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Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade, And LA Reacts

In a 6-3 vote the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday.

The decision ends the constitutional right to abortion that was established nearly 50 years ago.

We followed local reactions and protests throughout the day. Check out the links below for more context on what this decision means for California:

A stream of people walk down the middle of a street. A woman in the foreground in a black tanktop and wearing a pink surgical mask holds a cardboard sign that reads "We Won't Go Back." On the sign is a drawing of a coat hanger.
Protesters march in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
VIDEO: Protesters March On 110 Freeway, Square Off With Police
Posted June 24, 2022 at 7:41 PM

As a day of protests stretched into the evening, some protesters made it onto the 110 and 101 freeways in downtown L.A. The LAPD tweeted about one group that made it onto the 110.

Our freelance photographer, Brian Feinzimer, captured video shortly after of officers squaring off against another group. Officers made contact with the protesters, attempting to push them back from the freeway entrance.

SCOTUS ABORTION PROTEST - Contact between police and protesters
SCOTUS ABORTION PROTEST - Police Push Protesters Back From Freeway

Minutes later, the protesters broke through and streamed onto the 101 Freeway.

Feinzimer has been live-tweeting. You can follow his updates at @bfeinzimer.

Attorney Gloria Allred: SCOTUS Decision Is 'Mandatory Motherhood'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 2:51 PM
Gloria Allred from the shoulders up as she walks by other people. She has a bag and coat in her hands.
Attorney Gloria Allred leaves a criminal court in New York on January 24, 2020.
(Jeenah Moon
Getty Images)

Attorney Gloria Allred sees the Roe v. Wade decision as "horrific."

The Allred, Maroko & Goldberg partner, who spoke to our newsroom in an interview, has for decades represented people in high-profile women's rights cases.

For patients seeking an abortion, the reality in many states is "mandatory motherhood," she said.

It's just disturbing that in many states because Roe v. Wade is now no longer the law of the land after 50 years that, you know, that a fertilized egg will have more rights than an adult woman.
— Gloria Allred

Allred shared her own harrowing story of getting an illegal abortion in California before Roe v. Wade:

It was illegal for anyone to assist a woman with an abortion. It was not illegal for a woman to have an abortion, but that meant that doctors and nurses could not provide it and had to find some stranger who would do it for profit. And I was left hemorrhaging in a bathtub in a pool of my own blood, and nearly died, and had to be taken to the hospital and be packed in ice. Fortunately, my life was saved. But many millions of women died from illegal and unsafe abortions before Roe v. Wade, so I was very happy in 1973 when the Court found that a woman has a constitutional right to a legal, safe abortion — at least at certain stages of her pregnancy. Now that right is gone.

LA Takes To The Streets For Roe V. Wade
Posted June 24, 2022 at 2:47 PM
Abortion-rights activists holding signs outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022. Protesters gathered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

While abortion access remains protected in California, Angelenos are taking a stand by protesting at the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

The local chapter of Rise Up for Abortion Rights organized the gathering, which started at noon on Friday — hours after the Supreme Court's decision was released.

The organization is calling on people to "bring the gears of society to a grinding halt through mass nonviolent resistance."

An abortion-rights activist holds a highlighter green poster board that reads "I have fewer rights than a gun" outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022. Protesters gathered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
An Abortion-rights activist wearing a hat a baseball cap and sunglasses holds a red, white and black sign that says "This is a war on women" outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022. Protesters gathered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
An abortion-rights activist wearing a green tank top, a black mask, a blue bandana and white sunglasses speaks on a microphone outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, CA.
An abortion-rights activist speaks outside the United Sates Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2022. Protesters gathered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark court decision Roe v. Wade earlier in the morning.
(Brian Feinzimer For LAist)

Another protest got underway at Pershing Square later in the day. By 7 p.m., people were marching.

LA Takes To The Streets After Roe V. Wade Struck Down

Newsom Signs New Abortion Protections, Says He's 'Pissed,' 'Resolved And Angry'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 2:16 PM

Gov. Newsom held a press conference Friday afternoon where he signed into law new abortion rights protections, including protections from civil liability for Californians who receive, provide, or aid in abortion care.

