AMERICAN SOCIETY

American mayors defend
women’s right to abortion
By City Mayors Research*


American mayors abotion rights
ON THIS PAGE: US mayors’ anger over US Supreme Court decision ||| Supreme Court rules against women’s rights ||| Women at the mercy of state laws ||| Mayors promise to protect and fight ||| Cities respond to Supreme Court ruling

ON OTHER PAGES:
Mass killings in American cities
||| American mayors push for stricter gun laws ||| US mayors ||| American cities of violence


US mayors’ anger over
Supreme Court decision
July 2022: American mayors reacted with dismay to the US Supreme Court’s decision to curtail women’s rights to safe and legal abortions. The US Conference of Mayors (USCM), which represents the majority of mayors of larger cities, said in a statement that in the morning of 25 June 2022, American women woke up with one less constitutional right.

"The consequences of this decision will be felt in cities nationwide, where women will suffer from the loss of access to critical healthcare services, where they face state abortion bans that do not include exemptions for rape or incest,” said the Tom Chochran, the USCM’s Executive Director.


US Supreme Court rules
against women’s rights
On Friday, 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court voted to strike down the nationwide legal right to abortion, paving the way for individual US states to restrict or even ban the procedure.

The right to an abortion was previously protected by Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling in 1973, which allowed abortions performed before a foetus would be viable outside the womb – between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Last month’s (June 2022) 6-3 decision to override Roe v Wade, which has led to the immediate re-criminalisation of abortion in nearly half of US states, came in large part thanks to three right-wing justices installed by former President Donald Trump.


Women at the mercy of state laws
The battle over abortion rights will now be fought at state level. In roughly half of US states conservative politicians and law makers have already moved to restrict reproductive rights, while liberals and progressives in some 20 states are trying to protect existing rights and enshrine them in law.

In California, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, signed a new law strengthening and protecting abortion rights in the state. He was outspoken in his anger about the supreme Court’s decision when he signed the bill. “Never would this happen if men were the ones having babies - ever - and you know that, and I know that. Every damn person knows that. And that's the elephant in the room,” Newsom said. “Because women are treated as second-class citizens in this country. Women are not as free as men. That's pretty damn sick.”

Meanwhile in Republican Kentucky, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said abortions were now illegal in the state. “From today (24 June 2022) performing abortions in Kentucky is considered a felony after the state’s Human Life Protection Act, which prohibits the wilful termination of the life of an unborn human being.”


Mayors promise to protect and fight
Following the Supreme Court ruling, mayors across America have promised that they and their cities will do all they can do to support women to make their own health care decisions.

The US Conference of Mayors passed a resolution ‘In Support of Reproductive Rights’, which stresses that reproductive health decisions should be made between a patient and her doctor without government interference and that abortion is healthcare that should remain legal, safe and accessible. The resolution also calls on members of the US Congress to pass legislation to codify ‘a woman's right to choose’ and urges governors and state legislatures to protect women's access to healthcare and individual freedoms in the absence of protections at the federal level in the meantime.”


American mayors respond
to US Supreme Court ruling

City, population, mayor
US Mayors' response to Supreme Court ruling
on women's abortion rights
Atlanta
Georgia
Popl: 499,000
Mayor: Andre Dickens (Democrat)
Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens said he supported an effort by the city council to make the enforcement of Georgia's anti-abortion laws a low priority. A city council resolution aims to discourage police from prioritizing abortion enforcement.
Baltimore
Maryland
Popl: 586,000
Mayor: Brandon Scott (Democrat)
Mayor Brandon Scott announced that the City of Baltimore would provide $300,000 in grants to organizations that offer abortion and family planning services. This is a meaningful step toward maintaining Baltimore City's status as a place where residents and visitors can obtain safe, legal abortion services.

The State of Maryland's strong pro-choice legislation is not expected to change, so the city is preparing to expand service capacity to meet the needs of its residents and any care-seekers from states with anti-choice laws.

