Live updates | LA abortion rights protest turns violent | National
A Los Angeles protest over the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would throw out Roe v. Wade briefly turned into a skirmish with police, who say one officer was injured.
A citywide police tactical alert was declared after a Tuesday night confrontation near downtown’s Pershing Square.
Authorities say about 250 people had been marching peacefully for abortion rights before the clash. LAPD Chief Michel Moore says some demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at officers. One officer was struck with a baton.
There was no immediate word of any arrests and the crowd mostly dispersed after a large police presence was called in.
It was the only violence reported among demonstrations held around the country. About 1,000 people gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Smaller gatherings were held in Atlanta; Austin, Texas and in Manhattan, where New York state Attorney General Letitia James announced that nearly two decades ago, she “walked proudly into Planned Parenthood” and had an abortion.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ABORTION STORY:
— Several state abortion bans would kick in if Roe is overturned
— The leak of the draft opinion came as a shock to Supreme Court watchers
WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris is blasting the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision that would overturn federal abortion rights.
“How dare they,” she said Tuesday in a speech at the EMILY’S List political action committee national conference. “How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms.”
The draft decision, which was leaked Monday night, would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.
“Women’s rights in America are under attack,” Harris said. “Today we know our purpose, we also know what we are up against.”
“Let us fight with everything we’ve got,” she said.
LAREDO, Texas — U.S Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, one of the last Democrats in Congress to oppose abortion, said Tuesday that the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade goes too far and would divide the country.
The 17-year incumbent is in the midst of the toughest reelection fight of his career against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. She is backed by abortion rights groups ahead of their May 24 primary runoff, which could become the first test of whether the court leak will galvanize voters, as many Democrats are predicting.
In a statement, Cuellar reiterated his opposition to abortion but said the draft “is not based on precedent and is not incremental in nature.”
“As a Catholic, I do not support abortion, however, we cannot have an outright ban,” Cuellar said. “There must be exceptions in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother.”
Cisneros trailed Cuellar by about 1,000 votes in the March primary. She criticized him again Tuesday for being the only House Democrat who didn’t support a bill earlier this year to protect abortion rights.
RENO, Nev. — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, said Tuesday that the state’s residents are among those who wouldn’t immediately be affected by a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. That’s because voters passed a referendum in 1990 guaranteeing a right to a legal abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
But Ford said he shared concerns voiced by President Joe Biden and others that other privacy rights could be at risk if the justices follow through, including same-sex marriage and birth control.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, an anti-abortion Republican seeking the GOP nomination to try to unseat Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto in November, praised the reasoning in the draft opinion.
“If the leaked decision reflects the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, it would constitute an historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination,” he said in a statement.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat and strong abortion-rights supporter in a Republican-dominated state, vowed Tuesday to “continue to oppose all regressive legislation which interferes with individual rights or freedoms.”
Kansas voters will decide in the August primary whether to add language to the state constitution sought by abortion opponents saying that nothing in the charter grants a right to an abortion.
The ballot initiative is designed to overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision declaring access to abortion a “fundamental” right, which abortion foes fear could lead the court to overturn existing restrictions. But if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the change would allow the Republican-controlled Legislature to ban abortion.
“While I don’t want to jump to conclusions based on a leaked draft, I want to reiterate that I’ve always believed that every woman’s reproductive decisions should be left to her and her physician,” Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly’s presumed Republican opponent in the governor’s race, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, says that however the U.S. Supreme Court rules, Kansas voters still need to pass the state ballot initiative.
AUSTIN, Texas — Karina Muñoz, who works at a clinic in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, that specializes in women’s health services, said Tuesday that she receives about 100-150 calls per day regarding abortion services.
She said at least half of the callers are from the U.S. and most call from Texas, which shares a roughly 230-mile-long (370-kilometer-long) border with Tamaulipas, Mexico’s northeasternmost state.
When they call, she said she clarifies to clients that though Mexico’s high court set a legal precedent by decriminalizing abortion in a case from Coahuila, a state that also shares a long border with Texas, abortion is still not allowed in Tamaulipas.
She said the U.S. clients that her clinic does treat can only be seen for health and prenatal exams, and that abortion-seekers are advised to seek them where it is legal.
WASHINGTON — Furious Senate Democrats are vowing to vote on legislation to protect abortion access for millions of Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday angrily denounced the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, is holding firm to his refusal to end the filibuster, saying Tuesday that “The filibuster is the only protection we have for democracy.”
So without Republican support, Congress is essentially powerless to prevent the unraveling of the abortion access.
Schumer stopped short of promising to change Senate filibuster rules to overcome Republican obstruction to salvage the abortion law.