Newsom said that it's not realistic for California to pay for travel and other aid for all of the women who may turn to California for abortions following this decision. He added that the state will work to build the capacity for all of the women they expect to come here, but that they don't want to overpromise.

Newsom said that he was "pissed," as well as "resolved and angry" to do more to protect abortion rights. His comments included saying that "women are not as free as men," and "that is pretty damn sick."

Members of the state Legislature joined Newsom. The legislation signed Friday has been moving through the Legislature for several months.

Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, said that she was outraged about Friday's Supreme Court decision. She spoke through tears.

Abortion-Rights Organizers Say 'It's Not Enough To Sit At Home'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 1:50 PM
A group of people hold signs outside for abortion rights that say: "Stop the supreme court from taking away abotion rights."
Abortion-rights supporters gather near the downtown L.A. federal courthouse. on June 24, 2022.
(Kyle Stokes

Becca Waite is a leader of the Los Angeles chapter of Rise Up for Abortion Rights, which organized the protest near the downtown L.A. federal courthouse. She said that while abortion rights are secure for now in California, it’s important for supporters not to become complacent.

"It's not enough to sit at home and silently support and say I'm pro choice," Waite said. "Now is a moment in history where we are at the cusp of a drastic change ... I believe that if we don't stand up and take a state and take to the streets that is only going to get worse."

Why Gay Marriage, Other Legal Precedents Could Face New Challenges
Posted June 24, 2022 at 1:01 PM

Justice Clarence Thomas said the legal rationale for Friday's decision could be applied to overturn other major cases, including those that legalized gay marriage, and wrote, "We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents."

The overturning of Roe v. Wade is raising concerns about the fate of other rights related to sexuality, gender identity, and reproductive health.

UC Davis Law Professor Mary Ziegler weighed in during KPCC's AirTalk.

"People said abortion rights were safe — you know, there's no way this would happen," Ziegler said. "And yet, here we are, two years later. So in two years, who knows what's possible. I think people who are reassuring you that, of course other rights are safe, are being disingenuous."

For those who want to change the structure of the high court, Friday's ruling makes those efforts "more pressing," Ziegler said.

'This Sets Our Country Back Decades' — SoCal US House Rep. Norma Torres
Posted June 24, 2022 at 12:34 PM

U.S. House Rep. Norma Torres (CA-35) — who represents Southern California communities including Chino, Pomona, and Ontario — released a statement calling Friday's Supreme Court opinion "devastating."

"[Six] members of the Supreme Court have concluded that women do not have the right to self-determination and personal autonomy," Torres stated, continuing:

This conservative-majority Court, most of whom are men, has decided they have the authority to control and determine the most important aspects of a woman’s life — their families, their careers, and their futures — since they don’t believe women have a right to make those decisions for themselves. They have decided women are second-class citizens.

The decision will harm the most vulnerable people, Torres said, including women experiencing poverty, Black women, and Latino women.

"This sets our country back decades, reversing so many years of hard-fought progress," Torres stated. "It will harm the health and economic stability of millions of Americans. And it will allow states to launch even more extreme attacks to criminalize the health care decisions of women."

Torres said she vowed to continue the fight in Congress to defend women's rights to fully control their own bodies.

Venice Family Clinic: This Decision Restricts The Rights Of All Americans, Not Just Women
Posted June 24, 2022 at 12:06 PM

Elizabeth Benson Forer, CEO and executive director of the Venice Family Clinic — a community health clinic — released this statement:

"By ending women's and their families' constitutional right to determine if, when and how they will raise their families, this dreadful decision will jeopardize women's lives and health. The court's decision also puts at risk a whole host of other rights, including contraception, same-sex marriage and transgender rights."

'Killing A Baby Is Not A Career Choice' — Boyle Heights Man
Posted June 24, 2022 at 11:56 AM
A man with short gray hair and a gray goatee stands on a corner, staring directly at the viewer. He is wearing a yellow and white plaid shirt and a necklace with a cross and several other medallions that hangs low on his chest.
Thomas Varela saw the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade as a victory.
(Mariana Dale

Thomas Varela of Boyle Heights said he viewed the Supreme Court decision as a victory.

This is not a political issue, and I think that's a real disappointment — that so many young women of the last generation or two have come to believe that this is a political issue that's hindering their future, their career, their career choice. Killing a baby is not a career choice.

