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'Death warrant to women;' California, Bay Area leaders denounce Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Lawmakers from the Bay Area and California along with community leaders reacted swiftly Friday morning to a much-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision to end constitutional protections for abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Today is a dark day for our country," Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. "By overturning Roe v. Wade, the conservative majority on this Supreme Court has declared that women no longer have. the right to control their own bodies. This decision is an outrage for the women of this nation and will have catastrophic consequences for generations."

"Today, the Republican-controlled Supreme Court has achieved the GOP's dark and extreme goal of ripping away women's right to make their own reproductive health decisions," read a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party & their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers. Radical Republicans are now charging ahead with their crusade to criminalize health freedom."

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the governors of Oregon and Washington issued a joint statement Friday condemning the high court's decision. The three states outlined an agreement commitment to protect patients from other states seeking reproductive health care, provide safe access to contraceptive and abortion access, and refuse to cooperate with states that have laws punishing either people seeking reproductive health care or doctors who provide it.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn half a century of settled precedent and rescind the U.S. Constitution's protection of reproductive freedom jeopardizes safe access to reproductive healthcare across the United States," Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in the signed statement.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta affirmed his support for abortion access in the state and also committed to protecting those seeking reproductive health care.

"We'll keep fighting to strengthen and expand access to safe and legal abortion," Bonta said in a statement. "As attorney general, I will use the full force of the law and the full authority of my office to protect reproductive healthcare for every person who seeks it in California. Abortion remains a legally protected right in our state and, in California, we won't backslide."

"This decision is devastating to women and our country," San Francisco Mayor London Breed said. "The ramifications from this Supreme Court ruling on public health, poverty, and so many downstream consequences have yet to be seen, but right now, women are scared about what this means for them, for their daughters, for all of us."

Breed said the city was taking steps to prepare for impacts from the ruling. San Francisco's Department of the Status of Women will be ready for an influx of people traveling from out-of-state, Breed said.

Kimberly Ellis, director of the department, said "It took 40 years for conservatives to plot and scheme the rollback of women's bodily autonomy and we must have the same unbending and resolute commitment to undoing this new world of forced birth, even if it takes us another 40 years to get there. We will never give up."

"Extreme right-wing judges on the Supreme Court just issued a death warrant to women in America," said East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell in a tweet Friday. "They have decided that a piece of metal designed to end life is more valuable than the health & safety of women in America.

North Bay Congressman Mike Thompson said the court's decision was "an assault on women, plain and simple," in a statement on Friday morning.

"Roe was the law of the land for nearly 50 years, and the right to an abortion was settled law," Thompson said. "This decision threatens the health of women and will lead to the criminalization and banning of reproductive care."

The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade ruled that the U.S. Constitution generally protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion. Friday's decision to overturn the 50-year ruling is expected to result in abortion bans in several states.

Mary Rose Short, Director of Outreach for California Right to Life told KPIX 5 opponents of abortion rights in California would continue to use education to try to change abortion laws in the state.

"The Supreme Court has finally corrected its monumental error in Roe vs. Wade, an error that resulted in the brutal deaths of millions of children. Today's decision brings us closer to the day when our nation will recognize the right to life of every human being, said Short. 

She added, "While we cannot overcome the current pro-abortion supermajority in Sacramento, through education we can change minds, save lives, and work toward the day when we elect a pro-life majority in California."

A number of rallies have been planned to show public opposition to the Supreme Court ruling.

In San Francisco, a rally and march is planned for 5 p.m. at the Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., according to Reproductive Justice, a group of several organizations including Glide Memorial Church, and Raging Grannies Action League.

On the Peninsula, a Rally for Reproductive Rights is planned for 4:30 p.m. Friday, at the San Mateo Central Park stage, 50 E. Fifth Ave.

In Oakland, a "Bans Off Our Bodies" rally is planned for 5 p.m. Friday at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

In Walnut Creek, a vigil organized by Women's March Contra Costa will be held at 7:30 p.m.  Friday at Civic Park, 1375 Civic Drive.

On Saturday, Congressman Eric Swalwell plans to speak at a 10:15 a.m. rally at Planned Parenthood in Hayward, 1032 A St.

Also on Saturday, a rally is planned at 10 a.m., at San Jose City Hall, at 200 E. Santa Clara St.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez will be joined by Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, San Jose City Councilwoman Dev Davis, San Jose City Councilman Raul Peralez and other council members.

The Santa Clara supervisors recently approved allocating $3 million to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, anticipating an increase in women both in the county and from other states seeking abortions.

The court's decision "strips Americans of their basic freedom and endangers the health and safety of millions," Congressman Ro Khanna said Friday.

"It hits low-income women, women of color, and women living in rural areas particularly hard," Khanna said. "It defies not only 50 years of legal precedent, but also the will of the American people.

Khanna, a Democrat from San Jose, called for ending lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court, ending the filibuster and passing legislation in the U.S. Senate to codify Roe v. Wade.  

In the East Bay, State Sen. Nancy Skinner said the court's decision was an "outrage" that has made the nation unsafe for millions.

"The far-right majority's decision set us back 50 years -- to a time of back-alley abortions and deaths, a time when women lacked the legal and fundamental right to self-determination," said Skinner. "California will not be passive. We will be a national beacon for reproductive justice and guaranteed access to abortion, not just for Californians, but for those who seek services and care here."

State Sen. Scott Wiener said Friday was "a dark day in our nation's history" and the court's ruling will have impacts beyond abortion rights.

"This horrific decision -- effectively removing people's agency over whether and when to start or grow a family -- is a disaster for millions across the country," Wiener said. "The ruling is also a major step back to an era when government and religion controlled the most intimate aspects of people's lives. The Court's action will have serious ramifications beyond abortion, particularly for LGBTQ people."

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