Key Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said if the draft holds, “it rocks my confidence in the court.”
Democrats signaled they will fight it out on the campaign trail this fall.
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who signed a law last year that overturned the state’s long-dormant ban on most abortion procedures, took to Twitter on Tuesday and promised to safeguard local access to abortion services.
Grisham, a Democrat who signed that law in anticipation of a new approach from the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote that “The moment so many of us feared is upon us.”
New Mexico voters in 2020 ousted several socially conservative Democratic legislators who were supportive of the state’s 1969 ban.
New Mexico already receives many patients from neighboring states such as Texas that have tightened restrictions on abortion procedures. Albuquerque is home to one of only a few independent clinics in the country that perform abortions in the third trimester.
Republicans in the legislative minority vowed to revisit the state’s abortion laws, while Democratic activists scheduled an evening women’s march in support of abortion rights outside a federal courthouse in the state capital, Santa Fe.
Democratic state House Speaker Brian Egolf said Tuesday on Twitter that “the trend in this country is dangerous. Today, it’s loss of access to care; next it’s contraception.”
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said her organization has already had a glimpse of what a post-Roe v. Wade landscape would look like.
Texas’ ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy took effect in September, resulting in a 2500% increase in the number of patients from Texas at her group’s clinics in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
“Since that day, my colleagues and I have regularly treated patients who are fleeing their communities to seek care,” Alsaden, who is based in Overland Park, Kansas, told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday.
She said many of these patients are forced to drive hours to make appointments on time and to scramble to make travel and childcare arrangements.
“They’re taking time off of work, taking time out of school and taking time away from their family responsibilities to get the care that until September 2021 they were able to get safely and readily in their communities,” Alsaden said.
FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is reassuring patients that their appointments will stand, for now.
Tammi Kromenaker, who owns and operates the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, said Tuesday that she posted a notice on the clinic’s website letting women know that abortion is still legal and that their appointments at the clinic are safe.
Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion late Monday showing that a majority of the court is prepared to overrule the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.
Kromenaker says she also talked to staff about the draft opinion, emphasizing that this is not yet the final ruling. It’s a message she’s seen from abortion providers across the country.
She says she already had a plan to open a clinic just across the river in Minnesota if a 2007 North Dakota law outlawing abortion was triggered by any Supreme Court decision, and the leak just made that move all the more urgent.
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas Republican who authored the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. says he looks forward to Roe v. Wade ending up on “the ash heap of history.”
State Sen. Bryan Hughes carried Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions in Texas after roughly six weeks of pregnancy. The law is enforced solely through private lawsuits and the guarantee of at least $10,000 for successfully suing a doctor or anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion.
State data shows abortions in Texas’ roughly two dozen clinics plummeted by about 50% in the three months after the law took effect in September, compared to a year earlier.
Hughes told the Associated Press in a text message: “When the travesty of Roe v. Wade is finally on the ash heap of history, more little lives can be saved, and more mothers can be helped.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, says her four clinics in Texas have spent months preparing for Roe to be overturned. She says her staff is telling patients and callers that abortion is still legal, for now.
JACKSON, Miss. — Abortion rights opponent Barbara Beavers stood outside Mississippi’s only abortion clinic Tuesday next to two signs with the slogans: “Ask me about free pregnancy tests & ultrasounds” and “You don’t have to do this today.”
Beavers, who retired from a crisis pregnancy center, which tries to persuade women not to have abortions, prayed and tried to talk to people as they got out of cars to go inside.
“I’m offering help and alternatives to abortion,” said Beavers, who lives in Jackson. “Abortion hurts women as well as unborn children, and so I want to offer them kind of a last — before they go in — place of respite, help and hope.”
Asked if she thought she would ever see Roe v. Wade overturned, Beavers said: “Dred Scott was overturned. It was a bad law. Roe v. Wade’s bad law. We need to be defending our children, unborn or born. We need to be defending them. We need to be supporting them. We don’t need to be killing them.”
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday blasted as “radical” the draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected abortion rights.
“It concerns me a great deal that after 50 years we’re going to decide that a woman doesn’t have the right to choose,” Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Alabama.
If the decision is issued, he said, “a whole range of rights” that are based on the presumption of privacy will be in question, including access to contraception and same sex marriage.
“It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence,” Biden said.
Biden said he wanted Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, but he wasn’t prepared to say whether the Senate should sidestep the filibuster to do so.
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court may be be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Roberts also ordered an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.”
In the high court’s first public comment since the draft was published late Monday, Roberts said, “Although the document described in yesterday’s reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”
“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” he said in a written statement.
He added: “I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”