Clash over abortion access reaches Central California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A demonstration was held in downtown Fresno Tuesday evening 24 hours after a Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe V. Wade was leaked.

"Government is as leaky as a sponge but not the Supreme Court," said Dr. Thomas Holyoke, Political Science professor at Fresno State University. "You do not see information of any kind leaked from the Supreme Court really."

Holyoke points out that it's important to remember the version of the opinion is the first draft.

"Justice Samuel Alito would almost certainly have to change it and perhaps change it very significantly in order to win four other votes to get a majority," said Holyoke.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a statement confirming that the leaked draft opinion was legitimate saying, "it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."

Chief Justice John Roberts publicly called the leak a "singular and egregious breach" of trust and has directed the Marshal of the Court to investigate. Roberts went on to defend the Court's workforce and integrity, saying this will not undermine its operation. Dr. Holyoke says an early release could fire up people from both parties to get to the polls this midterm election.

"Governor Newsom is already talking about affirming it in the State Constitution, that abortion would remain legal here," said Holyoke.

"I'm scared for my daughters and my granddaughters," says Erin Chippa.

Men and women of all ages and all backgrounds were in attendance at the demonstration.

RELATED: Chief Justice Roberts confirms authenticity of leaked court draft suggesting Roe could be overturned

Among the group fighting to protect abortion rights nationwide -- several doctors.

"We firmly believe abortion is healthcare and we are within our rights to offer that healthcare to them," says Dr. Julie Nicole.

Planned Parenthood expects to see an increase in women from other states coming to California seeking an abortion.

Meanwhile, Anti-Abortion Rights groups fear California taxpayers would be left paying for those abortions.

"I would hope instead that we would go the extra mile and help women and children facing challenging pregnancies," says John Gerardi.

RELATED: Reaction throughout Central California to draft opinion regarding Roe V. Wade

The Public Policy Institute of California found the majority of Californians across parties, regions and demographic groups do not want to see Roe V. Wade overturned.

On the other hand more, than a dozen other states have passed so-called "trigger ban laws" that would outlaw abortions if the landmark decision is overturned.

"We know that those trigger bans will likely go into effect if Roe V. Wade is overturned," says Dr. Caroline Sueldo. "That is not going to decrease abortions. That is going to decrease safe abortions."

Abortion rights advocates maintain that abortion is healthcare all women should have access to and the right to choose.

RELATED: CA proposes protecting abortion in state constitution in reaction to potential Roe v. Wade decision

"I would push back on the premise that it's healthcare at all," Gerardi said. "Healthcare means fixing something wrong with the body. Pregnancy is not a disease."
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