Lawmakers, Activists, and Allies Are Reacting With Fury to 'Roe' Being Overturned

Thousands are taking to Twitter to express their grief and anger.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to abortion-rights activists .
(Image credit: Anna Moneymaker / Getty)

It's a dark day in our nation's history. Roe v. Wade has been overturned by Supreme Court, eliminating the U.S. right to a legal abortion after almost 50 years. 

In his immediate address to the nation following the decision, President Joe Biden called it a "solemn moment."

"They didn't limit it, they simply took it away," said the president. "This landmark case protected a women's right to choose, to reaffirm our basic principle of quality...Now with Roe gone, let's be very clear, the health and life of women in this nation are at risk." 

The Supreme Court decision will affect a women’s safe and confidential access to abortion, egregiously limiting reproductive rights, equitable healthcare, data privacy, and more. The nation’s leading voices on women’s equality took to social media to express their staunch objection to the Supreme Court decision and paint a picture of this decision's wide-ranging effects on all Americans.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama was among the first to speak up, pointing to a time when women had to risk losing their lives getting illegal abortions. "That is what our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived through and now here we are again." 

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She continued by highlighting her concern for teenage girls, mothers of nonviable pregnancies, as well as health care workers committed to reproductive rights. This is a moment for the next generation to seize, she added. "This horrifying decision will have devastating consequences, and it must be a wake-up call, especially to the young people who will bear its burden...If you give up now you will inherit a country that does not resemble you or any of the values you believe in."  

Former President Barack Obama echoed her sentiment. In a joint statement, the Obamas made clear that this is a time to take action: "Join with the activists who've been sounding the alarm on abortion access for years—and act." 

Officials like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote that this decision is literally a matter of life and death, and will hurt low-income communities the most. "Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away. It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor + marginalized. People will die because of this decision. And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America."

Congresswoman Cori Bush emphasized that "abortion care is health care" and speaks against far-right extremism: "Your racist, sexist, classist ruling won’t stop us from accessing the care we need."

"Hold onto hope. Do not give into despair," tweeted Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Following the Supreme Court leak last month, the official laid out the path to fight back for Marie Claire

Other leaders are focused on action, as well as holding the Supreme Court accountable for this outcome. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood, noted via social media: "The Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course of our own lives." 

Meanwhile, women's rights activist and journalist Gloria Steinem upheld the #BansOffOurBodies message: "Banning abortions does not stop the need for them, it just bans their safety."

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Women's advocates were equally vociferous. Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms, pointed out via Twitter that this is the second blow from the Supreme Court in two days. (On Thursday, the Court struck down a New York law limiting guns in public.) "Overturning Roe has never been about women or kids—but about controlling our lives and our bodies. If they really cared about us and our kids, they would make it *easier* to access abortion care. We would have paid leave, universal healthcare, and affordable child care."

As Biden pointed out in his speech, this decision is a deliberate effort made over decades. Saujani elaborates on this point, and suggests action steps: ""The anti-choice movement spent DECADES building toward this moment. They've been planting their anti-choice seeds for years. Not just on a state and national level — but on the local level as well. We have to do the same. Run for office. Run for your school board. Think LOCAL."

Some CEOs of corporations and tech startups announced they are prioritizing their workforce's health and wellbeing by ensuring access to benefits. In a Linkedin post, Lauren Hobart, CEO at Dick's Sporting Goods (opens in new tab), announced concrete details on how the company will support employees: "... if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK’S Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person."  

Daphne Delvaux, a California-based trial attorney focused on women's rights and workplace discrimination, expressed pure rage: "Justices accused of sexual assault wrote a ruling controlling women's bodies. A country without paid leave, healthcare, childcare, formula or safe schools is forcing pregnancies. No accountability or penalties on impregnators... "

You need not be a lawmaker, founder, or any person in power to speak up. Some of the most powerful stories come from the grassroots. Nashville-based activist Adrianne Wright poignantly illustrates this in her story about survival and healing from trauma for Marie Claire. And as Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, cohosts of Pantsuit Politics, write in their call-to-action op-ed, "Democracy always offers a path forward even when we feel thrust into the past. And just like our grandmothers, we will have to fight to change a system that excludes and denies."

As for what we can do today, here are 10 organizations to support. If you're in need of resources and services: 

1. For those in a position to do so, donate to @AbortionFunds, @KeepOurClinics, @IWRising.

2. If you or someone you know needs an abortion, send them to ineedana.com (opens in new tab)

3. Get educated on abortion pills by going to @Plancpills.

Tanya Benedicto Klich is Senior Editor at Marie Claire where she manages the Money & Career section. She also oversees profiles of female founders, funders, executives, innovators and more. Tanya was previously a Lifestyle Reporter for Forbes and Features Editor at Entrepreneur Magazine, and a former on-air reporter for NY1 News.