Several dozen people joined together in Livermore and Dublin on Tuesday in a show of support for protecting access to safe and legal abortions in the wake of a Politico report that made waves nationally the night before in citing a draft opinion from U.S. Supreme Court signaling a potential reversal of rights from Roe v. Wade.
Council members, local leaders and community members shared reactions and personal stories during comments at the separate rallies while others held signs with messages to reinforce reproductive rights, organizers said.
"The Supreme Court is no longer an institution we can count on to expand constitutional rights," Kyoko Takayama, of Livermore Indivisible, said afterward in recapping their event. "Their goal now is to roll back and restrict the rights we've all fought so hard for. This opinion signals the Republican Supreme Court's intention to overturn marriage equality, end access to contraception, gut protections for people of color, and more."
The "Bans Off Our Bodies" gathering at Stockmen's Park in downtown Livermore featured female speakers sharing stories of surviving an illegal abortion, traveling to other states to seek an abortion before the original Roe decision and choosing to continue pregnancies, Takayama said.
In Dublin, people met in front of the Dublin Civic Center on Tuesday afternoon and heard a lot of friendly honks from commuters driving by, according to Kate Duggan.
"Local elected leaders and Abortion Rights supporters (rallied) to defend abortion rights and women's healthcare rights, and demand elected officials take action before 50-year settled law is overturned," Duggan said, adding that a focus was also on "the importance of saving Roe and access to safe and legal abortion for all who need it."
The issue of abortion protection and reproductive rights was cast into the national spotlight on Monday evening when Politico published a report after obtaining a leaked copy of a draft opinion authored by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito appearing to indicate a majority decision in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. A final opinion has not been officially released thus far.
Tri-Valley Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Reproductive Health, reacting to the news report that night.
"The moment we have feared for years is here," Bauer-Kahan said, adding:
"As the Supreme Court appears ready to end the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies and their freedom to choose, we are ready to do whatever it takes to protect access to abortion and women's health care in California. Not only will we continue to work relentlessly to safeguard the right to a safe and legal abortion in California, but we will ensure that California is a place that women from every state can continue to exercise their reproductive freedoms in a safe environment."