Date: May 17, 2021
Contact: Jennifer Wonnacott, [email protected]
SACRAMENTO – Jodi Hicks, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court announcing it will review Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and nearly 50 years of precedent since that landmark decision. This is the first direct challenge to Roe v. Wade the court will hear since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation:
“The threat to fundamental rights before the newly comprised and conservative Supreme Court is very real. By taking this case, the court will be reviewing nearly 50 years of precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion. In a country where your ability to access abortion already depends on your income and ZIP code, the court’s decision could even further decimate access.
“While California law protects the right to abortion, and Planned Parenthood in California is fortunate to have a Governor and State Legislature committed to expanding—not banning—access to abortion, access to abortion should not depend on where you live. As the biggest threat to Roe looms ahead of us, it highlights the need to acknowledge that the legal right to abortion isn’t enough. We must expand equitable access to health care so that reproductive freedom and health equity is a reality for every person.
“Even in California, where the right to abortion is protected, abortion access is out of reach for many because of centuries of underinvestment and the systemic inequities within our health care system. Now is the time to prioritize access to health care, to overturn policies that are discriminatory, and to invest in the very public health care providers that California’s communities rely on for high-quality, affordable care, including abortion care.
“Abortion is health care, and Planned Parenthood affiliates in California join the millions of supporters and patients across the country in continuing to fight to ensure abortion access is protected and every person who needs access to abortion can get the care they need, no matter what.”
The Mississippi law is currently blocked, with both a federal district court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recognizing it is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court allows the Mississippi 15-week ban to take effect, many other states are at risk, including Louisiana, where a similar ban is on hold. With 16 other abortion-related cases just one step away from the Supreme Court and 25 million women of reproductive age at risk of losing abortion access if Roe is overturned, the protections guaranteed under Roe v. Wade are in jeopardy like never before.
The California constitution has an explicit right to privacy that forms the foundation of the right to access to abortion services in California. This attack on Roe v. Wade means that states would have the right to completely ban abortion - while California has very supportive abortion access laws and would continue to be protected under the state constitution, a decision to overturn Roe could impact access to abortion in California. We must also consider the state’s role in serving people who live in states where abortion may be outlawed or severely restricted.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of reproductive and preventive health care, family planning and comprehensive sexual health education.