by Photo courtesy of Stephen Whitburn

The city of San Diego was declared a “safe city for reproductive freedom and access to abortion” with a resolution passed by City Council on Tuesday unanimously. 

Councilmember Stephen Whitburn authored the resolution with Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell and Marni von Wilpert.

The move comes as the U.S. Supreme court is expected to issue a decision that may overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established a legal right to abortion nationwide. Under current law, the government cannot interfere with a women's choice to terminate a pregnancy before about 23 weeks. 

“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.''

Supporters of the resolution say that San Diego is the first city to designate itself as a safe haven for abortions. 

“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.''

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors was set to consider a proposal Tuesday from Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas calling on California to add the right to choose to California's constitution. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins announced a proposed state constitutional amendment earlier this month to legally protect the right to abortion in California.
“It is time for California to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution,'' Lawson-Remer said. “We cannot stand by as people across our nation are stripped of our rights, and the progress so many have fought for is erased. We can build a firewall in the California state constitution and be a beacon of safe and legal abortion access.''

The amendment will be on the November ballot if passed by California legislature by June 30.  

On Friday, the Los Angeles City Councill unanimously passed a resolution that called for legislation that codifies the right to safe abortions in California and throughout the United States. The resolution awaits a signature by Mayor Eric Garcetti to formalize the city's support for any proposed legislation that would would codify the right to safe abortion into law. 

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