The Tehachapi Mountain Democratic Club, at its November ZOOM meeting, heard a presentation by Beth Parker, general counsel for several California Planned Parenthood affiliates, on the legal challenges to Roe v. Wade. There have been five cases involving abortion rights that have been heard by the Supreme Court since 1973, starting with Roe v. Wade.

This year Texas passed SB8, a very restrictive abortion law that was challenged by the DOJ and is now before the Supreme Court. This law makes it virtually impossible for a woman to get an abortion in Texas, and allows a private citizen to sue anyone assisting a woman attempting to get an abortion. A law in Mississippi is also before the court. This law bans abortion after 15 weeks. Depending on the court’s rulings in these cases, Roe v, Wade may be struck down.

The Texas law bans abortions after about six weeks, and has no exception for rape, incest, etc. Texas usually has 56,000 abortions a year. That will be reduced by about 95 percent. Texans desiring to terminate a pregnancy must now travel to nearby states, none of which are prepared for such an influx.

Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, 27 states are prepared to immediately pass laws prohibiting abortion. An estimated 36 million women of child-bearing age will lose the right to choose. National polls show about 70 percent of the population is in favor of the right to choose, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy.

Parker, in response to questions, pointed out that since 1968, when birth control was legalized, and Roe v. Wade was established in 1973, women have made dramatic advances in society because they now can control when to have children. The current activity may be a backlash against the progress women have made.

Tehachapi Mountain Democratic Club meets the first Thursday of each month. Meetings have been held via Zoom during COVID restrictions, but a safe and suitable in-person site is being sought. See the website for information about current issues and future meetings.

Phyllis Belcher is a longtime Tehachapi resident, and is involved in various volunteer organizations.