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    SF Democratic Clubs, Women’s Healthcare Leaders Decry Leaked SCOTUS Abortion Opinion

    Politico on May 2 revealed a leaked initial draft majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito striking down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., on May 3 confirmed the authenticity of the opinion and announced an investigation into the source of the leak. The opinion has sparked protests, outrage, and tremendous concern.

    Several San Francisco Democratic Clubs issued the following joint statement:

    We are appalled and angered by the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion, authored by Justice Alito, which overturns Roe v. Wade. In his opinion, Justice Alito denigrates Roe v. Wade, failing to recognize the power granted by the Constitution to protect the fundamental right to privacy of pregnant people under the 14th Amendment, on which Roe v. Wade is based. We wholeheartedly, as we have in the past, condemn cruel and backward positions on basic human rights. An individual’s right to choose to have a safe, medically sound abortion allows them to have autonomy over their own body; it protects their right to privacy; it leaves personal medical decisions to individuals, their families and their doctors.

    The draft writes that the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment must be “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition,” stating that “abortion does not fall within this category … [as] such a right was entirely unknown in American law.” Aside from the fact that the statement ignores that abortions have been a common practice across the existence of the human race, such language goes far beyond reproductive rights but jeopardizes the 14th Amendment rights for every single person in the United States. This decision will have wide rippling effects that we cannot fathom. The Supreme Court’s position reflects a movement of subverting people’s individual rights, undermining work and voices of advocates, and eliminating the progress we have desperately fought for.

    Healthcare is a human right, and access to reproductive services, including abortion, are cornerstone of a person’s autonomy. Limited access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, is already far too difficult, particularly for members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, those without the financial means to secure care, and other marginalized communities. This decision will exacerbate the challenges low income and at-risk individuals face when seeking routine medical care. As the former President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Faye Wattleton, stated: “Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.”

    The draft opinion undermines the value of precedent and poses an extreme danger to individual freedoms beyond reproductive rights. If, as it stated, the only rights we are entitled to are those specifically stated within the Constitution, then many more marginalized communities and their rights are in peril. We are on the precipice of a dangerous era if there is not a concerted effort by organizations, Congressmembers, and individuals to assert and reclaim the right of access to abortion care and prevent the criminalization of those procuring and assisting in abortion access.

    We are grateful to be in a state that believes in protecting the right to abortion and ensuring our right to make choices about our own bodies and healthcare. We know that is not the case in many states, and we will support organizations and efforts across the United States to ensure access to quality healthcare and medically sound abortions. We will be at the frontlines of this fight.

    We urge community members to contact their Senators and Congressmembers to demand their support for the Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755). We also ask that those who can donate to abortion providers and pro-choice advocacy groups that continue to provide immediate help to people seeking care.

    Signatories:

    San Francisco Women’s Political Committee (SFWPC)
    Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club
    Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club
    District 2 Democratic Club
    Bernal Heights Democratic Club
    Rose Pak Democratic Club 白蘭民主黨協會
    San Francisco Young Democrats
    South West Asian North African Democratic Club
    San Francisco Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club
    Willie B. Kennedy Democratic Club
    San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club
    United Democratic Club
    Noe Valley Democratic Club
    Edwin M. Lee Asian Pacific Democratic Club
    San Francisco District 11 Democratic Club
    Women’s March San Francisco
    San Francisco Berniecrats

    The leak happened just days before National Women’s Health Week, May 8–15. The San Francisco Bay Times had already been preparing coverage concerning women’s healthcare leaders, and particularly UCSF’s Nancy Milliken, MD. She and a colleague shared the following words with us upon learning of Alito’s initial draft majority opinion:

    Nancy Milliken, MD

    Founding Director, UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

    Today is a dark day for U.S. women as their reproductive control and bodily autonomy is greatly diminished, if the leaked draft SCOTUS opinion becomes final. Reproductive control is foundational to women’s educational and economic success and stability as well as their wellbeing and that of their families.

    It is astonishing and heartbreaking that we face today the same fight for reproductive rights that defined my entrance into a career advocating for comprehensive health care for women.

    We are and must turn our attention to making California a safe haven for women everywhere.

    Katherine Brown, MD, MAS

    UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences

    If the leaked draft SCOTUS opinion becomes final, I am gravely concerned by the further desecration of human rights in this country. With this decision people will be forced to travel hundreds of miles to receive care outside of their communities or be forced to continue pregnancies. This is not only an affront to human rights, but also morally compromises physicians who would be blocked from providing evidence-based care to their patients.

    Published on May 5, 2022