As originally published in the Los Angeles Times Daily Pilot.
This week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers around a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law was blocked by lower courts that ruled it violated the rights enshrined by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, as well as in 1992′s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Now, there are concerns those landmark cases are in danger of being overturned, with serious consequences for reproductive rights.
“If the court rules to overturn Roe v. Wade, there will be 22 states that will act quickly to ban abortion in those states,” said Jon Dunn, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood, Orange and San Bernardino County. “What that will mean is that women who have been able to get abortion services in those states will have to go elsewhere to get a safe and legal abortion.”
There are also concerns that possible bans could pose a greater health risk to those seeking care in such states.
“As an abortion provider, if Roe v. Wade falls, I am extremely worried about the health of women and pregnant people in states that will lose access to abortion,” said Dr. Janet Jacobson, Planned Parenthood, Orange and San Bernardino County’s medical director and vice president of clinical services.
Jacobson said she expects that states like Texas, where abortion is restricted and maternal mortality rates are high, will only see an increase in deaths.
“I am afraid if Roe v. Wade is overturned, more pregnant people will die because they cannot access abortion care,” said Jacobson.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey enshrined the right to abortions nationwide, and the Planned Parenthood organization said it will continue to work to protect reproductive rights.
“Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties is committed to ensuring that any woman, regardless of what state she lives in has access to the abortion services that she needs,” said Dunn.
Dunn also said he is confident in California’s policies on reproductive freedom.
“If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will remain safe and legal in California,” said Dunn, “California is a reproductive freedom state so women will be able to come from other states to California to get a safe and legal abortion.”
In addition to the continued offering of services, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties also has plans for an intimate gathering of supporters on Jan. 22 in both San Bernardino and Orange County to raise awareness on the importance of reproductive rights, as well as a larger in-person “Bans Off Abortion” rally in the spring, closer to when the Supreme Court might issue a ruling.
“It is shocking that as we enter 2022, we are still fighting the same fight for reproductive freedom in the United States,” Dunn said. “And it is appalling that despite the fact that the majority of Americans support the right to abortion the folks in our legislature and in our courts are not willing to take the steps necessary to ensure their access to that care.”
TimesOC reached out for comment from the Orange County branch of Pro-Life Future, an organization against abortion, but did not receive a reply by press deadline.