ATLANTA — A leaked draft opinion that suggests the U.S. Supreme Court is ready to reverse Roe v. Wade could be a political game changer in Georgia and sway several close races in November.
Georgia is a deeply divided battleground state where both parties have clashed over abortion rights for decades.
The bombshell opinion, released by Politico Monday night, has already affected the May 24 primary elections, with candidates vying for state and national roles weighing in.
Overturning the landmark 1973 decision would pave the way for an anti-abortion measure signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019 to take effect. That law, blocked by a federal appeals court, would ban abortion after a doctor can hear a heartbeat, about six or seven weeks into a pregnancy.
His closest primary rival, former Sen. David Perdue, tweeted: "When I'm governor, Georgia will be the safest place in America for the unborn."
There is word tonight that Roe v. Wade may soon be overturned. Bonnie and I are hopeful that’s the case. This potential ruling shows the importance of the three conservative Supreme Court Justices we confirmed working with President Trump while I was in the U.S. Senate.— David Perdue (@DavidPerdueGA) May 3, 2022
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Perdue, who held a telerally with former President Donald Trump on Monday night, has been trailing Kemp in the polls. Whatever momentum Perdue's campaign had going into the race has been diluted in recent weeks.
The former Fortune 500 CEO built his campaign around Trump's unfounded 2020 election claims, in which he falsely blamed widespread voter fraud for President Joe Biden's win. Monday night, Perdue pivoted somewhat and touted his support for the three justices picked by then-President Trump and promised to pursue more restrictions if he is elected to govern Georgia.
"This potential ruling shows the importance of the three conservative Supreme Court Justices we confirmed working with President Trump while I was in the U.S. Senate," he tweeted.
Republican firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is up for reelection in Georgia's 14th Congressional District, also expressed her support for the draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in a series of tweets.
In one, she posted an image of a crowd that had gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court with the caption, "Our God is bigger."
In another, Greene called news that Roe v. Wade may be overturned "the most significant and glorious news of our lifetime" while posting a video of herself delivering the statement.
Our God is bigger. pic.twitter.com/ljNIeglFKS— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) May 3, 2022
Greene's closest challenger, Jennifer Strahan, told the Washington Examiner she is "thrilled with the Supreme Court's decision on Roe" but added that "the leaking of the document is a betrayal to the institution and history of the Supreme Court."
Former Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, now a Trump-backed Republican who is running in a crowded primary in the state's 10th Congressional District, called the move to strike down Roe "long overdue" and said the country is facing "an abortion epidemic."
"It's time to keep up the pressure and next defund Planned Parenthood," he told the Washington Examiner before crediting Trump and his conservative leadership for making it possible.
Jones added that "it is becoming more clear that this leak was done in bad faith by radical leftists in order to intimidate the majority on the Supreme Court. I pray that these justices hold the line and do what is right."
Democrats in the state believe the leaked decision will likely energize suburban women who oppose abortion to head to the polls to make their opinions heard.
Melita Easters, the executive director of Georgia WIN List, which elects pro-abortion rights Democratic women into office, predicted that a reversal of Roe would be followed by efforts in Georgia to impose legislation limiting contraception, IVF, and other reproductive choices women face.
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She said that if the draft ruling sticks, "then electing pro-choice women to state legislative seats becomes more important than ever before to all women of child-bearing age and all those who care about them."
Ruwa Romman, a Democratic candidate for a House contest, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she is "more determined than ever to win my race and help elect Stacey Abrams and other candidates in Georgia who are unwaveringly committed to protecting our reproductive freedoms, including abortions, at every level."