Roe v. Wade overturned: Local representatives react to the Supreme Court’s historic decision

Published 6:35 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States voted 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that established a national, constitutional right to abortion in 1973. This ruling will allow states to enforce their own abortion laws. The Valley Times-News reached out to a couple of Alabama representatives for their reactions to the ruling.

Representative Debbie Wood, who represents District 38 in the Alabama House of Representatives, said she was “very excited” by the ruling, saying she felt that states should handle the issue of abortion.

“And I feel like we can now be the voice for those who have no voice,” she said. “It’s almost like when parents aren’t maybe getting along or making great decisions, they go to court, and if there are children involved and minor children, then the court appoints a guardian ad litem. I kind of feel like we’re the guardian ad litem for these unborn babies, and we’re making this decision now to save their lives.”

Wood said Alabama passed “some of the toughest” anti-abortion laws in 2018 and that now it can pass a law banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo.

Wood said she believes a majority of her constituents wanted Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

She said she doesn’t want abortion to be banned entirely in the state.

“I think that we always have to be considerate of those that have health issues,” she said. “So if a mother has a health issue that may cost her her life, I think that we should always, always leave the option available to her to choose abortion. I do not want us to have no clinics. I don’t want us to close all of those down because then we’ll go back to doing things that are unsafe for women.”

Wood also said she believes that pregnant people should be able to get abortions for mental health reasons.

“Mental health is health,” she said. “So, if a lady is having a mental crisis, and she feels like she cannot handle a child, then I think that it’s in the best interest. But it has to be before that heartbeat.”

Alabama state senator Randy Price, who represents District 13, said that his reaction to the ruling was “very positive.”

“Several years ago, the legislature, we had actually passed a piece of legislation that set up, as far as protocol, for this action that took place today to take place,” he said. “And so, I think it’s a very positive move that the Supreme Court took today.”

Price said he couldn’t remember the name of the legislation, which he said was passed about four years ago.

“It’s not really a true heartbeat bill, but it’s basically like a heartbeat,” he said. “… At conception, that baby has rights. No one can speak for it. So, this piece of legislation gave that unborn child rights.”

Price said the bill won’t necessarily go into effect right away now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. He said it’s a matter of how state attorneys will handle it.

Price said he wasn’t surprised by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as news media had shown that was the direction the Supreme Court was going in. He believes that a majority of his constituents wanted the ruling to happen.