The United States Supreme Court Friday has overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that guaranteed women’s right to have an abortion, and lawmakers from Los Angeles have responded, one saying it is dangerous and divisive.
The ruling, ending the 49-year-old decision, puts abortion policy at the discretion of states, many that have restricted and outlawed the procedure in recent months.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said the decision is a betrayal of the commitments made by recent 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 released 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 5-4 ruling is being described 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 by 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 on abortion rights. Robert Garcia of Long Beach, Todd Gloria of San Diego, Vicente Sarmiento of Santa Ana, Paige Cognetti of Scranton, Penn., 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, Wis. 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.
“Further, the draft opinion overturning Roe opens the door to the repeal of many privacy-based rights that form the basis of our society and underpin the very concept of American liberty. These freedoms, including the freedom to marry the person you love free of discrimination, are under threat with this decision. We cannot allow this egregious attack on the progress our country has made.”
The mayors’ statement recognizes that over the past 50 years, Roe and Casey have made a profound and positive impact on the lives of millions of women — particularly young and minority women — and their partners.
“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.
“Put simply: Reproductive rights are critical to women’s healthcare and self-determination. By denying this fundamental right to the people of the United States, the Court is not only curtailing an essential freedom to American citizens, but they are also imposing a dangerous and failed policy decision upon millions of Americans. An abortion ban will not stop women from seeking this basic health care, but rather make it illegal and less safe. We know that planned pregnancies lead to dramatically better outcomes for mothers, children, and families, and that even the widespread use of contraceptives cannot fully eliminate unintended pregnancies. Nothing less than women’s health, safety, and futures are at stake — and we must protect their right to control their own bodies and lives.”
State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys 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.
Schiff said the Supreme Court’s decision did not happen in a vacuum and has been in the works for years.
“After waging an all-out assault against abortion access for decades, after committing shocking acts of constitutional disrespect by withholding the confirmation of a justice nominated by a Democratic president and jamming through a Republican nominee during an election campaign, after conspiring with state legislators across the country to put forth some of the most draconian criminal penalties imaginable, Republicans are now one step closer to their ultimate goal: a nationwide ban on abortion,” Schiff said.
“Make no mistake, this court is not conservative — it is partisan, with a partisan and socially backward agenda.”
The opinion 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.”
Schiff said, “We have come too far and fought too hard to enshrine the right to choose for Republicans to roll back the clock. We must bring an end to this national nightmare, and make sure the American people know that Democrats have always been and will always be the party fighting for women*s fundamental rights. We must codify Roe, and ensure women control their health care decisions for generations to come.”