By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Newton's congressional, state, local leaders react to abortion ruling
U.S. Supreme Court
Special | U.S. Supreme Court

COVINGTON, Ga. — Public reactions among some Newton County-area public officials ranged from “a great day” to “saddened” about the U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively overturns the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The Court’s 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Friday, June 24, effectively gives individual states like Georgia the right to use their own laws to regulate access to abortion services without federal limitations.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, said on Friday, “Today we celebrate a great, great victory in the fight for life.”

“However, we must continue to pray for our country and the battles about to begin in state legislatures across the nation,” said Hice, whose 10th Congressional District district includes part of Newton County. 

“This is a great day for America,” Hice said.

On the other side of the issue, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Stonecrest, said the ruling was “the most damnable Supreme Court decision in my lifetime” and he pledged to support a federal law that gives women the right to choose.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court has snatched away a fundamental civil right,” said Johnson, whose 4th Congressional District also includes part of Newton County. 

“For half a century, the reproductive right has been a hallmark of gender equality in our nation. Women have now had that right ripped away by a callous and extreme, draconian Supreme Court. 

“What civil right is next? Will it be the right to use contraceptives? Will it be marriage equality? Or will it be the civil and voting rights of Black and brown people? Just how far backwards does this ultra-reactionary Court plan to take us?  

“I am saddened for what has happened for our nation and the disregard that this activist court has for the women of America. However, from this despair must come action and I am also determined to redouble my commitment to codifying the right to an abortion.”

The ruling clears the way for Georgia to put into effect the “heartbeat law” Gov. Brian Kemp asked the General Assembly to approve in 2019. 

The law prohibits most abortions after the detection of a fetal “heartbeat,” typically around the sixth week of a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, Capitol Beat News Service reported.  

State Attorney General Chris Carr said Friday he “filed a notice in the 11th Circuit requesting it reverse the District Court’s decision and allow Georgia’s Heartbeat Law to take effect.”

A U.S. District Court in 2020 ruled the law was unconstitutional — putting its enforcement on hold. The state appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which said it would hold off on a decision until the Supreme Court ruled definitively in the Dobbs case, Capitol Beat reported.   

District 109 State Rep. Regina Lewis-Ward, D-McDonough, said she was “prepared to oppose any legislation which seeks to impose state level restrictions in conflict with women making decisions about their bodies and their future.”

“The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v. Wade in 1973 created a pathway across the United States to give women access to safe, affordable reproductive health care,” said Lewis-Ward, whose district includes southwest Newton.

“The loss of this fundamental human right creates a health crisis in communities of color and criminalizes women who travel across state lines for accessible, quality reproductive health care. The majority of Americans do not agree with this restrictive decision. This about-face cannot be final. We will have a future with options for safe reproductive health care.

“(Friday’s) Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade reverses years of progress gained by women. Restrictions on reproductive care impact mostly women of color, those with low incomes and those living in rural areas. 

“Together, as a country, we must continue the fight to achieve reproductive freedoms, full voting rights and access to quality health care.”

Trey Bailey, who is executive pastor of Eastridge Community Church, asked his "Christian brothers and sisters who are celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade" not to "gloat" but to turn their attention to helping those who provide adoption and pregnancy support services.

He urged Christians to "show the love of Christ right now" and support the work of such area support agencies as Newton Pregnancy Resource Center in Covington, Refuge Pregnancy Center in Conyers, FaithBridge Foster Care in Alpharetta, Kaleo Family Services in Monroe, and Uniting Hope 4 Children in Loganville.

"I celebrate the sanctity of life with you," said Bailey, who is also a Newton County School Board member. 

"Let us now be just as excited and resolved to support adoption (and) fostering agencies. Let us endeavor to help raise any children who might’ve been otherwise eliminated," he said. 

"Let us not gloat but instead show compassion on those who would be making these difficult decisions. Let us show the love of Christ and be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. 

"These are the things I am praying about as well. I’m not preaching, I’m doing my own self-assessment," Bailey said.