Respect Accessibility

Leaders across the country are creating abortion safe havens in case Roe v. Wade is overturned

“Let me be clear, no matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe v. Wade, abortion is safe and legal in Illinois,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D).
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. Anna Johnson/ AP

Story at a glance

  • A draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked and appeared to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

  • In response, leaders across the country are trying to expand and protect abortion rights. 

  • Illinois, California, New Jersey and Connecticut have each committed to protecting abortion rights. 

Some leaders across the country have decided to make their cities and states abortion safe havens in the wake of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion being leaked Monday evening and revealing the court is poised to overturn the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade.  

The 67-page opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, concludes that Roe and the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey have no grounding in the Constitution. Alito even said he viewed Roe as “egregiously wrong.” 

The court’s final published opinion is expected within the next two months and if it stays consistent with Alito’s draft, there are 13 states ready to automatically ban abortions upon Roe v. Wade being wholly or partially overturned. 

However, there are certain parts of the country that have had the opposite reaction, hoping to expand access to abortion care for more women in their states and for out-of-state patients too.  

That includes California, where the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is considering voting its support of Senate Bill 1245. That would establish a “reproductive health-care pilot project in the county to support innovated approaches and patient-centered collaborations to safeguard patient access to abortions, regardless of residency,” according to local media there. 


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That comes on the heels of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who released a statement on Twitter early Tuesday morning that said he would work with state senators to, “enshrine the right to choose in the California constitution.” 

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot made a similar statement late Monday night, saying on Twitter, “As mayor, I have one message to anyone worried about access to abortion care…Chicago’s doors are open. We unequivocally respect you, and your choices.” 

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker also held a press conference Tuesday morning, addressing the Supreme Court’s leaked opinion, saying “let me be clear, no matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe v. Wade, abortion is safe and legal in Illinois.” 

Pritzker also noted that even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortions will not stop happening.  

“It just means that in half of the states where their governors and legislatures have declared war on reproductive rights, women will be forced into dangerous and sometimes deadly situations.”  

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also signed new legislation on Tuesday that appointed a new member to the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council that would represent women’s health care providers. The move is meant to add someone with experience in unique health care issues that women face every day and who can inform policy.  

“As the fundamental right to abortion is in jeopardy at the Supreme Court, it is more important than ever before that we take steps here in New York to ensure equitable access to women’s reproductive health,” said Hochul in a statement. 

As recently as last week the Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that expands abortion rights and care in the state. It would prevent state and local agencies from cooperating in investigations and prosecutions of abortion providers in the state while also preventing an out-of-state patient’s medical records from being disclosed. 

New Jersey implemented a similar bill under Gov. Phil Murphy (D), codifying abortion rights in the state’s Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act. It ensures that even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, the right to reproductive choice would be protected.  

Democrats in Congress have also committed to act on behalf of women’s right to choose, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announcing Tuesday morning that he will hold a vote on the Senate floor on legislation to codify the right to an abortion. 

“A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets. We’ll vote to protect women’s right to choose,” said Schumer.  

However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) conceded that Democrats do not have the 60 votes in the Senate needed to pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. However, Durbin said, “we’re discussing at this point what our next move is. There is discussion about floor action on this basic issue from the Alito opinion and we’re going to make a decision on that shortly.” 


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