Residents Rally After Court Reverses Roe

(Photos by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader) - Burbank residents protested outside City Hall last week after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly overturned Roe v. Wade, removing decades of added abortion access protections.

First published in the July 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Dozens of Burbank community members protested in front of City Hall last week after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to restrict or ban abortion.
Though California has for decades held access to abortion as a human right, some protesters said they were concerned and outraged that other states were rolling back that access in response to the June 24 ruling. Several Republican-led states had approved so-called “trigger bans” that severely restricted or outlawed abortion as soon as the court issued its 5-4 decision.
The evening the court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Burbank residents rallied on Olive Avenue. Many held signs — “We won’t go back,” “Keep Abortion Safe + Legal,” “Abortion = Health Care” — and waved to passing cars that honked in support.
Burbank resident Stephanie Joens, who attended the protest, said that she has a bicornuate uterus, a rare condition that could cause complications during pregnancy — including death.
“I want to be able to, in the future, have that safety choice be mine and mine only,” Joens said. “That’s something that I really want.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m going to choose one way or another,” Joens aadded. “I just want to have complete equal rights, that’s it.”
Joens also believes it’s important for Democratic strongholds such as Burbank to show support for areas where abortion access is limited or eliminated. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, a draft of which Politico leaked in May, many California Democrats have pledged to strengthen abortion access.

Burbank resident Stephanie Joens, who attended a local protest in favor of abortion rights on June 24, said it’s important to rally even in Democratic areas to show support for people whose access to abortion is restricted.

Axios also reported that California, Washington and Oregon, which are anticipating a wave of visitors seeking abortions, have agreed to collectively guard their medical professionals and patients from being prosecuted by other states.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a House Democrat who represents Burbank, said in a statement that the court’s decision was a “repudiation of some of our nation’s most cherished values, from the right to privacy to the right of everyone to make their own health-care decisions.
“The fact that this opinion does not come as a surprise does not make it any less traumatic for the millions of women now stripped of their access to safe and legal abortion,” Schiff said. “It does not make it any less frightening for the millions of people now worried about whether their fundamental freedoms will be the next to fall.”
Schiff, who said he supports making the protections enshrined by Roe v. Wade federal law, has previously advocated for the expansion of the Supreme Court. The move would allow President Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress to add justices potentially favorable to their platforms, though Biden has maintained his stance against court expansion.
A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll indicated that most Americans supported the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade, but oppose expanding the court.
Hayley Sumner, a Burbank resident who attended last week’s protest with her daughter, said she was “outraged” over the court’s decision. She’s also worried that the Supreme Court, with a majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents, could roll back other rights recognized through previous rulings.
“I want my daughter to have more rights than me, not less,” Sumner said.
“I think every community needs to show their outrage about this,” she added. “I think when people are quiet, that’s when people who take away rights can get away with what they’re doing.”