♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, supreme court shock. the firestorm over the draft opinion that would overturn roe v. wade. opponents sensing victory is close. >> this is actually the very beginning of our battle to make abortion unthinkable and unavailable. >> abortion providers bracing for change. >> we saw this coming and we have been preparing for this moment. >> and the women caught in the middle, vowing to fight back. >> it's crazy to think that people are just going to expect me to sit down and accept it? like, no. plus primary battle. >> god bless you and thank you
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good evening. thank you for joining us. it is what abortion rights proponents have feared for years, a conservative court voting to overturn roe v. wade, something anti-abortion advocates are hoping will come to pass. will the draft decision leaked monday be the final word? here's abc's devin dwyer. >> we thank you. >> you're sacrificing the mothers for the children! >> reporter: on the steps of the nation's highest court -- >> roe v. wade has got to go! >> reporter: after the bombshell leak of a draft opinion showing five conservative supreme court justices appear poised to strike down roe v. wade, the nearly 50-year-old landmark decision that protected a woman's right to access abortion. >> there have been leaks before about negotiations, about vote changes, about the outcome in a case. but there's never in history been the leak of a full draft
opinion, let alone in one of the most important cases in a generation. >> reporter: the draft opinion, while not final and not meant to be released to the public, raises the stakes on both sides of the abortion debate. if roe is overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to ban or severely restrict access to abortion. >> 26 states, that's almost 36 million reproductive-capable people who are going to be losing access to abortion care in the coming days, months, years. >> this is actually the very beginning of our battle. to make abortion unthinkable and unavailable. >> reporter: on capito hill, democratic lawmakers furious. >> this is what the republicans have been working toward this day for decades. >> reporter: two key republican senators who support abortion rights -- susan collins of maine and alaska's lisa murkowski -- also upset. >> if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, it rocks my confidence in the court right
now. >> reporter: other republicans angered by the leak but in support of the potential decision. >> i thought roe v. wade was a constitutional overstep. so we'll be back into the business that we were before 1973. allowing each state to decide what to do. >> reporter: president biden reacting with alarm, calling it radical if roe v. wade is overturned, warning it won't stop there. >> if it becomes the law, and if what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is a right to choose. >> reporter: in a statement, chief justice john roberts confirmed authenticity of the draft, calling it a betrayal of the confidence of the court and ordered the marshal of the court to investigate. the leaked document, dated february 10th, is labeled the first draft of an opinion of the court. by justice samuel alito, the 67-page draft ruling is clear, sharp, and scornful, declaring in its opening paragraphs that roe v. wade must be overruled and that the 1973 ruling was egregiously wrong from the
start. alito dismisses the argument that the right to choose abortion is part of the constitutional guarantee of liberty and privacy. >> i would characterize the language as extremely strident. it's not an opinion that seeks to find common ground or to compromise. much of the tone of the opinion seems very clearly to suggest the kind of fundamental illegitimacy position that supports a constitutional right to abortion. >> reporter: the case at the heart, dobbs versus jackson women's health which asked the court to overturn roe and uphold a mississippi ban on most abortions after 15 weeks. >> this is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state. it is the only one. we have been trying so hard, so hard. and have come close a couple of times to getting it shut down. >> your baby is not a mistake, your baby is a gift from god. >> reporter: last fall we saw women from across the south seeking out care. one patient telling us, no woman wants an abortion, but that having the choice is critical. >> i do have other children. but i've also lost a child.
