“Shameful.” “Devastating.” “Heart-wrenching.”
Californians on Friday were quick to condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision in a move that says states may again outlaw abortion.
Though abortion will remain protected and legal in California, residents and stakeholders across the Golden State expressed shock and grief at the court’s decision, while others planned to rise up in protest.
“This is about more than overturning Roe, this is about controlling women and this ruling will be DEADLY to women of color,” Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said in a tweet Friday morning. “This Supreme Court is out of control, dangerous, and they’re coming for ALL of us — for women, for marriage equality, for privacy — for our civil rights.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti called on Congress to act immediately to “protect women and their access to healthcare.”
“The Supreme Court’s shameful decision denies women the fundamental right to control their own bodies, putting their health, safety and future in danger,” he said on Twitter.
Garcetti this month joined a coalition of mayors from several cities that vowed to protect women’s reproductive rights, including Long Beach, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Santa Ana and Sacramento as well as Madison, Wis., and Scranton, Pa.
“Our cities will continue to serve as places where women and all people can make their own reproductive decisions,” the coalition said in a statement.
Ushma Upadhyay, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at UC San Francisco, said it is likely that California will become a haven for those seeking essential healthcare services. But because many of the states that are likely to ban abortion are contiguous throughout the middle and southern parts of the country, she expressed concern that “many people won’t be able to overcome those cost and distance challenges.”
“People who are able to travel will be people who are the most economically advantaged — we know that historically from pre-Roe days,” she said. “It is people of color, low-income people … and adolescents I’m very concerned about. They won’t be able to find funding, find transportation, figure out how to make that multistate trip.”
According to a study Upadhyay co-authored last year, there are 168 abortion-providing facilities in California, more than any other state. And because Arizona is one of the states likely to ban abortion, she said it is likely that Southern California will become a destination for Arizonans traveling to obtain the service.
“There’s a potential for a surge,” she said. “It may lead to longer wait times, it may lead to greater challenges, even here, to access abortion.”
Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) described “searing fury” at the court’s decision in a statement Friday morning.
“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has turned its back on safety and equality,” she said. “But in California, those values remain firmly rooted. Here, pregnant individuals and their families will always be entitled to dignity, understanding and reproductive choice.”
Earlier this month, Atkins introduced a constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion protections in California’s state constitution.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 10 would prohibit the state from denying or interfering with a person’s “reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives,” according to the text of the amendment.
Other lawmakers and officials were quick to weigh in on the ruling Friday, with many, including City Atty. Mike Feuer and L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, calling it “devastating.”
“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 calling on California and Los Angeles to expand clinic capacity.
Hahn said she “never imagined we would be a country where my granddaughters would have fewer rights than I did depending on where they live.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) called the ruling “outrageous and heart-wrenching.”
“A woman’s fundamental health decisions are her own to make, in consultation with her doctor and her loved ones — not to be dictated by far-right politicians,” she said in a statement. “While Republicans seek to punish and control women, Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law.”
Times staff writer Melody Gutierrez contributed to this report.