Local and state Democratic officials this week vowed to protect abortion rights in response to a report the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark protections offered by the Roe v. Wade decision that has dictated policy on the issue since 1973.
Politico reported Monday that the nation’s highest court has voted to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. Politico obtained what it called a draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito that opines, in part, “‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the Start.”’
‘“We hold that ‘Roe’ and ‘Casey’ must be overruled,” the document states, according to Politico. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday announced an immediate investigation into the leak.
Politico noted that the document is only a draft and could be changed dramatically, or even fundamentally changed, before it is published and finalized this summer.
But news of the ruling sparked a flurry of concern from some Democratic California elected leaders.
“Make no mistake, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will be harmed and some will die,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) tweeted Tuesday morning. “It happened before Roe became law of the land and it will happen again, particularly since this decision will harm low-income and at-risk women more than anyone.
“I remember the days when abortion was illegal, when we would pass the hat at Stanford to collect money so a classmate could go to Mexico for an abortion. Overturning Roe would return us to those dark ages where women don’t have safe, open access to reproductive care. This would be unconscionable,” Feinstein said.
“Our daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers will not be silenced,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. “The world is about to hear their fury. California will not sit back. We are going to fight like hell.”
Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (63rd District) and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (39th District) released a statement that they would propose “an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state.”
The proposed amendment is unlikely to have much of a practical effect because of existing state laws.
Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) said “If this draft is in fact the position of the Supreme Court, this is a heartbreaking day for our nation.
“As a direct result of wrongheaded, backwards ideology, decades of established law and precedent will be at risk of being overturned and if that happens, women across our country will pay the price, with low income women of color experiencing the most severe impact,” said Bass, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote, “Expected but no less devastating. This is a direct attack on poor women in red states who, in a few short months, will either be forced to spend thousands of dollars they do not have to travel to a blue state, or be forced to carry a pregnancy to term that they do not want.”