The Los Angeles City Council is calling for legislation to codify the right to safe abortions in California and throughout the United States in light of recent news that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion-rights decision Roe v. Wade.
The resolution, which passed 11-0, was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilwomen Monica Rodriguez and Nithya Raman.
Once signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, it would formalize the city’s support for any proposed legislation that would codify the right to safe abortion into law and urge the state and federal governments to take immediate action to pass the legislation.
“We are witnessing an unequivocal attack on a fundamental human right, setting us back decades,” Raman said in a statement after introducing the resolution on May 4. “What’s more is we know exactly who this decision will hurt the most — marginalized groups who already face significant barriers accessing abortion care, and in particular low-income women of color. We will not sit idly by.”
The resolution states that 23,000 women worldwide die from unsafe abortions each year, citing data from the World Health Organization. It also cites research from the University of Colorado, Boulder that nationwide abortion bans would lead to a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths and a 33% increase in the pregnancy-related deaths among Black women.
“We all know it’s not the wealthy or the well-connected who are going to be bearing the brunt of this decision,” Martinez said. “It’s the women who can’t afford to take a day off from work and travel to another state for an abortion.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization over the summer. In violation of Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, Mississippi passed a law in 2018 prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The Supreme Court’s decision on the case could effectively overturn Roe v. Wade, which guarantees abortion rights throughout the U.S. until the fetus is viable, typically between 22 and 24 weeks.
The City Council also passed a motion Friday requesting the Los Angeles city attorney to file an amicus brief in support Jackson Women’s Health Clinic’s challenge to the Mississippi law.
The motion also direct the city’s chief legislative analyst to coordinate its response with the Los Angeles County departments of Health Services and Public Health. The CLA would identify how the city could respond to a possible increase in demand for abortions in Los Angeles, as other areas of the country may ban abortions or enact more strict measures against them.