Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday blasted a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would overturn federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade and urged Americans to “wake up.”
“It’s just a remarkable moment in American history,” Newsom said, during an appearance in Los Angeles. “At a time when countries around the world are expanding liberties, expanding freedoms, expanding rights, here we are in the United States of America about to roll back rights.”
At a news conference at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Newsom stressed that access to reproductive health is legal in the state and that California should stand as a “beacon of hope” to residents of other states.
Earlier this week, Newsom and legislative leaders announced that they will ask voters in November to place permanent protections for abortion in the California Constitution.
“We are not going to be defeated, certainly not here in the state of California,” said Newsom, standing in front of two dozen Planned Parenthood workers who held signs that read, “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and “Bans off our bodies.”
“We’re not going to roll over, we will not back down and we will continue to fill in the gaps and address the disparities that continue to persist, even in a state like ours,” he said. As other states restrict access to abortions, “California will do its best to provide for as many people as we can.”
Sue Dunlap, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, said the organization is working with a variety of partners across the state, in anticipation of “substantially more people coming to California and to Los Angeles.”
“Our doors will stay open,” she said. “We will do our damndest to take care of every woman who turns to Planned Parenthood and all the other incredible healthcare providers across the state, and we will lift up the values of liberty and freedom, knowing that we will not be defeated in this moment or in the long term.”
Earlier this week, Politico obtained a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that seemed to signal the court was poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide. There was an immediate uproar across the country. In L.A., protesters took to the streets Tuesday night.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. confirmed the draft’s authenticity in a statement Tuesday, adding that the document did not “represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case” and that he had ordered an investigation into how the draft got into the hands of reporters at Politico.
Most legal and political analysts believe the court will follow through on overturning Roe vs. Wade, a move that has been predicted since former President Trump appointed three justices from a list of nominees compiled by the conservative Federalist Society.
Even so, the unprecedented nature of the leaked opinion had political parties plotting responses and the court facing uncomfortable questions about its ability to remain above partisan politics.
In L.A., Newsom warned that the roll back of federal abortion protections could be just the start.
“This Supreme Court is poised to roll back constitutionally protected rights and don’t think for a second this is where they stop,” he said. “You think for a second that same sex marriage is safe in the United States of America?”
“Wake up, America. Wake up to who you’re electing,” he added. “I hope people hold these elected officials to account, and I hope they consider the positions of those they are supporting or opposing in this election.”
Celinda Vazquez, chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood LA, called this “a devastating week for reproductive healthcare and justice and abortion rights across our country,” but stressed that they would continue to care for hundreds of thousands of patients every day.
“We will not be defeated by any decision,” she said, “and we here in Los Angeles and across the state will not back down.”