Nicholas Goldberg: Karen Bass says she’ll protect Angelenos’ abortion rights. But can the mayor of L.A. really do that?
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was roundly denounced on both sides of the abortion debate on Wednesday as he and his city’s mayor pro tempore, London Breed, appeared before a Senate subcommittee for a hearing on legislation aimed at limiting the partial-birth abortion procedure.
Notably, Garcetti was asked by an anti-abortion activist if he supported the city’s pro-life position on abortion but he refused to answer.
Angelenos have learned for years that Garcetti supports abortion with little or no explanation, but for much of their history, the city’s Democratic mayor has been a staunch supporter of the procedure.
The abortion debate has become increasingly heated over the last few years in Los Angeles, with anti-abortion activists calling on the state to defund Planned Parenthood. Opponents have pointed to Garcetti’s support of other anti-abortion measures on the books, including the recently passed Proposition 62.
“He supports it,” Breed said during the hearing. “I’m not going to comment on whether he supports the City Council’s position on this.”
Breed has been fighting for women’s reproductive rights and women’s full citizenship in the country since 1993, she was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and made the official City Attorney for Los Angeles in 2011.
Breed said she supports women’s right to choose, has never vetoed a bill relating to abortion and is “proud of what we have done.”
But she has said that women should have the ability to make decisions about their reproductive health and has called L.A. “a place where women can decide what they want.”
This has led to a battle with Garcetti, who has repeatedly stated he supports women’s right to choose.
“It’s my position that people should have the freedom to do what they want with their own bodies,” he said on CNN’s The Lead, after the vote on Tuesday. “I don’t think abortion is the answer to any problems that people may have in their lives.”
“I feel like he’s been clear on that, I think it’s up to the voters to determine how they want to vote,” Breed countered during a meeting with reporters.