Conservatives on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), as expected, formally overturned the nearly 50-year-old right to abortion in a ruling last Friday by its ruling in Dobbs v Jackson.
Bolstered by the three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, the 6-3 vote wiped from the books the two cases that had established and reaffirmed abortion rights; 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to help women continue to find abortion services if their states deny the right. They said people will be allowed to go to other states for abortion care and they would work to ensure that pills used in medication abortions could still be delivered by mail.
Biden urged abortion rights supporters to use the power of the vote to make changes in their states and elect a Congress that would enact a law to protect abortion.
The court decision was quickly followed by a handful of states announcing that abortion bans are going into effect quickly.
The aftershocks of the SCOTUS opinion overturning are rippling across the country, as many states have trigger laws withdrawing the established right to abortion. This decision is happening despite the documented fact that a majority of this country — Democrats and Republicans alike — support abortion rights as fundamental.
“Black and Brown women in this country have always struggled with obstacles to equality and with the bitter reality that, as citizens, we are ‘lesser than,’ said Areva Martin, local civil rights attorney. “And, as always, Black and Brown women and those struggling to get by financially will be hit hardest by the ruling.
“As a lawyer deeply engaged with civil rights issue, I am appalled at a ruling that claims, at its core, the justification that the right to abortion is not specifically enumerated in the constitution. The Constitution is silent on countless other rights we rely on every day in this country; it’s telling that a woman’s right to abortion is the one the Court has chosen to decimate today.
“The concurring opinion of Justice Thomas should be a wake-up call to everyone,” Martin added. “Thomas calls out the rights to same-sex marriage and contraceptives as examples of others that are not enumerated in the constitution. He is laying out the game plan of the right. We should consider ourselves forewarned.”
Rick L. Callender, ESQ, president of the NAACP California-Hawaii State Conference agreed.
“If you don’t believe that your rights can be taken from you, I’ll just point to yesterday,” he said before Saturday’s NAACP annual Legacy Hall of Fame ceremony.
“This is probably just one of many decisions that we’ll see come out of the supreme court” he added. “Like I said, it’s obvious that we’ll have to stand tall, going to have to stand strong, going to have to stand firm, we’re going to have to continue to fight. We’re going to have to continue to make sure that our voice is heard.”
In another email, Mark J Gonzalez, chair of the LA County Democratic Party had more to say.
“Make no mistake, this is the first of many efforts to roll back the extraordinary progress we have made in our nation, and conservative Republicans won’t stop until they have total control over our everyday choices and lives— this is only the beginning,” he wrote. “Remember this day when you cast your ballot this year and every year — Republicans are not pro-life, they are pro-control and we will do what it takes to protect our families and our communities from them.”
The Black Women’s Leadership Collective issued the following statement: “Black women are standing together to make clear that we will not go back to a time when politicians controlled our bodies and our most personal health decisions. Reproductive freedom and the fundamental right to control our bodies are on the ballot in November along with protecting our right to vote and the health and safety of our communities. We are organizing, mobilizing, and leveraging our collective power in support of candidates who support our rights and will fight for the needs of our communities.”
In his speech on June 24, Biden agreed, and added “This decision must not be the final word. We will use all appropriate, lawful powers, but Congress must act. With your vote, you can act. You can have the final word. This is not over.”