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Roe v. Wade overturned: San Antonio and Texas leaders react to Supreme Court's decision

The 6-3 ruling Friday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a determination of the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law on abortions.

SAN ANTONIO — The Supreme Court has ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, the longtime legal precedent guaranteeing the right of legal abortion in the U.S. 

The 6-3 ruling Friday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a determination of the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law banning most abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

Leaders representing Texas and the San Antonio area have reacted to this major development since it was announced Friday morning. 

Governor Greg Abbott quickly tweeted his support of the decision, saying "Texas is a pro-life state. We will ALWAYS fight to save every child from the ravages of abortion." See his full statement below:

His opponent, Democratic candidate for governor, Beto O'Rourke, tweeted his reaction, saying he will overcome the decision with "political power."

In a statement shared to Facebook, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller praised the Supreme Court's ruling while saying the nation must now commit to providing resources for mothers, children and families. 

Statement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, regarding U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs ruling I am truly heartened and...

Posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio on Friday, June 24, 2022

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also weighed in, saying the ruling is an attack on the health and independence of women.

Also in the Alamo City, District 2 Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez posted a lengthy statement to social media from his office, calling the ruling "a criminalization of pregnancy as a whole." 

"We must be clear that this ruling will only cause more harm, increased incarceration, and more deaths of our neighbors, friends, loved ones, and quite possibly ourselves," reads the letter, which can be read in full below. 

McKee-Rodriguez's colleague, Teri Castillo, the council representative for District 5, concurred with the District 2 councilman. She wrote the decision marks "an attack on a person's autonomy of their own bodies, lives and futures."

Former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary, Julian Castro, voiced his opposition to the ruling, saying, "A radical court has again destroyed longstanding precedent."

His twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX 20), responded in a similar manner.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX 23), who represents parts of South Texas, was also in support of the decision:

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, meanwhile, said on Friday that "personal healthcare decisions should not be punished." He added that while he has to practice prosecutorial discretion and examine each case individually, he had no immediate plans to prosecute most abortion cases. 

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat whose district includes parts of the San Antonio area, voiced his opposition to the decision, saying "too many women will needlessly suffer and die."

Planned Parenthood Texas, an abortion rights advocacy organization, also released a statement on action they plan to take from here:

Below is a joint statement from Jeffrey Hons, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood South Texas; Melaney A. Linton, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast; and Ken Lambrecht, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court erased nearly 50 years of history and its responsibility to uphold legal precedent. This deplorable ruling by the Court’s conservative majority strips Americans of their constitutional rights and further erodes abortion access in Texas. This dangerous outcome opens the floodgates for more states across the country to ban abortion. 

“Texans know all too well the reality of living in a post-Roe world. For more than nine months under S.B 8, Texans have been denied access to abortion in their own state and have been forced to continue a pregnancy, seek abortion outside the health care system, or travel hundreds or even thousands of miles if they can secure the funds, time off from work, child care, and transportation needed to access abortion out of state. Providers have been forced to turn away patients. It’s heartbreaking and completely preventable. 

“Forcing someone to continue a pregnancy against their will is a grave violation of human rights and dignity. All Americans deserve to live under a rule of law that respects their bodily autonomy and reproductive decisions. Let’s be clear: today’s ruling and its unraveling of Roe v. Wade will not end the need for abortion. This decision will have damaging effects for generations.  And we know the impacts of this decision will fall hardest on the communities who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care—particularly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, LGBTQ+ people, undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet. 

“The fate of Roe is not the fate of Planned Parenthood. Today our doors are open and they will remain open to serve Texans who need access to essential reproductive health care. Our priority will remain restoring and expanding access to that care, including abortion, for all Texans.” 

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The ruling is expected to disproportionately affect minority women who already face limited access to health care, according to statistics analyzed by The Associated Press.

Thirteen states, including Texas, mainly in the South and Midwest, already have laws on the books that ban abortion in the event Roe is overturned. Another half-dozen states have near-total bans or prohibitions after 6 weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

The Biden administration and other defenders of abortion rights have warned that a decision overturning Roe also would threaten other high court decisions in favor of gay rights and even potentially, contraception.

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