Bee Opinionated: SCOTUS on guns, abortion + Sacramento nurses recount horrors of Ukraine

·2 min read

I’d like to wish you a happy Sunday, but from where I sit, writing this on Friday afternoon, things look incredibly bleak. This is Robin Epley again with The Bee Editorial Board, and I am so, so tired of waking up to upsetting news.

The Supreme Court announced its anticipated decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday morning, effectively ending the constitutional right to an abortion.

Barely 10 minutes after the ruling was published, Missouri banned almost all abortions in the state, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry similarly announced that the state’s trigger law was now in effect with the same lack of exceptions; and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said that state’s ban on abortion after the 15-week mark would be official sometime in the next, well, 15 weeks or so.

Opinion

I had the honor of writing The Bee Editorial Board’s response to the ruling, which ran in our Sunday print edition:

“Given the risks of illegal abortions as well as pregnancy, this ruling will have deadly consequences for those living in Republican-controlled states and beyond. Nor does this misogynistic decision do anything for the families and children conservatives claim to cherish. Families and children would benefit from prenatal and postnatal care, early childhood education, universal access to child care, and parental leave, not a reversal of half a century of recognition of women’s right to make decisions about their bodies.”

California has already announced its intention to become a sanctuary state for women seeking abortions, but many pregnant people across the country — and disproportionately lower-income people and women of color — lack the means to travel to California. Those are the people who will suffer the greatest and deadliest consequences of this ruling.

My colleague, Hannah Holzer, wrote about how the court’s ruling also violated her religious freedoms as a Reform Jew:

“Modern Jewish belief in abortion rights is also, however, backed by ancient teachings. According to Jewish law, life doesn’t begin at conception. This is, of course, in direct contrast with the beliefs of the Catholic Church as well as numerous other Christian denominations — religious beliefs that are not mine but which undoubtedly played a critical role in the decision to strip me of my abortion rights.”

Something that I really appreciated about Hannah’s piece mirrored my own — they both ended with the call to keep up the fight. It’s going to be a long, hard road back. But it gives me faith to see people already taking action.

SCOTUS keeps on hitting

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to strike down New York’s law restricting the right to carry guns in public doesn’t immediately affect California — but it’s just a matter of time before our law is challenged,” wrote the San Luis Obispo Tribune Editorial Board last week. “Look for gun deaths and injuries to escalate if California is required to drop a requirement that applicants for ‘concealed carry’ permits prove they have a compelling need — or ‘good cause’ — to carry a weapon outside the home.”

The Bee’s Editorial Board shared a similar sentiment with our Central Coast colleagues.

What We Saw

Metro Columnist Melinda Henneberger wrote an editorial last week about several local nurses from Mercy General Hospital who traveled to Romania and Poland in the spring to provide translation services for Ukrainian refugees. The stories they brought back are heart-wrenching, and illustrate the overwhelming horror of war, which Sacramentans must not lose sight of:

“Sacramento (nurse,) Ina Demchuk, said that most of us, here and elsewhere, ‘don’t understand how horrific it is. Literally people are starving to death in their basements.’ When the war is over, she hopes to go back and ‘help with all that’s left.’ Meanwhile, Vita Paddubna, an oncology nurse, thinks often about those she saw arriving on foot, ‘dragging the luggage that was all they had.’ She wonders about the little boy of 3 or 4 years who had become separated from his mom, whom Paddubna was able to locate, luckily.”

On a human level, Henneberger wrote, “the need in Ukraine hasn’t abated just because we no longer wake up every day hoping President Volodymyr Zelensky has survived another night.”

Opinion of the Week

“As a 17-year-old, I probably would have felt this was pretty unfair. Then again, at 17, I also felt grades, curfews and having to clean my room was unfair. At 32, I’d rather annoy the region’s teenagers en masse than see them become victims of violent crime.” — Yours truly on the California State Fair’s recent decision to turn away teenagers after 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this year, which acknowledges the fair’s long history of violence after dark.

Got thoughts? What would you like to see in this newsletter every week? Got a story tip or an opinion to tell the world? Let us know what you think about this email and our work in general by emailing us at any time via opinion@sacbee.com.

Keep fighting,

Robin Epley

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