Supreme Court building
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington at sunset. REUTERS/Erin Scott

California’s biggest city is citing a recent study suggesting women will flock to the state to seek access to abortions if the Supreme Court curtails the right later this year.

In preparation for the possibility that the court could roll back abortion rights this summer, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez introduced a motion Friday for the city to act.

The motion, seconded by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, requests that the Los Angeles City Attorney file an amicus brief in support of Jackson Women’s Health Clinic’s challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

If passed by the council, the motion also would direct the Chief Legislative Analyst to coordinate the city’s response with the Los Angeles County departments of  Health Services and Public Health.

The analyst 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 depending on the court’s actions.

Martinez’s office cited a study from the Guttmacher Institute that said California is likely to experience a 3,000% increase – from 46,000 to 1.4 million – of women of reproductive age whose closest abortion provider is California.

“A woman’s right to an abortion is crucial to our fight for equality in America,” Martinez said. “We cannot ask women to risk their lives by revoking their right to a safe medical procedure. I stand with women, California stands with women, and Friday, our city has reaffirmed that Los Angeles stands with and for women.”

The high 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 Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Mississippi passed its law in restricting abortions in 2018. 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.

“Women in the United States have fought for decades to gain, and maintain, control over their reproductive rights,” Rodriguez said. “Those rights are currently under assault across our nation. I stand in solidarity with women across our country who deserve access to safe medical care and the freedom to have the choice over their own bodies.”

Mississippi’s abortion law followed a strategy by anti-abortion groups to ban the procedure after they claim fetuses experience pain, according to the Washington Post. However, most research says that fetuses do not experience pain until 29 or 30 weeks into the pregnancy, the newspaper reported.

– City News Service