We had other things we wanted to discuss this week, but then on Monday, Politico published a leaked first draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. That would be a political earthquake like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetimes, so we wanted to get to that first.
The right wing majority on the Supreme Court has never made any secret of its intention to overturn Roe v. Wade and revoke the federally protected right to abortion. But the details of the draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, were shocking. It wouldn’t just return the country to the pre-1973 situation in which each individual state could restrict or outlaw abortion in any way. It wouldn’t just open the door for a Republican-controlled Congress to pass a law outlawing abortions nationwide, either. It would yank away the right to bodily autonomy from anyone capable of getting pregnant, and justify that with the argument that those rights aren’t in the Constitution and haven’t existed long enough to be “deeply rooted” in the American tradition.
We can’t be more clear about this: this is a hair-on-fire emergency. For one thing, throwing the issue of abortion back to the states will cause profound damage to people across the country, especially in the 26 states that will ban abortion immediately or very soon after Roe is overturned. We know from UCSF’s landmark Turnaway Study that denying someone an abortion leads to years of measurable and lasting health and financial harm for them and their families.
And this decision also has much broader ramifications. SCOTUS has only rarely overturned established precedent, and it has never before revoked a constitutional right. Now the right-wing Justices are making it clear that they’re willing to do both, and that they consider any right not explicitly set out in the Constitution to be illegitimate. That endangers every ruling based on the right to privacy, as Roe was – rulings that granted the right to marriage equality, contraception, non-reproductive sex, and even interracial marriage – and could arguably be extended to other rights as well.
The draft decision leaked to Politico is not yet published opinion; the court is expected to release its decision in late June or early July. For now, Roe v. Wade stands and abortion remains legal (at least on paper) in all 50 states. That means we’ve got a little time to raise hell to fend off a civil rights catastrophe.
We can start by demanding that the Senate use any means necessary to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, including ending or amending the filibuster in order to pass legislation with a simple majority of 50 votes. President Biden has been reticent on ending the filibuster to pass the WHPA, but his campaign promised to codify the protections in Roe, and we need to hold him to that promise.
Contact President Biden and your Members of Congress and demand that they codify abortion rights now.
But we must take other forms of action, too. We have to vote (and get out the vote) in the midterms for candidates who support reproductive justice and bodily autonomy. We have to demand that our elected officials speak out loudly and repeatedly. We have to work with organizations that support people in need of abortion care. And we have to actively protest and participate in civil disobedience.
Get started here: https://bit.ly/AbortionFundsTwitter
If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Our next meeting is on Thursday, May 5. Details on how to register below.
ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, May 5, 7:30–9 PM.Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.
Save the Date: Moral Monday March on LA Watch Party hosted by Indivisible East Bay: May 16, 5–7 PM.
Watch Rev. Barber, Rev. Theoharis, and California justice leaders speak and rally in Los Angeles!
Support the Poor People’s Campaign in its drive toward the Moral March on Washington and to the Polls!
Talk about Bay Area progressive activism: challenges, triumphs, theories of change, and your moral vision! Save the date for an RSVP link coming soon!
Wednesdays and Saturdays: Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Our friends at Swing Left need your help talking to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left and the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up for a shift:
- TODAY, Wednesday, May 4, 5 PM–7 PM
- Saturday, May 7, 10AM–12 PM
- Wednesday, May 11, 5 PM–7 PM
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