.

Joining our discussion now is Democratic representative Katie Porter of California. She`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and the deputy chair of House Progressive caucus. Representative Porter, you were here when this began, when we had the leaked opinion. Now that you have read the final opinion, what is your reaction?

I think it`s very, very similar, which is that this opinion, like the draft opinion, trampled on our liberty. This is a freedom issue. This is an issue about who gets to make decisions about your body, about your education about your trajectory in life, and it should be up to every American.

And so, for me this is fundamentally, you know it`s a bitter pill to swallow when we talk about the sweet land of liberty, and yet we have a court that is trampling on the will of the majority of people, and taking away constitutional rights.

O`DONNELL: And the dissent clearly points out that of course this ruling primarily as of now applies to poor women, women with less financial resources, women who cannot afford to travel to another state, to obtain abortion services, and perhaps in the future, as the dissent points out, possibly have to travel to Toronto, because the Republicans are hoping for a nationwide ban on abortion. That is something that Mike Pence came out in support of today.

PORTER: And listen, when Republicans tell you what they`re going to do, listen. They told us they were going to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And that is exactly what they tried to do in the House of Representatives. We won in 2018, and we stopped them in their tracks, protecting our health care.

They are telling us now that they`re going to have a nationwide ban on abortion, and it`s up to us in 2022, to stop them in their tracks, and again, protect our health care.

O`DONNELL: As you go forward, what will be the congressional response to this decision?

Look, the house has already done its work here, to codify Roe. We`re going to do other things.

[22:49:54]

PORTER: We are looking at trying to protect the other rights that Justice Thomas made very clear that he`s coming for.

We are looking at what we can do in terms of appropriations, what we can do in terms of administrative and executive branch rules to help support protecting the right to health care in the meantime.

But fundamentally, this is about the senate. That is what has brought us to this along with a Supreme Court. We need to overturn the filibuster. The Supreme Court is not a democratically elected institution, but the Senate sure as hell is.

And they need to stop fiddling around, and hiding behind arcane procedural rules, get rid of the filibuster, and take an up and down vote, on whether or not they are protectors of liberty and freedom.

O`DONNELL: Representative Katie Porter, thank you very much for joining us again. Really appreciate it.

PORTER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Representative Nikema Williams, the chair of Georgia`s Democratic Party will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:54:57]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Women today lost the right to make our own health care decisions, and the right to shape our own futures. As a woman, I am appalled. As a Georgian, I am enraged. As an American, I am disgusted by this abdication of all we hold dear. It is a fact that in Georgia, forced pregnancy is now the law of the state. As your next governor, I will continue to defend a woman`s right to choose, and to protect the rights of all. It has been done with this law as an assault on the liberties, and we will fight back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Georgia Congresswoman Nikema Williams. She is the chair of Georgia`s Democratic Party. Thank you very much for joining us. We just heard from Stacey Abrams about the new current law in Georgia, apparently, the restrictive law that they passed was working its way through the federal courts, but now, that is over. That case will now become law, presumably.

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Lawrence, immediately after this Roe v Wade was overturned today in the Supreme Court, our current attorney general Chris Carr, who`s running for reelection and our Governor Brian Kemp, they went to the 11th circuit to have them, to stop what was currently enjoining this law.

So effectively, their ban on abortion is going into effect in Georgia. This is Brian Kemp and Chris Carr who are up for reelection. They have their own version of an abortion ban right here in Georgia that bans abortion at six weeks, before most women even know that they are pregnant.

And that`s what we are dealing with. That`s why I`m excited to have people like Stacey Abrams on the ballot, so that we can have someone, willing to stand up for the rights and freedoms of all Georgians, not just some.

O`DONNELL: Well, this poll in "Atlanta Journal Constitution" shows that`s that in Georgia, 68 percent of adults support Roe v. Wade. So what is the Republican political calculation that says in a governor`s reelection campaign, as a Republican, he will try to absolutely restrict reproductive rights in Georgia.

WILLIAMS: Lawrence, let`s be clear, that`s not 68 percent of Democrats. That is 68 percent of all people all voters in the state of Georgia. And so --

O`DONNELL: And let me just -- let me just for the audience also to inform them, 43 percent of Republicans in Georgia, Republicans are split evenly in their support for Roe versus Wade. Please go ahead.

WILLIAMS: What that shows us, Lawrence, is Republicans like Brian Kemp, continue to be out of touch with most Georgians, continue to be out of touch with the country. That`s the Republican Party that we are dealing with now. That is who (INAUDIBLE) this extremist Supreme Court, who overturned Roe v. Wade today.

But I have news for them Lawrence, come November, we have leaders up and down the ballot on the Democratic ticket, that are willing to stand up for the freedoms of all Georgians. And I`m excited to have someone like Stacey Abrams, and Raphael Warnock on the ballot to vote for, to stand up for our rights and our freedoms as Georgians.

O`DONNELL: The Senate race is crucial, because if Senator Warnock is not reelected, the Republicans could have the majority in the Senate, and they could use that majority to pass a complete national abortion ban.

WILLIAMS: Lawrence, this is the same body, the same Republican U.S. Senate members who won`t even affirm our right to vote in this country but they`re willing to do an all out, federal ban on abortion. That`s what we are up against.

So, if you were sitting here wondering, if this impacted you, if this affects you, it does. If you care about environmental rights, if you care about reproductive freedom, reproductive rights, then you need to join us in this conversation around what it means to access the ballots, and you need to exercise that right in November, because everything is on the ballot this November.

We have seen today how far Republicans are willing to go in this country. 13 states had a trigger ban, that essentially have already banned abortion. So don`t buy it, when people tell you, today they didn`t ban abortion, they just reverted it back to the states. But look at the states and what they are doing. States already had bans in place.

And this is where we are in Georgia, this is where we are in so many states across the country, and so much more is on the way, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: The president today, at the end of his statement, said that basically, voting is the only solution. That`s going to be kind of disappointing recommendation tonight when lives are changing tonight?

WILLIAMS: So voting is not our only solution, voting? But voting is a great solution. We have the opportunity to change the leaders who put us in this predicament, but we also have passed the Women`s Health Protection Act in the House, and that`s before the senate. So we have an option there.

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I also have a resolution right now, reaffirming our right to reproductive freedom, and to not criminalize people who are seeking care. So we have legislative options, and we`re going to do everything that we can.

O`DONNELL: Georgia Representative Nikema Williams, thank you very much for joining our coverage tonight. Really appreciate it.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Nikema Williams gets tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts now.