Roe v wade

California, San Diego Leaders Respond to Possible Roe v. Wade Overturn

Roe v. Wade was a landmark 1973 ruling that stopped state governments from banning abortion

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From outrage on one side and applause on the other, the debate over abortion rights came to a head in the United States after Politico reported a leaked draft opinion that would overturn longstanding abortion rights protections.

The 98-page draft opinion suggested the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the draft was indeed from the court but said it does not represent a final decision. Chief Justice John Roberts condemned the leak and vowed an investigation.

In San Diego, hundreds of abortion rights supporters took to the streets downtown to march and rally next to local elected leaders. The group started in front of the federal building and started moving along city streets, at one point stopping traffic on Broadway.

Protestors shouted "my body," and held signs with phrases like "You can only ban safe abortion," and "Abortion is healthcare.

Before the march Congresswoman Sara Jacobs energized the crowd with a plea to fight for their right to abortion access.

"While we knew this was always their goal, seeing in writing how little they respect my body autonomy, it's a gut punch," Rep. Jacobs said.

The crowd marched from the federal building through downtown and made their way to the County Administration building

Scroll down for more reaction from local elected leaders.

A decision to overrule Roe would likely lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other democratic state lawmakers were swift to respond to the report of a possible overturn, saying they would take legislative action to create abortion protections for Californians.

Here's what to know:

What is Roe v. Wade?

Roe v. Wade was a landmark 1973 ruling that stopped state governments from banning abortion. The decision argued that pregnant people have a constitutional right to abortion.

There is also Planned Parenthood v Casey, a 1992 decision that protected abortion services even though it allowed states to add some limitations.

Both decisions have been upheld on several occasions.

A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court, obtained by Politico, shows the court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

How Did We Get Here?

The Supreme Court took up an appeal from Mississippi in which the state is asking to be allowed to ban most abortions at the 15th week of pregnancy.

The state is not asking the court to overrule Roe v. Wade, or later cases that reaffirmed it, but a decision could undermine their earlier abortion rulings.

The leaked draft of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization showed the Supreme Court would side with the state of Mississippi in defense of a law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

According to the draft, the opinion would toss out the precedent set by the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in 1992 by Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

It should be noted that the leaked opinion was a first draft and opinions often change during the editing process. The court was expected to release its official ruling in the case closer to the end of the term in June.

What Would Happen in California if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

NBC 7's Dave Summers spoke to a legal analyst about the leaked Supreme Court opinion draft, and the implications for California and the U.S. if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Abortion rights are protected in the state constitution under a right to privacy, NBC News reported citing data from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

But the issue of abortion access could fall to California voters in the fall. Democratic leaders want to put an amendment on the ballot this November that, if passed, would add abortion protections to the state's constitution.

For that to happen, lawmakers will need to vote on and pass a bill before the end of June to give state officials enough time to print the ballots. It takes a two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. 

“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,” Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said in a joint statement. “Women will remain protected here.”

Speaking in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Newsom angrily condemned the possible ruling and blasted conservative politicians he said are working to strip away reproductive rights.

He got emotional as he urged voters to "wake up" and recognize that basic rights are under attack and insisted that California will remain a "beacon of hope" for women across the country seeking abortions or other reproductive health care that could be barred in other states.

Democrats control the state Legislature and the governor's office.

The California GOP responded with a statement focusing on the leaked draft opinion and criticizing the democratic agenda.

"No SCOTUS ruling in this case will change the laws in our state, but California Democrats are desperate to focus on anything other than their failed one-party rule," the statement read in part.

The California Catholic Diocese also criticized California leaders' announcement to seek abortion protection through legislation.

"This will destroy lives, families and significantly limit the ability of the Catholic Church in California to protect the unborn," the statement read. "This is the moment for the Church and its 12 million Catholics to engage with their communities, actively and publicly oppose this amendment, and fulfill our baptismal responsibility to protect life at every stage, and at every opportunity."

How are San Diego County leaders responding?

In San Diego County -- as is the case across the U.S. -- leaders were split down party lines.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-50) said he was "Proud today — and every day — to stand for life and defend the unborn."

On the draft leak, Issa said it was "the most significant threat to the court" and called for a full investigation.

"The truth is, obstructing a judicial proceeding is a crime, as is the willful intimidation of the Justices. If that is the objective of this leak, it must not succeed. That’s why a full internal review by the Court is absolutely necessary," a statement read.

Rep Sara Jacobs (CA-53) highlighted the personal impact the decision could have as one of the youngest women representatives in Congress.

"As one of the very few women of reproductive age in Congress, I know what a gut punch this decision would be to our freedom to control our own bodies. This is what it looks like when our institutions protect archaic rules above everything else," Jacobs wrote.

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49) criticized the possible Supreme Court decision and called on Congress to "take matters into our own hands" in a lengthy statement that read in part:

"This callous and reckless decision will threaten the lives of women everywhere. As we saw before Roe, women will continue to make their own decisions about their bodies, but many will be forced to do so without safe access to the health care services that they need and deserve."

Levin has co-sponsored a bill to prohibit government restrictions to abortion access.

In response to the possible overturn, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) threw their support behind the bill called the Women's Health Protection Act.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said:

"If tonight’s news reports are accurate, it appears our worst fears about this #SCOTUS may come true, and women will be robbed of the Constitutional right to exercise control over their bodies. If #RoeVWade is overturned, we must do all we can to secure reproductive rights. I will stand with you and fight with everything I have."

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, a democrat, called the potential outcome "regressive" and vowed to "continue to fight for a woman’s right to choose what they do with their body.”

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