Galt’s state legislators responded on June 24 to the Supreme Court ruling that there is no national right to an abortion, voicing their support for abortion access and citing efforts in the California Legislature to shore up access within the state.
The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturns national abortion protections that the court established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade. As a result, each state can now create its own abortion regulations.
Abortions are expected to be banned or limited in about half of states after the ruling. Abortion remains legal in California.
State Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, said the decision restricts bodily autonomy.
“While this opinion isn’t a surprise to us, it is still a blow to millions across our country,” Eggman wrote in a statement. “Many went to bed last night in a country that protected their ability to make their own life decisions, and woke up in one that made it clear the state you live in now has the power to control what we do with our bodies.”
Assembly Member Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, called the overturning of Roe “outrageous.”
“The United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will go down in history as one of the biggest and most direct attacks on equality and human rights that our country has ever witnessed. It is outrageous that this court has reversed more than 50 years of precedent,” Cooper said in a statement.
“I will never forget my mom telling me about my grandma dying from a back alley abortion before the Roe v Wade decision,” Cooper continued. “I promise to always keep fighting to protect a woman’s right to choose; because no woman should ever lose her life, trying (to do) what is best for her.”
The two lawmakers cited the flurry of bills that the state Legislature is advancing to reinforce or expand abortion access in California.
Cooper has authored Assembly Bill (AB) 657, which would expedite the licensure of doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who intend to provide abortions, a measure that he said “will help California be better prepared and equipped to handle the expected 2,923% increase the state will see in women seeking abortion services.”
On June 24, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1666, which is designed to shield people who have or assist with an abortion in California from lawsuits in other states with abortion bans.
On June 27, the Legislature voted to put a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the November ballot. If approved by voters, SCA 10 would declare abortion a “fundamental right.”
Five of the Supreme Court’s nine justices agreed to overrule Roe v. Wade, and to uphold the Mississippi abortion ban at issue. Chief Justice John Roberts supported the Mississippi law but wanted to leave Roe in place. Three justices dissented from both of the majority’s positions.
Eggman said the potential impact of the ruling “doesn’t end with abortion,” adding that the conservative majority’s opinion and a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas make clear “that all rights vested within the right to privacy are now up for debate.”
In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling should not be interpreted to apply to other court precedents.
“We emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Alito wrote.
However, Thomas cast doubt on Alito’s statement, recommending that the same reasoning be used to reconsider cases that protect contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage – Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, respectively. The three dissenting justices noted the same possibility.
“The right to love someone of a different race and the right to gay marriage are now firmly in the crosshairs of this court,” Eggman said in her statement, making a reference to Loving v. Virginia. Thomas did not mention Loving, which legalized interracial marriage, but like Roe and the cases he cited, it has a basis in the right to privacy and the 14th Amendment right to due process.
“I will continue to fight for reproductive justice and access to healthcare for all,” Eggman concluded.
Cooper similarly vowed “to fight for not just the right to a safe abortion but also ensuring that it is accessible to all who may need it,” including Californians and people coming from other states.