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LA, Calif. Democratic leaders vow to protect abortion rights in wake of leaked SCOTUS draft

Calif. Democratic leaders vow to protect abortion rights in wake of leaked SCOTUS draft 07:58

Los Angeles and California Democratic officials are vowing to protect abortion rights in response to a leaked document from the U.S. Supreme Court which indicates it may be set to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Politico reported Monday that the leaked document shows the nation's highest court plans to vote to strike down Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling.

The draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito opines, in part, "`Roe' was egregiously wrong from the start."'

"We hold that 'Roe' and 'Casey' must be overruled," the document states, according to Politico. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

Politico noted that the document is only a draft and could be changed dramatically, or even fundamentally changed, before it is published and finalized this summer.

RELATED: Justice Roberts calls leak of draft Supreme Court opinion in abortion case a "betrayal" 

But news of the ruling sparked a flurry of concern from state and local Democratic leaders. 

"You either believe in the autonomy of women, or you don't, in my opinion," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday. "You either believe that they have rights, or you don't. And this is worrying, we don't know yet, we don't have confirmation that this is anything more than a draft. I would still hope that it is only that and that there is time for the Supreme Court to do the right thing and to continue the protection of all Americans' rights." 

"Our daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers will not be silenced," California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. "The world is about to hear their fury. California will not sit back. We are going to fight like hell."

Striking down Roe v. Wade would allow individual states to set limits on abortion. Later Monday night, Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D- Lakewood) and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), released a statement that they would propose "an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state."

"We know we can't trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution," the statement said. "Women will remain protected here."

The proposed amendment is unlikely to have much of a practical effect because of existing state laws.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles, said "if this draft is in fact the position of the Supreme Court, this is a heartbreaking day for our nation."

The other front-runner in the mayor's race, billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, tweeted, "I profoundly disagree with the draft decision that was made public tonight. If it becomes final, the justices in the majority will have taken away the rights of millions of people in this country and put lives in jeopardy.

L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez wrote on Twitter, "5 justices, the majority of whom were nominated by presidents who LOST the popular vote, are dictating to 166.7 million women across the country that they don't get a say in what happens to their body. This is enraging. We must fight back. We WILL fight back. Elections matter."

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) added, "Not a single justice knows what it's like to be one of the 10+ million single parents in America. I do, and I support a woman's right to choose."

On its social media channels, Planned Parenthood posted, "Let's be clear: This is a draft opinion. It's outrageous, it's unprecedented but it is not final. Abortion is your right -- and it is STILL LEGAL."

A Planned Parenthood representative told CBSLA Tuesday that she expects to see more women coming to California for reproductive health services.

"Our doors are open, we are serving patients today, and we will tomorrow, and no matter the Supreme Court decision when it is finalized," said Juliana Serrano, vice president of advocacy and equity for Planned Parenthood. "We are very lucky to be living in a state where our governor has declared it a place of reproductive freedom." 

Theresa Brennan, Right to Life League president, explained to CBSLA Tuesday why she believes Roe v. Wade could be overturned. 

"The reason that Roe v. Wade and 'Casey' may be overturned is that the standard of viability is really untenable," Brennan said. "And there is no constitutional right to an abortion. And that people in the womb, human beings, have a fundamental civil right to be born." 

Meanwhile, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider throwing its support behind a proposed pilot project, state Senate Bill 1245, aimed at making L.A. County a safe haven for women seeking abortions and reproductive care.

State Senate Bill 1245 would establish a "reproductive health-care pilot project in the county to support innovated approaches and patient-centered collaborations to safeguard patient access to abortions, regardless of residency," according to the motion by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl.

That vote was scheduled prior to Monday's leak.   

The Supreme Court decision stems from the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. In violation of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Mississippi passed a law in 2018 prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

Mississippi's abortion law followed a strategy by anti-abortion groups to ban abortion 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.

President Joe Biden released a statement Tuesday in response to the leak. It read:

"We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court.

"With that critical caveat, I want to be clear on three points about the cases before the Supreme Court.

"First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on "a long line of precedent recognizing 'the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty'... against government interference with intensely personal decisions." I believe that a woman's right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.

"Second, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women's reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel's Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.

"Third, if the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law."

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