BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Leaders from across Western New York are weighing in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, putting an end to constitutional abortion protections.

The opinion of the high court comes in response to the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers on a dispute over a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks.

A federal district judge initially stopped the law from taking effect, and the state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s what local leaders are saying in response:

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

“We feared this dark day—but New York did not hesitate to prepare for it,” Governor Hochul said. “The Supreme Court has dealt a crushing blow to all who value the ability to make decisions about their own bodies. Let me be clear: the Supreme Court has failed us, but New York State will not. Our Abortion Access Always campaign builds on efforts to ensure that everyone knows that abortions remain safe, legal, and accessible here. As long as I am Governor, this State will protect you.”

New York Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court returns authority over reproductive health laws where they belong – to the states. As a result – this decision will have no impact on New York’s laws or access to reproductive health services for women and families in New York. Despite this reality, Albany politicians will sadly use this ruling to fear-monger and weaponize this issue for their own political gain. They will also attempt to expand abortion laws even further, forcing taxpayers to fund abortions, including late term abortions, for non-New Yorkers. Senate Republicans will continue to talk with the people of New York about solutions to the real crises facing New York families like violent crime, record high gas and food prices, and the quality of life across our state.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

“Today is a very sad day in our nation’s history. An ultra-conservative Supreme Court, five of whom were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, has destroyed a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body, a right the vast majority of Americans support. In New York, we have strong laws that protect a woman’s right to choose and we welcome all who can come here. However, millions of women in other states will now be faced with a decision that neither their mothers nor their grandmothers had to make. Yesterday the Court said a state could not protect its citizens by rejecting a more than one hundred-year old concealed carry law, and today it said a state could stop a woman from making the most personal decision possible. This Court is taking our country back to the 19th century. There is no legal consistency to these cases. The only consistency is the ultra-rightwing political nature of these justices and their decisions. If you ever said voting doesn’t matter, or there is no difference between the political parties, these decisions prove otherwise. Unfortunately, I fear these decisions are only the first of other ultra-right, taking-us-backwards decisions to come. No matter what they do, I will always fight to protect a woman’s right to choose, just as I will fight to protect contraceptives and LGBTQ rights.”

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy

“A grave injustice has been overturned and both the sanctity of human life and our constitution have prevailed. Tremendous credit must be given to our SCOTUS justices who did their job without fear or favor in the face of disgusting threats on their lives and their families. Kathy Hochul and New York Democrats legalized and celebrated abortion up to the moment of birth, performed by non-doctors, and they will not be satisfied until New York is the abortion tourism capital of America. In Congress, I will always fight to protect the Constitution and the rights of our most vulnerable.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown

“Roe v. Wade has guaranteed a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own reproductive rights for close to 50 years. This shameful decision by the U.S. Supreme Court paves the way for more than half the country to lose this freedom and puts women’s lives at risk. I am grateful to live in New York State, where our laws make it clear, women have the right to make their own reproductive choices!” 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“Today is a devastating day for all Americans. Today, more than half of the American population became second-class citizens, stripped of their constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy, regardless of where they live. People in as many as 28 states will no longer have the right to control when, under what circumstances and with whom they want to have children. The right-wing justices of the Supreme Court have declared that they are no longer permitted to make decisions about their own bodies, their own families, and their own lives Not only is this ruling an insult to women everywhere, but it is an affront to the 6 in 10 Americans who support women’s reproductive freedom. This ruling proves that our judicial system no longer represents the will of the American people and no longer represents logic, science, or equal justice under the law. But while today’s ruling is a terrible setback in the fight for women’s equality, it does not diminish our resolve. In fact, it is time to get to work and fight for our rights. At the federal level Democrats will fight to eliminate the filibuster and enshrine reproductive freedom into law. At the state level we will work to enact pro-choice legislation and flip legislatures to guarantee reproductive rights for all Americans. And in states like New York where reproductive health care is safe and accessible, we will open our doors to those seeking care. We cannot allow nearly 50 years of progress for women’s rights to be erased in one fell swoop. We have simply come too far to turn back now.” 

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Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.