News

Congresswomen, speaking in Mountain View, say overturning Roe v. Wade would threaten democracy

'If we think that the erosion of individual liberty is over, think again,' said Rep. Zoe Lofgren

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren speaks about rights at stake following the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion on the future of Roe v. Wade, at a press conference outside City Hall in Mountain View on May 6, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren declared that the Supreme Court going against public opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a threat to democracy and called for the Senate to pass the Women's Health Protection Act at a press conference on Friday outside Mountain View City Hall.

A draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito and backed by a majority of justices threatens to overturn the landmark decision that guarantees Americans a right to abortion. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Lofgren, D-San Jose, invited 14 other women to stand with them as they spoke. They included Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, who also spoke, along with Lauren Babb, the vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Fiona Walters, the president of the Santa Clara County School Boards Association.

Mountain View Mayor Lucas Ramirez stood with the women in a show of support.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo speaks about rights at stake following the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion on the future of Roe v. Wade, at a press conference outside City Hall in Mountain View on May 6, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

"I think when there is a cleavage between the highest court in the land and the people, that confidence can turn to chaos," Eshoo said. "A lack of confidence in our institutions, in our branches of government, is an unraveling of democracy."

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has allocated $3 million in funds for Planned Parenthood as well as $4 million to behavioral health services, in anticipation of people coming to California from states where abortions are banned. Babb said that 80 out-of-state patients have already come to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte after the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, which restricted abortions to the point that they are virtually impossible to obtain.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that California will become a sanctuary state for those seeking an abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Even with California's efforts to codify the right to access abortion services, Lofgren said that there are other impacts of the draft decision that was leaked on Monday night that could affect people.

"If we think that the erosion of individual liberty is over, think again," Lofgren said. "As Anna (Eshoo) has said, the right to privacy underpins a number of court decisions that give liberty to Americans."

Several Supreme Court rulings, such as the right to same-sex marriage, interracial marriage and access to contraception are all based on the right to privacy. Overturning a key case, according to Lofgren, could threaten these other precedents as well.

Eshoo and Lofgren used the event to lobby for the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives in September but has not yet passed the Senate, would make abortion legal in all 50 states and address the limitations placed on abortions in some states. It would also address specific challenges that affect marginalized communities when it comes to reproductive health.

"Justice (Alito) says that the Constitution does not explicitly state privacy or abortion (as rights)," Eshoo said. "Mr. Justice, when the Constitution was first written, women were not even in it."

U.S. Rep Anna Eshooe, right, listen to U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, left, speak about rights at stake following the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion on the future of Roe v. Wade, at a press conference outside City Hall in Mountain View on May 6, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Stay informed on important political news. Sign up for our FREE daily Express newsletter.

Congresswomen, speaking in Mountain View, say overturning Roe v. Wade would threaten democracy

'If we think that the erosion of individual liberty is over, think again,' said Rep. Zoe Lofgren

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, May 6, 2022, 7:55 pm

Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren declared that the Supreme Court going against public opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a threat to democracy and called for the Senate to pass the Women's Health Protection Act at a press conference on Friday outside Mountain View City Hall.

A draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito and backed by a majority of justices threatens to overturn the landmark decision that guarantees Americans a right to abortion. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Lofgren, D-San Jose, invited 14 other women to stand with them as they spoke. They included Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, who also spoke, along with Lauren Babb, the vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Fiona Walters, the president of the Santa Clara County School Boards Association.

Mountain View Mayor Lucas Ramirez stood with the women in a show of support.

"I think when there is a cleavage between the highest court in the land and the people, that confidence can turn to chaos," Eshoo said. "A lack of confidence in our institutions, in our branches of government, is an unraveling of democracy."

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has allocated $3 million in funds for Planned Parenthood as well as $4 million to behavioral health services, in anticipation of people coming to California from states where abortions are banned. Babb said that 80 out-of-state patients have already come to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte after the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, which restricted abortions to the point that they are virtually impossible to obtain.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that California will become a sanctuary state for those seeking an abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Even with California's efforts to codify the right to access abortion services, Lofgren said that there are other impacts of the draft decision that was leaked on Monday night that could affect people.

"If we think that the erosion of individual liberty is over, think again," Lofgren said. "As Anna (Eshoo) has said, the right to privacy underpins a number of court decisions that give liberty to Americans."

Several Supreme Court rulings, such as the right to same-sex marriage, interracial marriage and access to contraception are all based on the right to privacy. Overturning a key case, according to Lofgren, could threaten these other precedents as well.

Eshoo and Lofgren used the event to lobby for the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives in September but has not yet passed the Senate, would make abortion legal in all 50 states and address the limitations placed on abortions in some states. It would also address specific challenges that affect marginalized communities when it comes to reproductive health.

