LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilwomen Nithya Raman and Monica Rodriguez called today for legislation to codify the right to safe abortion in the United States or California in light of news that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion-rights decision Roe v. Wade.
``We are witnessing an unequivocal attack on a fundamental human right, setting us back decades,'' Raman said. ``What's more is we know exactly who this decision will hurt the most -- marginalized groups who already face significant barriers accessing abortion care, and in particular low-income women of color. We will not sit idly by.''
The council members called for state or federal legislation in a resolution introduced Wednesday. If passed, it would formalize the city's support for any proposed legislation that would codify the right to safe abortion into law and urge the state and federal governments to take immediate action to pass the legislation.
``We all know it's not the wealthy or the well-connected who are going to be bearing the brunt of this decision," Martinez said. ``It's the women who can't afford to take a day off from work and travel to another state for an abortion.'' The resolution states that 23,000 women worldwide die from unsafe abortions each year, citing data from the World Health Organization. It also cites research from the University of Colorado, Boulder that a nationwide abortion ban would lead to a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths and a 33% increase in the pregnancy-related deaths among Black women.
``We cannot sit on the sidelines to see what freedoms are redacted next. We must fight and we must persist,'' said Rodriguez. Last month, Martinez introduced a motion aimed at preparing the city for a possible influx of people from other states seeking abortions in California. That motion, if passed by the City Council, would direct the chief legislative analyst to coordinate the city's response with the Los Angeles County departments of Health Services and Public Health. The CLA would identify how the city could respond to a possible increase in demand for abortions in Los Angeles in the event that other areas of the country ban abortions or enact more strict measures against them. Martinez's office cited a study from the Guttmacher Institute that said California is likely to experience a 3,000% increase -- from 46,000 to 1.4 million -- of women of reproductive age whose closest abortion provider is California.
``If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women in 26 states across the country will immediately lose the say in what happens to their body. We have to keep fighting and pushing back until a woman's right to choose is codified into law, but until then, our city is open to anyone who cannot access safe abortions at home,'' Martinez reiterated on Wednesday.