"A woman's decision about what to do with her own body is a fundamental human right," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "It is crucial that we invest in abortion and family planning so that we can welcome women seeking these services with open arms. We are morally obligated to make Baltimore a safe haven for care-seekers, and we are committed to doing just that."
Burnsville
Minnesota
Popl: 64,000
Mayor: Elizabeth Kautz
Mayor Kautz: “We hear a lot about that government cannot tell us what to do whether to get vaccinated or put on a mask and yet when it comes to women and the rights of women, women don't have that right.”
Chicago
Illinois
Popl: 2,746,000
Mayor: Lori Lightfoot (Democrat)
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will continue working to support women from out of state who are seeking legal abortions and took aim at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for a concurring opinion in which he urged colleagues to overturn various cases, including the landmark ruling establishing same-sex marriage.
Cincinnati
Ohio
Popl: 303,000
Mayor: Aftab Pureval (Democrat)
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval stated that the city will repeal the 2001 ordinance, which restricts the city's ability to cover elective abortions in its health care plan. He added that during the repeal, the city's health care plan will be changed to include abortion-related health services to the extent that's allowed under the law. The mayor said that he wants to decriminalize abortions.
Houston
Texas
Popl: 2,305,000
Mayor: Sylvester Turner (Democrat)
"Today is a sad day across America. The US Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade is a chilling and incomprehensible decision. It means women no longer have a federal constitutional right to make decisions about their bodies and what is best for their lives.

This decision unravels 50 years of precedent and settled law. I have always believed a woman has a right to choose and make personal decisions about her health care. I believe abortion is part of comprehensive reproductive health care and support the right to choose as fundamental to each person's autonomy. Individuals and their doctors should make personal life decisions.

I am now equally concerned that the Supreme Court, with a stroke of a pen, will eliminate rights to privacy, contraception, and LGBTQ progress made in recent years.
Kansas City
Missouri
Popl: 491,000
Mayor Quinton Lucas (Democrat)
A lot of states including my own are right now passing draconian laws that don't just limit abortion services but start to threaten birth control.
Lexington
Kentucky
Popl: 323,000
Mayor Linda Gorton (Republican)
Mayor Gorton: “There are many women and men who oppose or support abortion, and yet, like me, they believe the decision should be between a woman and her health care provider.

As a registered nurse who practiced in a variety of health care settings over a period of 40 years, I have personally seen and worked with many patients having to make difficult, life altering decisions. That includes patients suffering intractable pain, people with wounds that would not heal, patients with suicidal thoughts, babies with seizures and pregnant women with life-threatening health issues.

All of these patients were managed within the confidential arena of relationships between health care providers and patients.”
Louisville
Kentucky
Popl: 633,000
Mayor: Greg Fischer (Democrat)
After Kentucky's trigger law abortion ban went into effect with the landmark overturn of Roe v Wade, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the city is consulting attorneys about what obligation the city has to enforce the new law. “I am absolutely disgusted by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade,” said Mayor Fischer.

“We are currently in discussion with our attorneys about the degree to which the city is required to enforce this law."

Kentucky's trigger-law abortion ban ranks alongside the most restrictive in the country. It provides no exceptions in cases involving rape or incest; under the law, abortions are only allowed in cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy. Persons who perform abortions - or provide medication to terminate a pregnancy - can be charged with a Class D felony, which carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.
Madison
Wisconsin
Popl: 258,000
Mayor: Satya Rhodes-Conway (Democrat)
Mayor Rhodes-Conway: “Today (24 June 2022), the US Supreme Court took away the right to abortion for millions. In doing so, they are now allowing state governments to force people, including minors and victims of rape and incest, to give birth.

The ruling has also fundamentally damaged and undermined the right to privacy upon which many other rights rest. Get ready they will come for contraceptives; they will come for marriage equality. They are clearly ready to turn back the clock, and they do not care who is harmed in the process.

