With abortion right ‘on the ballot’, Senator Alex Padilla finds audience in LA – Whittier Daily News

sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, joined a chorus of abortion rights advocates, leaders and workers in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29, to defend a “fundamental right” he believes must be protected in the wake of the U.S. ruling. of last month’s Supreme Court quashes the historic case that once established that right.

“In California, we believe that access to abortion is a fundamental right,” said Padilla, who was joined by Sue Dunlap, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and Celinda Vasquez, Chief External Officer of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

Padilla toured the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood Headquarters on 30th Street meeting lawyers, employees and volunteers. But it was a walkthrough that came amid the aftermath of the historic Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decisions and the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions. 1992 destroyed.

Roe and Casey had upheld the right to abortion, protected by the US Constitution. But in Dobbs, the Court left the decision on the legality of abortion to individual state lawmakers, breaking nearly 50 years of what many believed to be settled law.

But Padilla, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — charged with whether or not to promote nominees to the federal bench — reiterated a major backlash at the decision.

“The right to abortion and the right to reproductive care should not depend on the state you live in,” he said. “Your rights, your access, must not end at the state line. It shouldn’t depend on your income level, what kind of transportation you have or don’t have, whether you can take time off from work or not.”

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla holds a press conference with Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, to discuss efforts to protect essential reproductive health care and abortion rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision at Planned Parenthood's Los Angeles headquarters. Angeles on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla holds a press conference with Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, to discuss efforts to protect essential reproductive health care and abortion rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision at Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles headquarters. Angeles on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Since the June 24 Dobbs decision, 12 GOP-majority states have enacted near-total or six-week abortion bans. According to the Associated Press, eventually half of US states are expected to ban or severely restrict the procedure.

The court’s conservative majority decision prompted about a dozen states to halt or severely restrict abortions within days. Ultimately, half of US states are expected to ban or severely restrict the procedure.

It has also led to significant changes in other types of medical care, with some doctors rejecting immediate treatment for serious health problems related to reproductive care for fear of violating strict abortion bans.

Despite this, on June 24, Governor Gavin Newsom reaffirmed the right to abortion in California by signing AB 1666, which protects California residents from civil liability for “giving, assisting, or receiving” abortions or reproductive care in the state. Abortion is legal in California until viability, generally considered to be around 24 weeks.

However, abortion rights activists have criticized Congressional Democrats for failing to enshrine the right to abortion in federal law when given the opportunity during the Clinton and Obama presidencies.

President Joe Biden has said he alone cannot restore access to abortion across the country. He has called on voters to elect a sufficient number of Democrats to Congress this fall who could then vote to codify Roe v. Wade’s rights. But his administration has come under significant pressure from advocacy groups to use its executive powers, including declaring a public health emergency for abortion.

That didn’t stop local leaders from encouraging Padilla to defend reproductive rights.

“I am so grateful to Senator Padilla for his leadership as an elected official, even at this time when we see laws across this country that are nothing short of cruel,” said Dunlap, who was named CEO of Planned Parenthood in 2014. “This is a terrible moment in our history. It’s a pivotal moment when it comes to those experiencing pregnancy and reproductive health care, and frankly, we all are in one way or another. And at the same time, I’m so grateful for those who show up and be in this fight until we not only regain Roe v. Wade’s protection, but we build on that and do more for all the communities we serve.”

Padilla is a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which guarantees the right to access abortion services in the United States. He also introduced the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022, which prohibits states with an abortion ban from restricting travel for the purpose of receiving abortion services.

Some Congressional Republicans are pushing for a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks through a reinstatement of “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which currently enacts a 20-week ban on abortion.

And despite polls showing a majority of Americans support a federal right, many of the top Republicans have eagerly voted in the fight against abortion rights, seeing Roe’s overthrow as a promise they kept to voters.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell even suggested before the Supreme Court ruling that a future nationwide ban was “possible.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence said after the statement that “we must not rest and not give in until the sanctity of life is restored in every state in the country at the center of American law.”

The aftermath of Dobbs has therefore become a pivotal point towards the ballot box in November. On Friday it became clear that Padilla wanted to mobilize voters on the issue.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla holds a press conference with Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, right, and Celinda Vazquez, chief external affairs officer, to discuss efforts to protect essential reproductive health care and abortion rights in the wake of the Dobb's decision at the Planned Parenthood headquarters in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla holds a press conference with Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, right, and Celinda Vazquez, chief external affairs officer, to discuss efforts to protect essential reproductive health care and abortion rights in the wake of the Dobb’s decision at the Planned Parenthood headquarters in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Speaking on Friday about the disillusionment some may feel at the polls this November, reminding voters that “every election matters,” pointing out that the majority determines which judges are nominated and confirmed by judicial bodies.

“I encourage every American to make their voices heard, not just through legislative advocacy, not just at marches and rallies, which are important, but especially at the ballot box to ensure that this generation of women and future generations of women are not have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” says Padilla.

Dunlop repeated Padilla.

“Roe v. Wade is on the ballot whether you vote for that literally or not, you vote for democracy and you vote for freedom,” Dunlap said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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