California political leaders on Friday called the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of a half century of abortion rights “outrageous,” “extreme” and “dark,” while vowing to protect reproductive freedom in the state.
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.
“This decision is outrageous and has dangerous and far-reaching implications for Americans’ right to privacy and bodily autonomy,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs, who represents central San Diego County.
“We cannot let this stand,” Jacobs said. “Congress needs to codify the right to an abortion, and we need to do everything in our power to immediately protect the individuals at risk in the states where the right to make our own decisions about our own bodies is criminalized.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents the San Francisco area, said the “Republican-controlled Supreme Court” has achieved that party’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.”
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria joined 10 mayors from across the country in issuing a joint statement on abortion rights.
“This is a dark day for our nation,” Gloria said. “A woman’s right to reproductive freedom, including abortion, has been recognized for half a century and now is being rolled back by justices who are catering to the country’s right-wing extremists.”
“Here in California and in San Diego, I pledge to do everything within my power to preserve reproductive freedom and the privacy rights every American should be able to enjoy,” he said.
The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law but not taken the additional step of erasing the precedent altogether.
After a draft of the decision was leaked in May, California lawmakers introduced legislation to protect abortion rights in the event the court curtailed the long established right. A state constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights is expected to be on the ballot in November.
“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has turned its back on safety and equality. But in California, those values remain firmly rooted,” said state Senate President Toni Atkins of San Diego. “Here, pregnant individuals and their families will always be entitled to dignity, understanding, and reproductive choice.”
Several political also expressed concerns about whether the conservative court could overturn LGBTQ rights and ban contraceptives after Justice Clarence Thomas suggested those precedents were questionable.
“This draconian decision will deprive millions of Americans of the basic freedom to make decisions for their own bodies,” said Sen. Alex Padilla. “It also jeopardizes other fundamental civil rights, like the right to marry who you love, the right to privacy, and the right to access contraception.”
Rep. Mike Levin, who represents north coastal San Diego County, echoed that concern. “As Justice Thomas’ opinion makes clear, the conservative majority will next target protections for contraception and gay marriage,” Levin said.
Updated at 6:15 p.m., Friday, June 24, 2022
Reuters and City News Service contributed to this article.