San Diego Declared ‘Safe City for Reproductive Freedom and Access to Abortion’ — Could Be First in Nation

by on May 25, 2022 · 0 comments

in San Diego, Women's Rights

From Times of San Diego / May 24, 2022

The San Diego City Council passed a resolution Tuesday, May 24, declaring San Diego a “safe city for reproductive freedom and access to abortion,” a move supporters believe makes it the first city in the nation to do so.

Councilman Stephen Whitburn authored the resolution — which passed 8- 0 — with Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and Councilwomen Jennifer Campbell and Marni von Wilpert.

[Editordude: council observer Paul Krueger noticed that Chris Cate, the lone Republican on the council, was at the meeting but missed the actual vote; so the vote was 8 to 0 with Cate absent.]

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon overturning 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established a legal right to abortion nationwide until the fetus is viable, typically between 22 and 24 weeks. If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, the issue of legal access to abortion would be left to the individual states.

“No matter what happens with the Supreme Court ruling, no matter who you are or where you come from, no matter the color of your skin or your socioeconomic status, I want everyone to know that you are welcome in the city of San Diego to exercise your reproductive rights,” Whitburn said. “I want all San Diegans who are scared and frustrated about this potential ruling to know that you have members of this city council and a mayor that have your back, and we will not back down.”

Anti-abortion groups were disappointed by the move.

“We are saddened by the city’s action today,” said Aida Bustos, spokeswoman for the San Diego Catholic diocese. “We strongly believe there should be legal protections for the unborn and are bitterly disappointed that the city will not even entertain a conversation on the issue. Women, families and the unborn deserve better.”

While abortions will likely continue to be legal in California should the Supreme Court hand down its expected ruling, the resolution’s supporters said San Diego has a duty as the second-largest city in the state and one of the 10 largest cities in the country to show that it is a “safe city where every citizen and visitor will have reproductive freedom and access to abortion.”

“Access to abortion care is an imperative service along the reproductive health spectrum, and loss of this access can significantly impact the quality of life for so many women — especially women of color,” Montgomery Steppe said. “As a champion for equity in our city, I stand with my colleagues in declaring San Diego as a safe space that reclaims dignity and re- establishes the right of autonomy and choice over our bodies.”

“Roe v. Wade protects people’s liberties to have the right to an abortion,” Campbell said. “The landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allows people the right to an abortion without government interference. As a woman, and as a family physician, I value people’s rights and I value people’s right to choose.”

Von Wilpert said the council committed to “fight for quality, safe, reproductive health care and family planning services for anyone who needs it,” and added that San Diego “will not stand for an assault on women’s rights.”

For more details from the article, such as the latest moves by the San Diego County Supervisors to protect reproductive freedom, go here.

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