Auburn councilmembers voice support for abortion access

The council will vote on the resolution on Sept. 19.

In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Auburn City Council discussed a resolution Sept. 12 to affirm the city’s support for access to abortion and marriage equality.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal abortion rights. Washington is one of 10 states that expanded access to abortion following the ruling. On the other hand, 11 states, including Idaho, have since made abortion illegal.

Deputy Mayor James Jeyaraj introduced the resolution to the council. The resolution will be voted on during the next council meeting on Sept. 19.

“On July 24, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, holding that the due process and equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not apply to the individual right to safe and legal abortion,” Jeyaraj said. “This right that women, trans men and non-binary people who can become pregnant have had for the last 50 years has been taken away from them in July.”

Jeyaraj noted that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment threatens marriage equality, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade disproportionately affects people of color, people with disabilities and low-income communities.

Resolution 5679 expresses the city council’s support for an individual’s right to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion and marriage equality. The resolution also shows the city council’s support for amendments to the Washington state and the U.S. Constitutions to codify those rights.

Councilmembers Kate Baldwin, Yolanda Trout-Manuel, Larry Brown, Chris Stearns and Bob Baggett all voiced their support for the resolution after Jeyaraj introduced the resolution.

“I also would like to support this,” Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel said. “I personally was affected by this, not myself, but within our family. A 13-year-old was raped and found out that she was pregnant. If it wasn’t for the abortion law, she would have been carrying this child and now she’s a grown woman after having the trauma of having an abortion, but she is so happy that she did it because now she can make her own decisions on having a child on her own.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the state recognizes that people of any age have the right to choose or refuse to have an abortion, and requires all state-regulated health care plans that cover maternity to also cover abortion services.

“The right to control your own body, in my view, is a fundamental human right, so I’m glad to have this chance to support it,” Councilmember Chris Stearns said.