"Justice (Alito) says that the Constitution does not explicitly state privacy or abortion (as rights)," Eshoo said. "Mr. Justice, when the Constitution was first written, women were not even in it."

Comments

John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 7, 2022 at 12:31 pm
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 7, 2022 at 12:31 pm

It’s no surprise to me that these ladies, rather than address the well thought out Constitutional aspects of the majority opinion, go for hyperbole. It’s lazy thinking and makes me think they privately define democracy solely as getting what THEY find desirable. Overturning Roe simply puts it into voters and their elected representatives hands. The horror!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 7, 2022 at 2:15 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 7, 2022 at 2:15 pm

The horror! We need voters voting on how women spend their lives. We need more unwanted children. No exceptions. Forget the life of the mother or the kid forced to drop out of college to raise the rape baby. Clearly we need more brain-impaired incest babies.

Birth control's next. So's Plan B, IUDs, pills-by-mail ...

"Supreme Court’s Roe ruling would trample the religious freedom of every Jewish American"
Web Link


Petra Karenter
Registered user
Professorville
on May 7, 2022 at 2:26 pm
Petra Karenter, Professorville
Registered user
on May 7, 2022 at 2:26 pm

This, once again, is the left’s playbook: anything that doesn’t conform to the left’s worldview definitely “threatens democracy.”


Petra Karenter
Registered user
Professorville
on May 7, 2022 at 2:38 pm
Petra Karenter, Professorville
Registered user
on May 7, 2022 at 2:38 pm

Who’s a threat to democracy?

The pro-choice left is attacking the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.


John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 7, 2022 at 3:41 pm
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 7, 2022 at 3:41 pm

@online, rape and incest? What about the 99.96% involving nothing of the sort? Like I said, hyperbole.


Sharon McCabe
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 8, 2022 at 10:11 am
Sharon McCabe, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 8, 2022 at 10:11 am

It is my understanding that the repeal of Roe vs Wade by the SCOTUS would simply place abortion guidelines back into the jurisdiction of the individual states.

To repeal or mandate pro-choice on a nationwide level would require a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.

Since abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, a further court review may be warranted to validate or re-interpret the constitutionality of destroying a voiceless fetus that has no choice in the matter.

Abortion is warranted in cases of rape, incest, and where the mother's life is endangered but should not be used as an alternative to birth control and sexual.promiscuity.


Carol Richards
Registered user
South of Midtown
on May 8, 2022 at 11:22 am
Carol Richards, South of Midtown
Registered user
on May 8, 2022 at 11:22 am

Justifying an abortion is complicated and for many women, an excruciating moral and emotional decision.

That said and speaking as a devout Catholic, if the Virgin Mary had informed her parents that she was pregnant and the father unknown, a premature abortion would have deprive mankind of Jesus Christ.

Abortion should remain an individual choice but by taking life into one's own hand, we are circumventing the word of of God and for that we are to be held individually responsible.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 9, 2022 at 10:44 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 10:44 am

Hyperbole?? Read up on how the Forced Birthers consider regular old birth control to be abortion.

Breed, baby, breed. Drop out of school and breed, whether or not you want kids or can afford them. Breed, baby, breed. Drop out of the workforce and breed. Legitimize child marriage; who cares if 12 yr olds giving birth die. Ignore HER heartbeat.


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on May 9, 2022 at 12:39 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 12:39 pm

I really hope that Roe v. Wade is overturned. It was a poorly decided case. The rabid hyperbole from those who support abortion is cringe-inducing. As a Hispanic woman, let me state outright that those on the left declaring a supposed "war on women" do not speak for me or any of the other women in my family.


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2022 at 1:12 pm
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 1:12 pm

If you believe that abortion is wrong, I will defend to the death your right not to have one. Those are your values, based on your faith, and I respect your right to hold and act on them in your personal life.

I am a Christian woman who believes that women should have the right to make this profoundly personal and private family reproductive and healthcare decision. The law allows you to choose not to have an abortion, just as it allows others to choose to have one. In my reading, the Bible does not view an unborn fetus as a viable human life. Whatever the Bible says, the law should allow each woman to make these decisions based on her personal needs, faith, and values. The law should not impose the religious beliefs of one group on another group. There is not even agreement among Christians on this issue.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm

In the "D" playbook any and everything is attacking "Democracy". Every article I read in the paper of opinions by NY Times pundits they keep talking about the "R" playbook but what they are saying is exactly what they are doing. Do all of these pundits realize that they are no smarter then any one else - they are paid to espouse a position and the positions right now are not doing any good for anyone in the US.

New York is in trouble - all major cities are in trouble - Los Angeles and San Francisco are in trouble. So much for the "D" playbook - get to reality now please.