I'm angry, angry that, despite most people in this country supporting abortion rights, a handful of people took those rights away from us. I'm frustrated that our gerrymandered state legislature would uphold an antiquated 1849 statute rather than defend our state's freedoms. And I'm fearful for all the people who will experience hardship and suffering from this decision, and fearful for the ripple effects this decision will have on our society.

This decision is an attack on the rights of Americans. The right to choose when or if we have children. The right to have autonomy over our own bodies. The Supreme Court has failed us and our state has failed us. But we are determined as a City to do all we can to counteract these failures.”
Miami-Dade County
Florida
Popl: 2,702,000
Mayor: Daniella Levine Cava (Democrat)
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava joined a protest. It was her way of showing that she stands against the Supreme Court's ruling that got rid of the constitutional protections for abortions.
Middletown
Connecticut
Popl: 48,000
Mayor: Ben Florsheim
Mayor Ben Florsheim said his immediate reaction is “fear and loathing.” “In a country that continues to hold itself up as a beacon of democracy and human liberty around the world, the nine unelected politicians to whom Congress and the president have ceded their constitutional duties have declared open season on civil rights in America.” “Until the power that this illegitimate court has wrested from the American people is restored to its rightful place, each successive day will be darker than the last,” Florsheim added.
New Orleans
Louisiana
Popl: 384,000
Mayor: LaToya Cantrell (Democrat)
Mayor Cantrell: “The initial reaction is just one of disbelief. Half a century of women empowered to make our own decisions has just been tossed out. It's unacceptable. It really does speak to a political agenda that's driving this turn of events, and it's something absolutely that we have to just keep fighting.

We cannot give up. I think of women who are here now, women of the future, our children, our daughters. So we have to continue to stand and push back against these political agendas that are actually taking us back and not moving us forward.”
New York City
New York
Popl: 8,804,000
Mayor: Eric Adams (Democrat)
Mayor Adams was among the many lawmakers who affirmed the state's status as a sanctuary for women seeking abortions, specifically those from outside the state. “New York will be the safe haven for America,” he said.

Mayor Adams announced a slate of plans to expand access to medication abortion at city sexual health clinics and grow the number of medical professionals who perform the procedure within the public hospital system. The city will also provide transportation, food and housing options for out-of-staters who come to New York for the procedure from states where it is outlawed, city Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said at Friday's news conference.
Oakland
California
Popl: 441,000
Mayor Libby Schaaf (Democrat)
Mayor Schaaf: “I am terrified to think what is next. What other hard-fought civil rights will be the next to fall. Congress could act tomorrow to make 'Roe' the law of the land.”
Orange County
North Carolina
Popl: 149,000
Following the US Supreme Court's ruling, the mayors of Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill issued a joint statement regarding abortion in North Carolina: “We share the alarm, sorrow, and outrage that so many in our communities are feeling,” the trio of Pam Hemminger, Damon Seils and Jenn Weaver said.

“We share your dismay about what this decision means for the advances women and girls have made over the past 50 years, for the rights and dignity that gay and trans people have secured, and for the struggle to ensure all people have access to safe, high-quality health care. We now face the grim reality that the right of people to make their own health care decisions and to choose whether and when to have children has been stripped away,” the statement said. “What's more, this erosion of a fundamental right to privacy places other protections at risk, including the right to have sex with the partner of our choosing, the right to same-sex marriage, and the right to contraception.”
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
Popl: 1,604,000
Mayor: Jim Kenny (Democrat)
Mayor Kenny: “It is not for the courts or Congress to interfere with women's reproductive rights.”
Reno
Nevada
Popl: 264,000
Mayor: Hillary Schieve (Independent)
Mayor Schieve: “As a woman I am completely offended by the Court's ruling and as a mayor I will do everything to ensure that women's reproductive rights will be protected.”
Richmond
Virginia
Popl: 227,000
Mayor: Levar Stoney (Democrat)
“The Supreme Court's decision is not just the most serious attack on women's rights in our lifetime. It is the most serious attack on every right that every single one of us has.”
Sacramento
California
Popl: 525,000
Mayor: Darrell Steinberg (Democrat)
The battle is never over.
Salt Lake City
Utah
Popl: 200,000
Mayor Erin Mendenhall (Democrat)
Abortions are still going to happen but many women will lose their lives in the process.
San Francisco
California
Popl: 874,000
Mayor: London Breed (Democrats
In response to the Supreme Court's decision that has resulted in the loss of the constitutional right to abortion, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed announced initial steps being taken to prepare for impacts locally and to ensure that San Francisco continues to stand as a place that proudly protects and supports a woman's right to choose.

