‘Abortion returns to the states’: US attorneys general react to Roe v Wade ruling

The US supreme court has ruled that the constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, opening the door for states to ban or severely restrict abortion access. In several states, abortion becomes immediately illegal, while other states have already taken steps to ban abortion.

The people who will enforce these anti-abortion laws are attorneys general, the top legal authority for each state. Within hours of the supreme court overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision, nearly every state’s attorney general released a statement.

In more progressive states, attorneys general assured people that abortion is still legal in their state – for those living there and those who don’t. New York attorney general Leticia James said, “Regardless of the situation at the national level, New York will always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion.”

Meanwhile, several Republican attorneys general framed the decisions as a historic and celebratory occasion. “None of us thought today would come in our lifetimes,” said Arkansas attorney general Leslie Rutledge. Alabama’s Steve Marshall said, “Today is a truly historic day.” Kentucky’s Daniel Cameron said, “We are entering a new era. No longer will unelected judges make abortion policy for the commonwealth.”

Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general, made clear the ramifications: “Today, the question of abortion returns to the states. And in Texas, that question has already been answered: abortion is illegal here.”

Louisiana state attorney general Jeff Landry further stoked anxieties that the US is hurtling toward a theocracy: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. Today, along with millions across Louisiana and America, I rejoice with my departed Mom and the unborn children with her in Heaven!”

Below is an excerpt of the response from every state attorney general, either on their official website, via Twitter or in a public statement. Some attorney generals had not released a public statement as of Friday 5.30pm ET.

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