Feminist
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on May 9, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Feminist , Evergreen Park
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 2:34 pm

We have separation of state and religion. I deeply respect other peoples religious believes; but they have nothing to do with me or a huge majority in this country. Not to mention that banning abortion directly violates another religious groups rights. Judaism states that saving a persons life superceed all else, and does not consider fetus a person. Nayeli, with all due respect - it is a war on women. Not being able to have full control of one’s reproduction leads to serious economic disadvantage. Unless we put in laws that will require a man (who is just as responsible for pregnancy) to contribute the exact same amount of time and emotional work into raising a child, allowing the woman to have the same economic opportunities, we are holding women back. With some exceptions of course, but mostly when something comes up unexpectedly at work, I hear “let me call my wife and let her know I will be home late” from straight successful men, and “let me see if I can figure out childcare for the evening before I can commit” from straight successful women. Who do you think gets more opportunities which lead to better economic future ?
I honestly cannot believe we are debating this in 2022.


staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 9, 2022 at 2:52 pm
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 2:52 pm

the real issue with the leaked decision is the what the majority position is basing its decision upon: privacy is not an enumerated right in the constitution. Therefore ROE v WADE, which was tried on the basis of a women's right to privacy, can be overturned. If it stands, this enables the overturn of every other SC decision that was based on privacy, most notably gay marriage.




Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on May 9, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 2:57 pm

@ Feminist - It isn't a "war on women." It is a moral issue. It is a legal issue. It is an issue over state sanctioned morality -- whether or not the destruction of the unborn is morally right or morally wrong (OR sometimes wrong but mostly right OR sometimes right but mostly wrong).

Rather, in the issue of Roe, the crux of this entire issue -- abortion -- is whether or not it is a federal "right" in the United States Constitution. To be clear: I don't believe that it is. Women can have a "right of privacy" (an underlying basis for the Roe decision) without declaring abortion as a federal constitutional right.

This is akin to capital punishment, voting, etc. These are STATE issues and mandate STATE answers. Abortion -- as terribly divisive as it is -- needs a state answer rather than a generalized federal one that is (poorly in my opinion) interpreted as a "right" in the 14th Amendment.

If Roe is struck down, abortions will not cease in California, New York or most states. There will simply be limits on states where the populations of those states -- through representation -- will determine the legal viability and parameters for abortion. Again, California's abortion rules won't change -- and I'd argue that most states will simply do what California does and set up their own guidelines.

As a woman, I do not support most forms of abortion. I also realize that states have rights too. The law is a reflection of consent and that consent is based upon the morality and ideals of the majority of the governed. In this country, we have state laws pertaining to everything from transgender vs. biological athlete participation in high school sports to vehicle emission standards to voting (i.e., in many states, convicted felons cannot vote whereas a state like Vermont allows murderers and rapists to vote from their prison cells).

Whereas things like equal rights are clear in the Constitution, I just don't see abortion as a federal issue. It's up to the people of each state.


Feminist
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on May 9, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Feminist , Evergreen Park
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 3:14 pm

You call abortion a morality issue (hence adding emotional toll onto it). Many people, including me, see abortion as a health care issue - and it’s none of anyone business. That’s what Roe was all about. How is something universal should be a state by state issue? We are one country aren’t we? Why should a woman in Kentucky have less rights to her autonomy then a woman in California? This is absolutely about equal rights. And look, while I personally do not believe that a clump of cells is a person, I support your right to see it that way. I would never force someone to have an abortion due to my believes. Why should people be forced to give birth they did not choose due to someone else’s believes?


fred
Registered user
University South
on May 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm
fred, University South
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm

If control of Congress and the White House changes, the Supreme Court opinion will be legislated into law.


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on May 9, 2022 at 11:43 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on May 9, 2022 at 11:43 pm

@Feminist - I understand that many women have been convinced by decades of talking points that abortion is a "healthcare issue." Yet, it is a controversial moral issue.

Obviously, the many millions of us who oppose abortion are NOT uncaring, unfeeling or, as some so try to claim, at "war with women" (so strange since many of us women are pro-life). As such, it is still a divisive moral issue that is simply NOT found in the federal constitution.

Who came up with the notion that abortion is an innate "right?"

While it was permissible on a state-by-state basis prior to Roe, it was never a FEDERAL "right" before Roe. If Roe is overturned (and I hope that it will be), it will simply hand this issue back over to the states so that the people -- through representation -- can determine their own ideals on this matter. This is similar to other issues left to the states.

Besides, abortion is certainly NOT a "universal" ideal in this country (and never has been one). It has always been a complex and controversial issue in which the people of individual states should influence their respective laws.

The oft-used "clump of cells" rhetoric is probably one reason why we won't see eye-to-eye on this issue in a moral sense. Many millions of us -- including women like me -- do not view an unborn child with a heartbeat as little more than a "clump of cells."