Varela is part of a biweekly prayer group that meets outside the Planned Parenthood Pasadena Health Center. He came to his views on abortion after an experience he had in his 20s, he said. He got a woman pregnant, according to Varela, only to be contacted by her husband three days later (he said he knew at the time she was separated, but not that she was married).

"I get the impression that she may have had an abortion, and that's something that's weighed on me all my life," he said. "So through my reconciliation with my Catholic faith, I've come to realize the error of my ways."

He still has "great feelings of remorse, regret, sorrow, and sadness," Varela said.

While he said he understands that individual choices can be difficult, and that people will still seek out abortions, he hoped the Supreme Court decision would make people stop to consider the consequences before they take action.

Evangelical Christian Professor: 'It's Not A Day For A Victory Lap'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 11:55 AM

Friday's Supreme Court decision is "incredibly significant," said Joy Qualls, an associate professor of communication studies at Biola University in La Mirada.

But Qualls added that her colleagues and community at the conservative evangelical Christian school feel that they need to respond with care, compassion, and humility.

It's not a day for a victory lap. But instead, it's a day to respond to those who are hurting over the decision, who feel let down and disappointed, as well as those who are rejoicing in their sense that this is the right thing moving forward.

She was speaking with KPCC's Larry Mantle on our public affairs show AirTalk.

Qualls stressed that abortion is an "incredibly complex topic," including within the evangelical community, and that there's a need for nuance in the discussion.

"Our foundational position is one that comes from a perspective that life is the ultimate ethic for which we have been called," Qualls said. "But we would be remiss to say that subjects like pregnancy, and parenthood, and mothering, and abortion alongside that, [are easy] black-and-white issues. ... There are going to be very difficult decisions that have to be made, and we can't simply say we have to be pro-birth."

Qualls said that there's a need to talk about the complexity of pregnancy, sharing that she had difficult situations with her own pregnancies. She said people need to be willing to talk about the issues pregnant women face, including complex trauma and abuse.

"There's not easy answers that fit into what we want to be our neatly defined political boxes," Qualls said. "Our focus has to be on, what do we do to come alongside our neighbors, so that we can help and aid in their flourishing? That's the priority of the Christian community."

Gov. Newsom Announces 'West Coast Offense' To Protect Abortion Rights
Posted June 24, 2022 at 9:49 AM

The California Governor's office tweeted the following in response to the Supreme Court ruling earlier:

This is not the America we know.

The tweet included a joint video statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, in which they announced a collaborative "West Coast Offense" to protect patients' access to abortion. Watch below:

LA's Archbishop: 'We Share Their Joy'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 9:20 AM

Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley: 'Our Doors Are Open'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 9:20 AM

Juliana Serrano, Vice President of Advocacy and Equity for Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, issued the following statement:

"The Supreme Court has taken away our federal constitutional right to abortion, but I want to make it clear that abortion is and will remain legal in California. At Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, our doors are open today and will remain open to anyone in need of an abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care. We have proudly served our community for nearly 90 years, and we will continue to provide essential health care for years to come."

Congressman Ted Lieu: 'Deeply Distraught'
Posted June 24, 2022 at 9:18 AM

Congressman Ted W. Lieu, (D-Los Angeles County) said this about the ruling in a statement:

I am deeply distraught by today’s Supreme Court decision on abortion. It is, unfortunately, exactly as we feared.

He continued:

"The Republicans’ decades-long war waged in support of forced birth has culminated in this appalling decision. Roe v. Wade was settled law according to the confirmation testimonies of the Justices who just voted to overturn it. These Justices lied to the Senate and the American people to be confirmed. It should come as no surprise that public confidence in the Supreme Court is at its lowest. Conservative justices, who have often decried legislating from the bench, will now impose their radical views on abortion onto the rest of the country.

Ultimately, this is a personal liberties issue. Some religions support abortion, and some religions oppose abortion. Abortion is a complicated and personal decision. That is exactly why it is wrong for the government to unilaterally make a decision that should rest with the woman, her doctor, her God and her family. The criminalization of abortion, which is what Republicans want, is an attack on bodily autonomy and an attack on an individual’s right not to be pregnant.”