and so having a child pass away of health issues -- you don't want to -- you're scared. it's not something my husband and i are ready for, we're not ready yet. >> reporter: public opinion polls have consistently shown that the majority of americans support upholding raefd. in a new abc news/"washington post" poll, 7 in 10 people say the decision should be left to the women and her doctor. >> the only thing surprising to me about the leaked supreme court decision was the timing. we saw this coming, and we have been preparing for this moment. >> reporter: dr. colleen nicholas is an abortion provider in the midwest. she lives and worked in missouri, a state she says already feels like living in the post-roe world. >> missouri has one remaining freestanding abortion clinic. the truth is that missourians have been fleeing the state for the last year or so and getting that care outside of the state. >> reporter: missouri has what's called a trigger law that if roe
is overturned will immediately ban abortion across the state. >> the folks who are going to be disproportionately affected the most are going to be people who are the most marginalized already. it's going to be folks in rural communities. it's going to be black and brown folks. people who are unhoused, financial insecurity.who have - >> reporter: the lengths dr. mac nicholas takes oogt to get through hare reserve her day-to-day duties chronicled in "reversing roe." >> in america, 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their life. to me, abortion is just basic health care. >> we're going to remove the pregnancy. >> reporter: since roe v. wade was decided, there's been a concerted legal effort to reverse it. >> i think that overturning roe v. wade has been at the top of the list of the conservative legal movement and many, many generations of lawyers who have come up in that movement for at least four decades. so none of this is surprising given that history, and yet it is a seismic shift in our
constitutional system in our constitution at protections. >> if this leak is correct, if the court does, in fact, move to reverse roe v. wade, this is not simply a notch on a political victory belt. this is lives at stake. >> reporter: kristin hawkins is the president of students for life of america. we first met her at the 2015 march for life. >> we are the pro-life >> reporter: for the past 16 years her group has advocated to abolish abortion completely. >> now is time to get to work. to activate this army, this nearly 1,300 students, live groups that we support and train across the united states. >> reporter: she says even if roe v. wade is overturneed her mission will continue, working with state legislatures like in oklahoma where today the governor signed a six-week abortion ban into law. modeled off the controversial texas bill sb-8 from last
summer. >> if roe does, in fact, fall, we have a number of states where we know we'll have immediate battles to make abortion unavailable. and then we're going to have other states which are going to be longer-term objectives where we'll be engaging in primaries, races to elect the leaders that will uphold the will of the people. >> you can have a seat right here. >> i'm pregnant, i'm trying to get an abortion. >> reporter: for thousands in texas, like maddie, a college student, sb-8 was devastating. >> drowning. that's the best word to describe it is drowning. >> reporter: we followed maddie across state lines to mississippi. >> now it's a waiting game. >> reporter: to that very clinic now at the center of the supreme court case. >> do you feel secure in your decision? >> yeah. my decision hasn't wavered. it's my body, it's my choice. there were so many unneeded
obstacles that i managed to get over, but many women won't. >> reporter: today fears over losing the right to choose abortion growing deeper. >> after reading it, i parked my car because i was very upset. and i just cried. i didn't want anyone else to have to go through the struggles that i had to go through to get the health care that i deserve. >> reporter: as the supreme court continues to debate the future of roe, and as an anxious nation awaits their final decision. >> if roe v. wade does get overturned in the next couple of months, there are going to be so many marches and rallies to bring support to women that have feared this for so long. and i will be there. >> i would say, absent something truly extraordinary and unexpected happening inside the court, some version of this opinion will be issued as the opinion of the court in a matter of weeks. that will be the law of the land and roe v. wade will be no more.
>> our thanks to devin. we turn to abc's senior national correspondent terry moran, who's been following this story since it broke late last night. terry, it's worth saying again, the law has not yet changed. this is just a draft opinion. but what happens now? is the final opinion likely to be any different? >> it could be. it could well be, byron. it is rare but it happens that justices can switch votes, even in big cases, even at the 11th hour. and certainly this was a draft opinion from february, meaning it was probably an opening bid by justice alito, a kind of maximal statement of where he thinks the law should go. and in the course of supreme court work, that could be watered down, that could be changed. but at the end of the day, it looks like the writing's on the wall for roe v. wade. anyone who heard the oral arguments in this case back in december knows that those justices, conservative justices, were asking questions not about whether roe v. wade should be overturned, but about how they
would do it and what they're doing now is trying to see how they want to do it. >> terry, certainly what we saw use the court today where you spent the bulk of this day, the people there seem to think this is a done deal? >> no question about it. it was a shock. and tonight, there was anguish like i have never heard in a crowd in front of the supreme court. rage but also pain. they know this is the end of roe is in sight. whatever happens in this opinion. and the way it came and the way it's written, scornfully, triumphantly saying this was never a constitution at right to begin with -- i think it has energized people on that side of this issue in anger and in pain. you could hear it out there. >> chief justice john roberts confirmed the leak and ordered an investigation. could this damage the institution of the supreme court? >> no question about it, byron. this is a crisis for the supreme
court. it was for a lot of americans really one of the last places that seemed relatively normal. sure, they disagree, they go back and forth. but it operated, the court, in those old traditions and norms in a way that when the opinions were handed down, people would argue about it, but accept them. now it looks, this is a dastardly inside attack by one side on the other that has never been done before. like a knife in the back. because these draft opinions, it's the way the justices together kind of experiment. kind of explore what they can agree on, what they can't, about what the law should be. and if they do that, looking over their shoulder at how it might leak, that poisons the well of those deliberations which are at the heart of the supreme court's work. and so i think the credibility of the court really has been harmed. you can tell chief justice john roberts believes so as well.
he's irate. >> contentious days to come. terry mor an, thank you so much >> thanks, byron. with abortion rights looming large, the primary season begins. ohio's first test of the former president's influence. my a1c stayed here, it needed to be here. ruby's a1c is down with rybelsus®. my a1c wasn't at goal, now i'm down with rybelsus®. mom's a1c is down with rybelsus®. (♪ ♪) in a clinical study, once-daily rybelsus® significantly lowered a1c better than a leading branded pill. rybelsus® isn't for people with type 1 diabetes. don't take rybelsus® if you or your family ever had medullary thyroid cancer, or have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if allergic to it. stop rybelsus® and get medical help right away if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, severe stomach pain, or an allergic reaction. serious side effects may include pancreatitis. tell your provider about vision problems or changes.