It just seems weird and unfeeling to use this type of rhetoric regarding the wonder of life with the same attitude as toenail clippings. Many women LOVE that life that you describe as little more than a "clump of cells."

Besides, the most widespread view on abortion laws deals with a point of the viability of life. Apart from the very rare cases of rape, incest or a imminent threat of the loss of life to the mother, most pro-life individuals want laws in their states that accept the viability of life -- either from a heartbeat to the ability of that life to live outside of the womb. This is hardly just a "clump of cells."


Feminist
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on May 10, 2022 at 7:44 am
Feminist , Evergreen Park
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 7:44 am

Naeliy, millions have been convinced by religious indoctrination that what majority sees as a health care issue is a morality question. I fully support your religious believes and will never try to force you to have an abortion. That would violate your first amendment rights. However, you do not have a right to force your religious believes on the rest of the country. That violates our first amendment rights. It’s not a state level issue. It’s an equal rights issue.


staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 10, 2022 at 8:45 am
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 8:45 am

@Nayeli: appreciate you see it as a morality issue. I would appreciate you not legislating your morality onto me or others. I don't agree with your morals.

The right of abortion isn't specified in the constitution, after all its only 4400 words written some 250 years ago. What is at question here is the issue whether women can self determine what happens to them.


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on May 10, 2022 at 9:46 am
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 9:46 am

@ Feminist - I understand that. However, you're bringing up a separate issue (i.e., "religious indoctrination") with some underlying premise that adhering to religious ideals (which may differ from your ideals) are somehow "bad."

To be clear: While people who adhere to faith (who believe in any religion) are a overwhelming majority in this nation, there are millions of non-religious people who also oppose abortion due to inherent moral ideals that were formed throughout life.

Again: A more recent rhetorical narrative is that pro-abortion individuals "support" the right of religious people, moral people or others who are pro-life, but that they would "never" try to force that view upon us or "force" us to "have an abortion."

Well, the latter is reassuring -- because that would essentially make someone (e.g., Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, Charles Davenport, etc.) embrace things like eugenics and entertain ideas like forced -- or coerced --sterilization. That would be more like Germany in the 1930s or the Soviets in the 1940s.

As for whether I have a "right" to influence the law: I have just as much of a right to influence the law and/or government (through elections and speech) as you have. The law is based upon the consent of the governed. The ideals of the governed are influenced by our ideals -- no matter how they are derived. Your ideals lead you to support abortion. My ideals lead me to oppose it. This does NOT "violate your First Amendment rights" any more than you do mine.

In California, your abortion ideals win. However, that simply isn't the case in many states. So, if Roe is overturned, then the people of each state will have the right -- just like you and me -- to elect representatives to make the law.

My point is that abortion is not a constitutional issue. It isn't inherently covered by the constitution and exceeds the definition of what a "right of privacy" entails. So, like many things, it's left to the individual states to decide.


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on May 10, 2022 at 9:56 am
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 9:56 am

@ staying home: "Legislating morality?" Isn't that what pro-abortion activists attempt too? As for morals: I disagree with your morals too; hence, this is our national dichotomy when it comes to abortion. You have a right to try and affect legislation just like I do.

As for the Constitution: It's more than "just 4,400 words written 250 years ago."

It's THE binding legal document for this nation. The United States Constitution is the world's oldest codified constitution. It's more that the federal government is limited by those 4,400 words. It places limits on the powers of the federal government -- particularly when it comes to individual and state rights.

Why has the Constitution lasted so long? Because the states collectively have the power to AMEND it when deemed necessary.

If people want to make gun control or abortion a federal issue, then you simply need to add an amendment to our United States Constitution. However, stretching the interpretation of various amendments to cover specific items -- like abortion -- is too much of a stretch.


JerryUnderdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 10, 2022 at 3:17 pm
JerryUnderdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 3:17 pm

@Nayeli

"That would be more like Germany in the 1930s or the Soviets in the 1940s."

. . . or the United States, where the legal practice of imposing sterilization on women considered genetically unfit to reproduce was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell (1927)


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 10, 2022 at 3:51 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 3:51 pm

The elections coming up are not about abortion as the top topic. There are multitudes of problems that are now out of control due to the bad choices instituted by this administration. The causes and effects are obvious. On abortion the State of CA is still able to call it's own shots - as are all other states. The question then who is paying for all of this. There is cause and effect which all cost taxpayer's money.
If each person is charged with making the personal choices then making those choices is still in play. "Threatening Democracy" is used for every and anything now - used as an explanation when you have no other solution.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on May 10, 2022 at 6:43 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Regardless of where you stand on abortion, unless you're the mother or father of the child, it's none of your concern. Unless you're planning on raising the child, let the mother make her own decision. Those of us who are parents certainly made ours without interference.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.