Southland elected leaders Friday blasted the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal abortion protections of Roe v. Wade, with the overwhelmingly Democratic contingent deeming it a “repudiation” of basic rights and a move to “criminalize” women.
The ruling overturning a 49-year-old landmark decision puts abortion policy at the discretion of states, many of which have restricted or outlawed the procedure in recent months.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, called the decision a betrayal of the commitments made by recently appointed justices during their confirmation hearings, who indicated under oath they would uphold decades of legal precedent.
“It is a repudiation of some of our nation’s most cherished values, from the right to privacy to the right of everyone to make their own health care decisions,” Schiff said in a statement. “The fact that this opinion does not come as a surprise does not make it any less traumatic for the millions of women now stripped of their access to safe and legal abortion; it does not make it any less frightening for the millions of people now worried about whether their fundamental freedoms will be the next to fall.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling was described by some as the most significant curtailing of an established constitutional right in court’s history.
The opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. is similar to a draft that was leaked to Politico in May.
“We hold that Roe and (the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs.) Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined 10 mayors from across the country in issuing a joint statement supporting abortion rights. Robert Garcia of Long Beach, Todd Gloria of San Diego, Vicente Sarmiento of Santa Ana, Paige Cognetti of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tishaura Jones of St. Louis, Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Lori E. Lightfoot of Chicago, Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wisconsin, signed the statement declaring their cities will continue to serve as places where women and all people can make their own reproductive decisions.
“We commit to using every tool at our disposal as mayors to stand up for women in the face of attempts to deprive them of fundamental rights — and call on our leaders in Congress and our statehouses to reverse the impacts of this decision and protect a woman’s right to choose,” according to the statement.
The mayor’s said the ruling “opens the door” to the repeal of other rights, “including the freedom to marry the person you love free of discrimination.”
“Access to safe and legal abortion has saved countless lives. American women, for the first time, have been able to plan their reproductive, economic, and social lives — leading to tremendous gains in not just health and personal freedom, but equity and quality of life in our communities.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and a candidate for Los Angeles County supervisor, said the Supreme Court “is criminalizing women.”
“The majority’s theological bent wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant and is a throwback to when women were property and knew their place. That past is our future if Americans don’t wake up and vote,” he said.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn called the ruling “devastating.”
“I never imagined we would be a country where my granddaughters would have fewer rights than I did depending on where they live,” Hahn said. “This ruling will not end abortion — even for women living in red states. We must ensure that California and pro-choice states across the country continue to be a haven for reproductive rights.”
County Supervisor Hilda Solis said she was “outraged.”
“This decision is an assault on people’s freedom, one’s bodily autonomy,” she said in a statement. “And although this decision comes as no surprise, it is devastating. Pregnant people will die, families will suffer, and this is just the start.
“Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion sets the stage for what’s to come,” Solis said. “They plan to overturn rulings that safeguard same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage, and contraception. The majority opinion, combined with Thomas’ concurrence, is yet another tragic example of extremist viewpoints in our government controlling our lives.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the decision abolishes a fundamental right for the first time in history — relegating women, especially women without resources, to the back alley or worse.
“As the dissent notes, the court majority has made women lesser citizens, subject to the whim of politicians on this most intimate of decisions. And other core rights may soon be on the chopping block,” Feuer said in a statement.
“Women who live in states across the nation that eliminate women’s reproductive rights will turn to California, and Los Angeles, for help. We must step up, expanding clinic capacity and finding ways to support women and girls who flee states where abortion is illegal and worry they can never return without confronting legal consequences.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, said he was deeply distraught by the decision.
“It is, unfortunately, exactly as we feared,” he said in a statement. “The Republicans’ decades-long war waged in support of forced birth has culminated in this appalling decision. Roe v. Wade was settled law according to the confirmation testimonies of the justices who just voted to overturn it. These justices lied to the Senate and the American people to be confirmed. It should come as no surprise that public confidence in the Supreme Court is at its lowest. Conservative justices, who have often decried legislating from the bench, will now impose their radical views on abortion onto the rest of the country.”
The ruling, however, was met with praise from Republicans across the country.
“Millions of Americans are celebrating today’s ruling and a pro-life movement that has worked tirelessly for decades,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “For a half century unelected judges have dictated America’s abortion laws. This historic ruling rightfully returns power to the American people to enact laws that protect unborn children and support mothers everywhere. As this debate now returns to the states and the American people, we know there is still much work ahead. Republicans will continue to advocate for life, uphold the law, and stand against an extreme Democrat Party’s pro-abortion agenda.”
The opinion by Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. concurred, but did not join the majority opinion. He said he would have upheld a Mississippi 15-week ban on abortion, but would have not overturned Roe v. Wade.
“The court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system,” Roberts wrote.
Justice Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
“Today, the court … says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” their dissent read. “A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”