Roe v. Wade has been settled law for nearly half a century, but as a wave of conservative lawmakers in states like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio pass bills heavily restricting or outright outlawing the medical procedure of abortion, California lawmakers and other public figures are sounding the alarm.
On Tuesday, Alabama lawmakers approved a bill criminalizing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and punishing doctors who perform it with up to 99 years in prison.
The bill drew consternation from Alabama’s Democratic senator, Doug Jones, who tweeted that “I refuse to believe that these Republican men represent the views of most Alabamians.”
Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce noted on Twitter that there are just three women in Alabama’s 34-seat Senate.
“Not only is this bill a direct assault on personal privacy, it is a calculated strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill passed with the support of 25 male legislators. This is horrifying,” Kimberly Ellis, candidate for chair of the California Democratic Party, wrote in an email statement. “I call on all California elected officials to recommit themselves to this fight and stand proudly as defenders of women’s reproductive health.”
By Wednesday morning, it was clear that many California lawmakers answered that call, starting all the way at the top.
“The same party that refuses to regulate assault weapons will champion the regulation of women’s bodies and take away reproductive freedom. Be outraged,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted.
Newsom was joined in his condemnation by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“There is no more fundamental WOMEN’S RIGHT than control over our bodies; the power to make our own reproductive choices,” Kounalakis tweeted.
“We in California will continue to fight for women’s reproductive freedom — because it’s Her body. Her choice. Period,” Becerra wrote.
While California would likely continue to protect a woman’s right to choose, the Supreme Court and Congress could target groups such as Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions along with a variety of other medical services for both women and men.
Here’s how the Supreme Court could affect the right to get an abortion in California.
Members of California’s congressional delegation, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and progressive up-and-comer Rep. Ro Khanna, also roundly condemned the bill.
Feinstein called on Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey to veto the bill.
“I remember what it was like before Roe v. Wade,” Feinstein tweeted. “Women were forced to go to extraordinary measures when their health and lives were at risk.”
Harris pointed out that it isn’t just Alabama; Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio all have passed heavily restrictive anti-abortion laws.
“I’m sick and tired of this outright assault on women’s bodily autonomy — we will fight this with everything we’ve got,” she tweeted.
“While the 25 male lawmakers who voted in favor of this bill may not realize the gravity of their decisions, I do: the stakes are high, and we must fight for reproductive rights,” Khanna tweeted.
It wasn’t just lawmakers who spoke out against the Alabama bill on Wednesday.
“Don’t move forward after reading this like everything is normal. Don’t shake your head at Alabama and then keep going about your day. Realize that this is a warning,” tweeted filmmaker Ava Duvernay, one of several celebrities to weigh in on the bill.
Actor Alyssa Milano, who has called for a national sex strike to protest the wave of anti-abortion laws, condemned media coverage of bills like that passed in Ohio, which outlaws abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
California Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, were silent on the issue. McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
If Ivey signs the Alabama bill into law, it will likely be challenged in court, with the potential of ending up before the conservative-tilted U.S. Supreme Court. Such a court could strike down Roe v. Wade, making it once again up to the states.