“This decision is devastating to women and our country,” said Mayor Breed. “San Francisco has proudly served for generations as a place that respects fundamental civil rights, including a woman's right to choose.

The ramifications from this Supreme Court ruling on public health, poverty, and so many downstream consequences have yet to be seen, but right now, women are scared about what this means for them, for their daughters, for all of us.

San Francisco cannot correct national policy, but we can ensure that those in in this city are safe from anyone who wants to criminalize medical care and that we are working with the entire Bay Area to prepare for any impacts of this decision.” “It took 40 years for conservatives to plot and scheme the rollback of women's bodily autonomy and we must have the same unbending and resolute commitment to undoing this new world of forced birth, even if it takes us another 40 years to get there.”
San Leandro
California
Popl: 91,000
Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter
Mayor Leandro: “I can't understand how we can be in this position. As a mother of two daughters, I believe it is so wrong for somebody to have control over my body.”
Savannah
Georgia
Popl: 148,000
Mayor: Van Johnson (Democrat)
Mayor Johnson: “The ruling means that a woman's body has become politicised.”
Stamford
Connecticut
Popl: 135,000
Mayor: Caroline Simmons (Democrat)
Mayor Simmons: “We have turned back the clock for 49 years on reproductive rights and freedoms that so many women before me have fought for.”
Tampa
Florida
Popl: 385,000
Mayor: Jane Castor
Mayor Castor: “A woman should be allowed to make the decisions that affects her body.”
Toledo
Ohio
Popl: 271,000
Mayor: Wade Kapszukiewicz (Democrat)
Mayor Kapszukiewicz: “Guns have more rights than women.” The Mayor added his administration is working to ensure Toledo is a place where women can have abortion access following the Supreme Court decision that ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Kapszukiewicz said that Toledo City Council members are strongly opposed to Ohio's newly-implemented heartbeat bill, which bans abortions in Ohio after a foetal heartbeat can be detected. A heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. Toledo City Council voted to oppose the abortion ban when Gov. DeWine signed the bill in 2019. A judge issued a stay on the legislation at that time because of Roe v. Wade. Within hours of the Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark ruling, a judge lifted the stay and Ohio's six-week abortion ban became law.
Troy
New York
Popl: 49,000
Mayor: Patrick Madden
Mayor Madden: “The Supreme Court's decision to upend half a century of legal precedent on abortion rights and strip fundamental health decisions away from women is shameful, deeply disturbing and a massive step backward for our country. It eliminates the right of women to make the most intensely personal decisions about their lives, their health, and their families. This decision and its underlying reasoning set a dark precedent for the future of a number of recognized individual rights potentially impacting all Americans.”
Tuscaloosa
Alabama
Popl: 101,000
Mayor: Walt Maddox (Democrat)
Mayor Maddox: “Now is the time to for Alabama to expand Medicaid coverage to address pre-natal care and the state's por infant mortality rates. Alabama's third-world care must be addressed.

*
The research was carried out in late June 2022, using information released by the US Conference of Mayors and individual mayors' offices as well as reviewing information published in local and on social media.


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