The leaking of a Supreme Court memo indicating the overturning of landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade has thrust the question of abortion rights back into the spotlight.
Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker says no matter how the Supreme Court eventually rules, abortion is still safe and legal in this state. But that is not the case everywhere in the Midwest. Now, legislators and activists nationwide are contemplating what reproductive rights might look like from state to state in the absence of Roe.
Illinois State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas said upon hearing word of the memo, she was “stunned but not surprised. I think we had seen indications that the Supreme Court was going in this direction, especially with having so many states removing reproductive rights.”
“Reproductive rights, for me, are fundamental basic human rights. I think when it really comes down to it, if we start to strip away those rights, what else will come?” Pacione-Zayas said.
National spokesperson for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly Elisa Martinez said she believes the draft opinion has a sound foundation and support among Americans.
“The majority draft opinion indicates that Roe should be overturned because of a lack of constitutional support and text within the Constitution,” Martinez said. “I think that most Americans do not support the extreme position that Roe represents, which is abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy. I think that anyone that has concerns about the issue of abortion up to birth in the protections of human life at some point is welcoming the news.”
Martinez said that while younger generations of Latinos might lean pro-abortion rights, she believes Latino values generally align with conservatism.
“I think by and large, the Latino culture, even though it's not a monolith, has traditionally been conservative and pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith. And that's going to continue on I think.”
Pacione-Zayas was among a group of Illinois Latino elected officials who spoke at a press conference to share information about Illinois’ abortion rights status.
“Illinois is still in a safe place. But we wanted to make sure that folks understood the implications of the potential final decision and that we still had protections, but that we also need to prepare for the influx of individuals who will be seeking reproductive health services here in Illinois,” she said.
State Rep. Delia Ramirez echoed Pacione-Zayas’ sentiments in an interview with “Latino Voices.”
“We have to send a message to Spanish-speaking Latinos in the state of Illinois and across the country that we will fight like hell to protect them, to support them, and make sure they have the resources they need in a culturally competent way,” Ramirez said. “Making sure that people know that if … a final decision is that abortions become illegal, literally just across a couple of miles from us, that Illinois will be ready to receive them with Spanish-speaking services if needed, regardless of legal status.”