D.C. leaders on Tuesday blasted the Supreme Court for a draft opinion that would overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said if the court goes through with ditching Roe, the District will have major problems.
“We are at a special peril,” the delegate said, noting if the Republicans take the U.S. House of Representatives in the November general elections, District residents’ access to abortion services could be severely restricted.
The overturning of Roe would leave abortion legality in the hands of the states. The District isn’t a state and its laws must be approved by Congress.
Norton said if the Republicans take control of the House, they may attempt to ban abortion in D.C.
“The Republican Congress is likely to use this decision to try to ban abortion in D.C. in particular,” she said, WTOP reported. “Until the District gets statehood, we cannot make that decision for ourselves.”
Norton said if the Republicans try to impose an abortion ban on the city, she will work with Democrats in the Senate to thwart the effort.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said a Roe overturn would be an example of blocking access to health care.
“We cannot leave our children, our girls, a less free society than the one we were born into. … We cannot build a society where our girls look to other, freer nations, and wonder why they can’t have the same rights,’ the mayor said, WTOP reported. “I also want to state this clearly — that Washington, D.C., is a pro-choice city. Women will have access to care in D.C.”
D.C. Council member Robert White, who is challenging Bowser in the June 21 Democratic primary, noted he is the father of two girls.
“I don’t want to have to explain to my daughters why they have less autonomy over their bodies than men,” White said, WTOP reported. “That is not fair. That is not freedom. That is not progress. That is not American.”
Fellow Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7), who chairs the council’s Committee on Health, concurred.
“The District of Columbia will preserve and protect the rights of women to make health care choices for themselves. Period,” Gray said in a statement. “It’s also time for Democrats to unite and end the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Ending the filibuster is the only way to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which will undo the damage done by overturning Roe vs. Wade.”