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vance, who trump endorsed, coming out on top. here's abc's congressional correspondent rachel scott in ohio for us tonight. >> reporter: this has been a remarkable turn in the race. just weeks ago, j.d. vance was behind in the polls. now he has pulled ahead in the republican ohio senate primary. this has been one of the most contentious and expensive races in the country. every candidate trying to "out-trump" one another and trump's endorsement of j.d. vance really upended this race and sent the other candidates in this race scrambling. j.d. vance taking a victory lap on stage, thanking the former president for big him momentum to push him across the finish line, and he ended up with message to democrat representative tim ryan, bring it on in november. today's ohio senate primary playing out against the backdrop of a stunning leak from the supreme court. do you want to see the state of ohio outlaw abortion? >> i'm a firm believer in states' rights. i think roe v. wade was misconstrued from its inception.
>> let us choose what we want to do with our bodies. >> reporter: voters heading to the polls to cast their ballots on who they want to see face off in the midterms. this contentious race could impact control of congress. and it's one of the first tests of former president donald trump's influence over republican voters. j.d. vance's win solidifies trump as a republican kingmaker. >> we're going to do it, ladies and gentlemen, god bless you and thank you again. >> this win probably doesn't happen without donald trump. the campaign got a boost of energy. he became the consensus trump choice. >> reporter: at issue, trump's endorsement power and his grip on the republican party. hoping to take back the house and the senate come november. but first, finding the best candidate with the highest electability to replace retiring republican senator rob portman of ohio. >> and seven months from now, the people of ohio are going to vote to fire the radical left democrats. >> the ohio primary is a test of trumpism.
former president trump decided to endorse j.d. vance but he almost didn't have to choose from a wide variety of folks this we competing for his attention. the fact that former president trump chose one put him and his judgment and his movement on the line. >> reporter: trump choosing to back author and venture capitalist j.d. vance, known for writing "hillbilly elgy" later picked up by netflix. the adaptation focusing on vance's modest beginnings growing up in middletown ohio, reflecting his family's appalachian roots. the highly coveted and late endorsement from the former president upending one of the most heated and expensive republican primaries in the nation. >> we're going to send j.d. vance to the united states senate. >> reporter: despite vance once calling trump reprehensible and an idiot, he still received the former president's stamp of approval. >> he's a guy that said some bad [ bleep ] about me. in fact, if i went by that standard, i don't think i would have ever endorsed anybody in the country.
they all said bad, but they all came back. >> reporter: vance was one of seven candidates vying for the nomination. and in november, the author will face off with a democratic candidate, representative tim ryan. >> this is going to be a race to watch. j.d. vance having the trump endorsement, this is an interesting matchup against congressman tim ryan, who has the democratic nomination. ohio has been trending toward the redder notions. if the democrats are able to put on a serious fight in that state, that is going to be a much different kind of map this fall. >> reporter: in the days leading up to the primary, we met undecided voters across ohio. some issues were clear on their mind. two things i keep hearing from people across the state are immigration, inflation. is this something that's hitting your community? >> of course. i mean, it's cost me twice now to fill up my tank, but if i had to choose between immigration and inflation, i would swallow hard and accept inflation. this issue at the border has got to be handled and stopped. >> reporter: the impact of
immigration plus the stained and soaring inflation pulling residents to the polls. what issues are most important to you this election? >> the border, inflation, gas prices, gun control. >> immigration. >> the wall. definitely the wall. >> inflation issue. the pandemic has a lot to do with that. >> elections are almost always about pocketbook issues. when people are worried about prices, crime, immigration, those are the sort of things trump, everything else can probably come at them. that was going to motivate voters so far in republican primaries, maybe through the general election. that's what makes this a tough year for democrats is that the economic fundamentals are stacked against the party in power. >> reporter: as the midterms heat up so will pressure on candidates as voters look to them to listen and lead the country forward. >> our thanks to rachel. we'll be right back. enuva. for adults who are undetectable,
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