Supporters of abortion rights rally outside the Supreme Court while the Dobbs case is being heard.
(Photo/Courtesy Religious Action Center)
Supporters of abortion rights rally outside the Supreme Court while the Dobbs case is being heard. (Photo/Courtesy Religious Action Center)

Bay Area Jewish politicians outraged after Supreme Court’s abortion reversal leak

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The country this week was jolted by what appears to be the most dire threat to abortion rights in 50 years: a leaked draft opinion, obtained by Politico, from a Supreme Court majority overturning the federal right to abortion access enshrined by the same court in 1973.

The draft, which shows five conservative justices in favor of abolishing Roe v. Wade, sparked an outburst of emotion across the Bay Area, including from Jewish elected officials, many of whom rushed to publish impassioned statements.

The liberal-leaning Bay Area Jewish community has a long history of activism on abortion access and reproductive health, from rabbis demonstrating in the streets to academics advocating for a woman’s right to choose.

Similarly, Jewish politicians — the vast majority of whom are progressive — have blasted the leaked Supreme Court draft decision.

“Hell no to going back,” state Sen. Scott Wiener wrote on Twitter. He attended a boisterous protest in Sacramento on Tuesday alongside Planned Parenthood. Wiener, who represents the San Francisco area, is vice chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, and is known for his activism in support of LGBTQ rights.

“They won’t stop at Roe. They’re coming for LGBTQ people,” Wiener wrote on Twitter. “They’ll stop at nothing to make us second-class citizens & push us back into the shadows.”

In the face of threats to Roe, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a state Assembly member who represents an East Bay district spanning from Moraga to Livermore, has been at the forefront of efforts to enact state legislation guaranteeing reproductive rights and protections. Bauer-Kahan chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Reproductive Health.

In a press release, she laid out her position with stark words.

“The moment we have feared for years is here,” she wrote. “As the Supreme Court appears ready to end the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies and their freedom to choose, we are ready to do whatever it takes to protect access to abortion and women’s health care in California.”

Assembly member Marc Levine, who represents Marin County and almost half of Sonoma County, spelled out his thoughts, also on Twitter.

He said he was “incredibly alarmed” and called the leaked court document “an egregious attack on women’s rights, civil rights, and privacy rights by a radical Supreme Court majority.”

He said he supported his fellow Democrats’ proposal for a state constitutional amendment that would ensure permanent abortion access in California, regardless of the Supreme Court’s final decision, which is not expected to be issued until June or early July, according to the New York Times.

“This is just the beginning of a long, important, and necessary fight,” he wrote. “Please know that I stand with you, with women throughout our state, and our nation.”

Marc Berman, an Assembly member who represents an area from Silicon Valley to the San Mateo County coast, posted a statement on his website that called the expected Supreme Court judgment a “historic attack.” He also reiterated that California will continue to be a bastion of pro-choice values.

“California has long defended a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose to obtain an abortion, and has strongly supported the institutions that provide safe abortions for women,” he wrote. “No federal action or Supreme Court decision will shake our state’s defense of the right to access legal and safe abortion services.”

At the municipal level, Jewish politicians also had things to say — and didn’t mince words.

“If Supreme Court overturns Roe, it’ll be sad day backwards 4 our country,” wrote Dan Kalb, an Oakland City Council member, on Twitter. “Should that happen, the fu*king #SCOTUS majority should be impeached 4 letting their religious dogma and entrenched patriarchy dictate bodily privacy rights 4 women in our country.”

Myrna Melgar of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reminded people — and her party — that the move could motivate voters. She also called for pro-choice legislation in Congress.

“Midterm elections are 188 days away,” she tweeted. “Women will vote. We need federal action now to codify and guarantee women’s right to [choose] what happens to our bodies. Step up Democrats.”

Rebecca Kaplan, at-large member of the Oakland City Council and the city’s vice mayor, responded in a way that only a former Jewish day school student could: “If the Supreme Court standard for what laws to have is based on what laws were very long ago,” she wrote on Twitter, “I’m wondering when they will ban the eating of pork, require everyone to let their land lay fallow every seventh year, and have a bread-less feast on the first full moon of spring?”

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.