Brooklyn slams Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade
Officials vow to strengthen state’s liberal abortion law
Prominent Brooklynites, in general, have angrily panned Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion — a ruling that is expected to lead to abortion bans in half the states.
Both supporters and opponents of legalized abortion predicted that the fight will continue in state capitols, in Washington and at the ballot box.
Naomi Braine, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, has been doing research on the abortion issue for about six years. Her students, she says, “are New York young adults. For the most part, they take abortion for granted. They can’t conceive of a world in which abortion means anything but taking the subway to Planned Parenthood.”
When the leak of the decision came through earlier this year, Braine says, students were totally shocked. “Some say, `Now I can’t just take a job anywhere anymore,’” she commented, meaning that abortion will likely no longer be legal in many states.
New York State, she adds, “has taken concrete steps to protect not only the right to abortion in this state, but access to abortion for people from other states.”
Friday’s ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by three new justices who were appointed by then-President Donald Trump.
Max Rose, former congressmember from Southwest Brooklyn who is once again running to regain his old seat, said, “With this morning’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we can no longer rely on the Supreme Court to protect our rights. Make no mistake, the health and safety of women in this country are at risk because this Supreme Court cares more about imposing their beliefs on the American people than the law.”
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, who represents a Brooklyn district in Washington, commented, “For nearly fifty years, the right to a safe abortion has been protected at the federal level, granting women the autonomy to make their own health care decisions. Today’s Supreme Court ruling degrades women and all those who seek abortion access to second-class citizens. This decision does not reflect the will or realities of the American people but of a far-right extremist agenda.”
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, who also represents a Brooklyn district, said. “To undo Roe v. Wade after 50 years of established precedent amounts to nothing less than a war on women’s reproductive rights and freedoms, and we cannot and will not stand for it. For the countless people across this nation who will suffer under this ruling, for the many who will lose their lives on account of its cruelty, for the Black and brown women, low-income women, and rural communities who have already faced lifetimes of the traumatic impacts of systemic discrimination, we must act.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James, a former Brooklyn councilmember, said, “Today’s ruling is a vicious, dangerous and deliberate attack on our most basic freedom as humans. Every person in this country should have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies.” However she added. “New York will always be a safe haven for someone seeking an abortion.”
Not all Brooklyn and New York elected officials, of course, agreed with these sentiments. U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Southern Brooklyn-Staten Island), according to published accounts, lamented that what she called the state’s “radical late-term” abortion law would not be affected by the court’s decision. She criticized the state’s law which, she said, allowed abortions “until birth.”
In Washington, Justice Clarence Thomas, part of Friday’s majority, urged colleagues to overturn other high-court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and the use of contraceptives.
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