Former state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson gave a fiery speech Tuesday evening in support of abortion rights in front of a large crowd, who heard other speakers as well at a quickly organized rally in De la Guerra Plaza.
After Ms. Jackson’s speech, the crowd marched to and up State Street in support of Roe v. Wade with signs such as “We won’t go back!”
“This is a hard day. Like all of you, I’m angry. I’m heartbroken,” Dr. Jenna Tosh, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Central Coast, told the large audience, referring to the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion calling for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Justices have not issued their final ruling, which likely will be issued sometime in June.
“Today Roe v. Wade is still the law of land. Abortion remains safe and legal,” Dr. Tosh said.
“But we know the final ruling is coming, and we expect it sometime before July,” Dr. Tosh said. “And if the final ruling looks like what we saw last night, we know there are 26 states in the country that will move to ban abortion overnight, including 13 states that have what are called trigger laws, which means immediately in those 13 states, people would lose their constitutional right to safely and legally end a pregnancy.”
“No!!!!!” the crowd responded.
Dr. Tosh said that a ban on abortion in 26 states would spell the loss of reproductive for 36 million women, trans people and nonbinary people of reproductive age. “That’s half of the people who can become pregnant.”
She also noted an abortion ban would disproportionaly affect low-income people and minorities. “Wealthy people will always be able to travel out of state for the care that they need.”
Dr. Tosh warned politicians who favor abortion bans will come after birth control rights and marriage rights, as well as trans health care.
“This is not just about abortion,” she said. “This is about who has power over you.”
Later, former state Sen. Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat, gave a passionate speech in which she called for action to preserve abortion rights.
“We’re going to demand we get rid of the filibuster (in Senate), at the very least on the issues related to our fundamental rights as women and human beings,” Ms. Jackson said.
“Every person should be given that basic human dignity,” she said, her voice growing louder. “When people deny that to us, we have to vote them out!”
The crowd cheered.
Then Ms. Jackson called for the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which the House approved in September. The legislation is designed to protect a person’s ability to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy and protects a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.
“We have to demand Congress pass the legislation, which is sitting in some wastebasket in the Senate,” Ms. Jackson said.
She called on President Joe Biden, who promised to sign the bill, to do so if the Senate approves it.