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Defend Roe v. Wade Resolution

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, my office will move a City Council resolution in support of abortion rights and other reproductive rights, and a grassroots movement to defend Roe v. Wade. Read our proposed resolution below:


A RESOLUTION in support of abortion rights and other reproductive rights, in opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and urging federal elected officials to codify abortion rights and other reproductive rights.

WHEREAS, on May 3, 2022, thousands gathered in cities across the United States, including in Seattle, to protest a leaked draft decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has protected the freedom to seek an abortion since 1973; and

WHEREAS, laws restricting access to abortion disproportionately impact poor and working-class women and women of color, because wealthy women have the resources to pay a private doctor exorbitant fees or travel to where quality reproductive healthcare is available; and

WHEREAS, historian Ruth Rosen explained in The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America that “Advocates of abortion reform estimated that close to one million women had illegal abortions annually before the procedure became legal in 1973, and they attributed some five thousand deaths directly to illegal abortions,” showing that throughout history, laws banning abortion do not stop them from happening, instead making them humiliating, unsafe, and even fatal; and

WHEREAS, while abortion has been legalized nationwide since 1973, working-class women and LGBTQ people have continued to have only limited access to reproductive healthcare, as a result of the inequity and inefficiency of the private, for-profit healthcare and health insurance industries; and

WHEREAS, overturning Roe v. Wade would disregard the human right to bodily autonomy, which could also set a legal precedent used to overturn healthcare and other legal rights for LGBTQ people, while transgender care is already under assault; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council recognizes that pressure from mass movements can and has affected U.S. Supreme Court decisions – they are not simply mechanical applications of legal text; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court that decided Roe v. Wade by a 7-2 vote in 1973 was also majority Republican-appointed, but ruled in favor of abortion rights under pressure from the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which was itself emboldened by the powerful movements for Black freedom and against the war in Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, in recent years mass movements in Argentina, Ireland, and Mexico have overturned anti-abortion laws and won new reproductive rights; and

WHEREAS, the Democratic Party, with a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority in the U.S. Senate, and the Presidency, has the power to codify abortion access, pass universal single-payer healthcare, eliminate the filibuster, and expand the size of the Supreme Court to end its domination by extreme right-wing justices, if they have the political will to do so; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council recognizes that access to abortion, bodily autonomy, and other personal rights can be won and defended if there is a sufficiently powerful grassroots social movement; and

WHEREAS, Seattle Public Schools students have called for districtwide student demonstrations in defense of abortion rights on Friday, May 13, 2022; and

WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood has called for a national day of action in defense of abortion rights on Saturday, May 14, 2022; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE THAT:

Section 1. The Seattle City Council is entirely opposed to the U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which would overturn Roe v. Wade. The Seattle City Council urges Supreme Court justices to retract their support for this opinion and to respect the bodily autonomy of women and LGBTQ people.

Section 2. The Seattle City Council urges federal elected officials to pass legislation codifying the full right to abortion and other reproductive healthcare nationwide. The Seattle City Council urges progressive Democrats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to use their full power, not only to vote for such legislation, but also to fight to end the filibuster and use their resources to build mass grassroots action to pass it. The Seattle City Council requests that the Office of Intergovernmental Relations convey this resolution to Seattle’s federal Congressional delegation.

Section 3. The Seattle City Council intends to appropriate City funds in a 2022 supplemental budget to fund expanded access to reproductive healthcare.

Section 4. The Seattle City Council strongly supports the grassroots organizing and movement building required to put social pressure on elected officials and the judiciary to defend against this historic attack on the rights of women, pregnant people, and the LGBTQ community. The Seattle City Council encourages Seattle residents to participate in the student demonstrations planned for Friday, May 13, 2022, and the national day of action planned for Saturday, May 14, 2022.

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