SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Thousands marched and rallied in San Francisco in support of reproductive rights, and a San Mateo County supervisor released a statement Saturday in support of pro-choice sanctuaries.
The actions were in response to the leak earlier this month of a proposed Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade.
Since the leak, Bay Area activists have responded with various actions on both sides of the issue.
There have been abortion marches before — both for and against — but Saturday’s was bigger than most as Bay Area abortion rights advocates joined a national demonstration.
“It’s huge and we’re thrilled,” said Ruth Robertson of the Raging Grannies Action League. “And it’s not just the East Coast, it’s Chicago, it’s Texas, and it’s in small towns and big cities and San Francisco had to be part of it. There’s no way that San Francisco isn’t a big part of it and we’re a big part of it.”
” Enough is enough ! We’re comfortable,” Tyleigha Hagood told the crowd gathered at the Civic Center’s main library. The National Reproductive Justice organizer said everyone needs to be realistic about where the court is headed.
“I think people have to start accepting the hard truth of realizing that this leak is the decision of the Supreme Court justices,” she said. “We can still fight, we can still act, we can still rowdy in the streets, but to do it realizing that they’ve made up their minds – that’s where they stand – will go a long way. more power to people.”
With that, thousands of people marched from the Civic Center to Market Street towards the waterfront. Among them was Janice Campbell of Oakland, who said that while the abortion dispute was not over , she thought it had been decided under the law.
“I was in law school when it was settled,” she said, “and we all thought it would go on forever, but we didn’t think religious fanatics would take over the court and that our way of life would be destroyed.”
Those old enough to remember the creation of Roe v. Wade in 1973 realize how controversial the issue was and has been ever since.
“I feel like we’ve been fighting for 50 years to keep it,” said Katherine Wilson of Palo Alto. “I feel like he’s been under threat for a long time.”
Younger women, like SF resident Kaci Barry, grew up with the idea of abortion as a constitutional right and now face the prospect that it may no longer be true.
“I can’t believe in 2022 we’re marching for abortion rights,” Barry said. “Growing up it was something that was protected and something that I knew I had access to and knowing that it’s now under threat for me, our children and our granddaughters is horrible.”
Some argue for a federal law that would legalize abortion nationwide. A recent CBS poll showed that 58% of Americans support the idea, while 42% oppose it.
By design, the Supreme Court is the only branch of government that is not meant to be affected by public opinion. So what influence can mass protest marches have?
San Francisco resident Angela A. thinks it won’t change the opinion of the judiciary, but she thinks if people become more politically active they can influence future court appointments, even if the process seems excruciatingly slow for some people.
“They get what they want. Republicans have been planning this for decades,” she said. “They are winning right now but that doesn’t mean it has to be forever. They can win this battle. Eventually we could get back to where it should be and we could win the war.”
Also on Saturday, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa released a statement following Redwood City Council’s request to the county to create a buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in the unincorporated town of Redwood. . The clinic falls under the jurisdiction of San Mateo County.
“With an ongoing attack on women’s reproductive rights, we must create ‘Pro Choice sanctuaries’ and ‘buffer zones’ at abortion clinics to protect the privacy and rights of women seeking reproductive care, even if they come from out of state,” Canepa said.
Canepa said he believes the county should work with cities to create buffer zones at every health clinic in the county that provides reproductive health care.
“We have seen an increase in protests at clinics such as Planned Parenthood located at 2907 El Camino Real on the outskirts of Redwood City. Therefore, I agree with Redwood City Council that the county should create an area buffer”, the supervisor mentioned.
“No woman should be afraid to take care of her own body by getting treatment at these clinics,” Canepa said.