Supreme Court Ruling Felt in Alameda
Supreme Court Ruling Felt in Alameda
On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court withdrew the Federal Constitutional right to an abortion when it overturned Roe v. Wade and ruled to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after fifteen weeks, according to multiple reports.
The decision overturns the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion and the subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that largely maintained the right.
In response to the ruling, Alameda Councilmember John Knox White stated in a Twitter post, “There was already no doubt, but today’s ruling, overturning women’s fundamental right to self-determination and making their own health decisions is an abomination and cement’s the illegitimacy of this Supreme Court.”
Fellow Councilmember Tony Daysog also released a statement. “I am saddened by the decision by the Supreme Court today to end a constitutional right to abortion. While states such as California, and places in California such as the City of Alameda, will continue to be places where women can exercise their right to choose, I am saddened that, because of today’s decision, in many other states across America, women will no longer have the ability to make an intensely personal decision, with assistance from their respective medical professionals, with respect to abortion.”
Supreme Court Justices ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade and 6-3 to uphold Mississippi’s law. According to a cnn.com report, Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voted to uphold Roe v. Wade, while Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito voted to overturn it.
Without the Federal backing of Roe v. Wade, the power to allow abortions is up to each individual state. According to a State of California report, 22 states will use trigger laws to enact abortion bans (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming). More states could be included in this list. Most of these states allow exemptions to abort a pregnancy to save a pregnant person’s life, but few allow exemptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1666 by Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). The bill will seek to protect Californians from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state, according to a press release on his website. Some states, such as Missouri and Texas, have created laws that allow citizens to sue individuals that have or aid someone in having an abortion (“Alamedans March for Women’s Rights,” Oct. 7, 2021).
“The Supreme Court has made it clear - they want to strip women of their liberty and let Republican states replace it with mandated birth because the right to choose an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history’. They want to turn back the clock to a time when women had no right to make decisions about their own bodies,” wrote Newsom in a press release. “We will not sit on the sidelines and allow patients who seek reproductive care in our states or the doctors that provide that care to be intimidated with criminal prosecution. We refuse to go back, and we will fight like hell to protect our rights and our values.”
On June 24, a group of Alamedans gathered in front of City Hall to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling.
It resembled the event that took place on May 3, when many Alamedans, including Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Knox White and Daysog, stood united on the steps of City Hall in support of women’s rights to essential health care and reproductive freedom, after a leak of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade was released the day before (“Mayor, Alamedans Stand for Women’s Reproductive Rights,” May 12).