LA City Council President Nury Martinez introduced a motion directing the City to begin planning for a potential influx of women seeking reproductive care if lower court's ruling is reversed City Council President Nury Martinez introduced a motion today in support of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and asking the City to begin preparing for an influx of women seeking reproductive care ahead of the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic ruling.
"A woman’s right to an abortion is crucial to our fight for equality in America," said Council President Martinez. "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 today, our City has reaffirmed that Los Angeles stands with and for women."
For decades, women fought to gain control over their own bodies and in 1973, the Supreme Court affirmed their ability to choose without excessive government regulation in their Roe v. Wade decision.
However, in December 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic, which centers on Mississippi's 2018 "Gestational Age Act" prohibiting abortions after the fifteenth week, before the fetus becomes viable. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the state of Mississippi, the landmark Roe v. Wade decision would be considered overturned.
"Abortion rights are under attack across the country at a level we have not seen since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973," said Celinda M. Vázquez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County (PPAP). "As of today, 26 states are poised to severely restrict or outright ban abortions should Roe be overturned in June. Banning abortion does not decrease the need for them, and it is imperative that Los Angeles positions itself as a leader and a safe haven in the reproductive justice movement. We applaud Council President Nury Martinez and the City of Los Angeles for taking this important step to protect abortion access in our community and country."
According to a report by Planned Parenthood, people in over half of the states in the country –over 36 million women and other people who may become pregnant– will lose access to abortion care.
Projections by the Guttmacher Institute indicate that California is likely to see an increase of 46,000 to 1.4 million women of reproductive age (15-49) whose nearest provider would be in California– that is about a 3,000% increase.
"Women in the United States have fought for decades to gain, and maintain, control over their reproductive rights," said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who seconded the motion. "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."
The motion directs the City Attorney to file an amicus brief in support of the Jackson Women’s Health Clinic’s position and the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic.
The motion also looks to identify ways the City could respond to the possible increase in demand, including at the City’s transportation hubs (LAX, Union Station, etc.) by directing the Chief Legislative Analyst to coordinate the City’s response with the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health.