Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s statement on the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision on Roe v. Wade:
“I am appalled at the leaked draft opinion that suggests a majority of the Supreme Court is ready to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing the right to an abortion. Abortions should be a universal right of all women, regardless of politics or what state they live in, which is why Roe v. Wade should be upheld by the Court. Unwanted and unintended pregnancies can potentially result in an increase in women delaying prenatal care, higher risk of medical complications for mom and baby, mental health issues (often long-term), including postpartum depression, criminalization of marginalized often poor women who will seek out abortions in other ways as well as ‘back alley’ abortions.
“The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. Forcing birth when women particularly Black and Brown women have the least access to healthcare, highest maternal mortality rate, and often no paid maternity leave—toppled with the environmental, financial and emotional stresses they endure is disturbing. We should be doing all we can to create greater access for their health and wellness, especially when we look at data that suggests that the maternal mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black women was three and a half times higher than that of white counterparts.
“We are living in a dangerous time and we must all stand up and do what is right. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, nearly two dozen states are likely to ban abortions or severely restrict access. Thirteen have ‘trigger laws’ that would ban abortion almost immediately. I am thankful that here in New Jersey, we have Governor Murphy, who in January expanded New Jersey’s enacted law preserving the legal right to obtain an abortion in the state and makes New Jersey a safe haven for people to travel from out of state to get abortions.
“Almost 50 years later, this extreme grasp for power over the bodies and lives of women is repulsive. While Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft, we will have to wait until June for the final opinion. Right now, we must fight and not take the pressure off the Supreme Court to do what is right. We must act at the federal and state level to protect the rights of all women.”