By Griffin Ruebner and Cole Ruebner, Head Section Editor and Staff Writer
// Americans woke up to the news on June 24 that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) voted 5-4 in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court case that determined the restriction of abortion rights in America to be unconstitutional.
Reactions to the ruling continue to sweep across the nation. While many Americans have celebrated the overturning, others have taken part in mass protests and demonstrations condemning the decision.
Ever since the determination of Roe v. Wade almost 50 years ago, Pro-Life groups have passionately protested the ruling. The Supreme Court, now with a conservative justice supermajority, reviewed Roe v. Wade and conclude that there is no constitutional language that protects abortion.
After the ruling, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Louisiana completely banned abortion. These states had “trigger laws” that enacted abortion bans immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision. A total of 16 states have now followed, banning or restricting abortion rights in some capacity.
California Governor Gavin Newsom responded to the ruling by signing Assembly Bill 1666, which protects the rights of abortion services providers and their patients in the state.
“This legislation seeks to protect women and care providers from civil liability imposed by other states … California will continue to be a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive health care services in our state,” Newsom said in a press conference on June 24.
While California’s government does not plan to restrict abortion rights statewide, the overturning of Roe v. Wade still impacts the state’s citizens.
“We are lucky enough to live in a state that … [is] set in keeping abortion legal, so I am thankful for that, but that does not change the fact that all women, even those in California, and even those in Lafayette, have lost a very important national right. I think a lot of women are feeling pretty powerless right now, and I don’t think that changes just because we are in Lafayette,” Co-President of the Feminism Club and senior Sophia Acuff said.
Many government officials in California have expressed their dissent in regard to the ruling. Leading officials in Oakland passed a resolution on May 17 that made the city a pro-choice sanctuary city in anticipation of the ruling.
“The passage of this resolution makes Oakland the first city in California to declare itself a Sanctuary City for Abortion Access … healthcare is a human right, and the city of Oakland stands firmly behind anyone exercising their right to reproductive care,” City Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao said in a press conference on May 17.
The resolution affirms Oakland’s commitment to reproductive rights and highlights it as a safe space for those seeking abortion care. The city hopes that their actions will inspire other areas to follow in their footsteps.
“I am proud to co-author this effort, and committed to working with my colleagues and urging other jurisdictions not only to protect abortion access, but to significantly expand the inclusiveness, capacity, and quality of reproductive health services for all who need them in our community,” City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas said at the conference.
Many members of the Acalanes and Lafayette community have attended local protests of the SCOTUS decision. Bay Area demonstrations have taken place in San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Hayward, San Jose, and many other locations. One organization, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, has led protests in the area and across the nation since its founding in January of 2022.
“The first action we did was at the Supreme Court on January 22, which is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and then maybe there were 15 or 20 people there … the next one we went back to Saint Patrick’s [Cathedral] … maybe there were 50 people there. So we kept doing these actions and pulling attention, and little by little this was being picked up, until we got a lot of people looking at this,” co-founder of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Merle Hoffman said.
While some organizations saw protests as futile, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights formed to fight back against the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“There was a group of people, pro-choice organizations, who were saying … ‘you can’t stop the Supreme Court from doing what they’re doing.’ Well, maybe we can’t stop it, but we can bring attention to the country, and maybe people will come out and not just roll over … now you see that [protests are] really all over the country since the decision came down, and people are really very enraged … I do hope that this will grow and grow,” Hoffman said.
Many large national corporations have committed to aiding their employees in gaining access to safe abortions. For instance, Starbucks has offered employees enrolled in their healthcare program a medical travel reimbursement benefit to get an abortion if there is no legal abortion clinic within 100 miles of their home.
“I’m really relieved to hear that Starbucks is supporting its employees who don’t have access to abortions, and I’m glad that they’re including it for dependents and [for] gender affirming procedures … I feel like it is the bare minimum large companies can do right now,” Starbucks employee and Las Lomas High School senior Isabelle Kim-Brown said.
Similarly, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that they will provide up to 4,000 dollars of funding for employees or partners of employees in need of abortions to travel to a state where abortion is legal.
“While we do not know what decision each state will make in response to this ruling, we at Dick’s Sporting Goods are prepared to ensure that all teammates have consistent and safe access to the benefits we provide, regardless of the state in which you live,” Dick’s company chair Ed Stack and president and CEO Lauren Hobart wrote in a press release on June 24.
SCOTUS’s ruling sent shockwaves through the Acalanes community, and many students expressed their feelings on social media. Some Acalanes students have donated to fundraisers or spread information about organizations protecting abortion rights in America. One such organization raising money is Planned Parenthood, which has a location in Walnut Creek.
“I support Planned Parenthood, as they are the main contributor to getting people the help they need. They are working to improve their services and are doing a lot to help the community, so it is important to give them any support we can lend,” senior Elsa Simas said.
Many students felt upset after the Supreme Court’s ruling became official.
“I’m not sure I will ever be able to describe the feeling I had when I found out my rights over my own body had been stripped away … I am angry that I, along with all the women in this country, have had [my] rights stolen, and that men seem to have more control over our bodies than we do,” Acuff said.
While the Supreme Court did overturn Roe v. Wade, some students look to the future and hope for legislation that will once again protect abortion rights in America.
“I hope that people are motivated enough to vote to elect people who will fight to restore the right to reproductive healthcare for all,” co-president of the Feminism Club and senior Sofie Foster said.
As long as Roe v. Wade remains overturned, protestors and activists will continue to fight for their beliefs.
“I don’t tell everybody to get out in the streets, because some people can’t … but whatever way someone feels able, they should get involved … I would just ask everyone who has ever had an abortion, or knows someone who has, come out of that closet and just be open and be strong and be talking about this,” Hoffman said.
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