Protecting LA as an Abortion Safe Haven
Since the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, the fundamental right to seek an abortion and make choices about bodily autonomy had come under attack in over half of the states. California, and Los Angeles in particular, will be a safe haven for people across the country who need to seek reproductive care. Researchers estimate 4,700 to 9,400 people will travel to Los Angeles County from out-of-state every year seeking abortion care.
Let me state it once and for all: I am 100% pro-choice and I am 100% committed to using every tool available to the LA City Attorney to expand access to abortion within Los Angeles, protect people who seek care from out-of-state, and strengthen Los Angeles as a safe haven for abortion.
Protect Abortion-Related Data from Out-of-State Investigation
As people travel from out-of-state to Los Angeles seeking abortion care, we need to ensure that they are protected from criminal prosecution by anti-choice states. California has passed robust protections that bar health insurers and tech companies from complying with out-of-state subpoenas for data about people seeking lawful abortions in California. Law enforcement agencies are also prohibited from assisting in out-of-state investigations of abortion.
As City Attorney, I will protect City data from use in out-of-state investigation of abortion and I will ensure that our law enforcement agencies do not take part in out-of-state investigations of people seeking save haven and reproductive care in our City. And I will swiftly and decisively file lawsuits against any business cooperating with out-of-state criminal investigations of abortion that violate California law.
Support City Efforts to Expand Abortion Access
Los Angeles County is a safe haven for abortion, and California has allocated $20 million “for the purpose of expanding and improving access to reproductive and sexual health care, including abortion, in the County of Los Angeles.” As City Attorney, I will work with City Departments to expedite this expansion of access to reproductive healthcare in conjunction with the County’s pilot program and support City Council’s legislative pilot programs to expand access to reproductive care.
Sue Organizations Disseminating Misleading Anti-Choice Information
As reproductive care has been severely restricted, there has been a proliferation of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”: anti-choice clinics that disseminate misleading information about abortion and deliver substandard, even dangerous, medical care. These clinics deliberately trick people into thinking that they provide legitimate reproductive care, opening near abortion clinics with similar names and logos meant to trick and intercept people. These clinics then discourage choice by spreading lies about “post abortion syndrome” and offer “abortion pill reversal,” an unproven practice that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called “unethical,” “not based in science,” and “dangerous to women’s health.”
Even in California, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber abortion clinics by 20%. I will use the full power of California’s consumer protection laws to bring affirmative litigation and shut down any crisis pregnancy centers preying on pregnant people seeking care.
Protect the Rights of Immigrants
As an immigrant, it is my core belief that every single person who comes to the United States seeking a better life should have a shot at it. As City Attorney, I will work to make sure that every person who is detained has access to an attorney.
I will work to reign in the aggressive, unconstitutional actions taken by ICE and protect vulnerable communities from unwarranted harassment and detainment. I support the suspension of ICE enforcement and the release of detainees from ICE facilities. I will also file amicus briefs supporting appropriate lawsuits against ICE/CBP.
Additionally, if I am elected City Attorney, I will ensure that prosecutors consider a person’s immigration status when determining how a non-violent but deportable case should be resolved. For example, a DUI is a deportable offense. A DUI is a serious charge -- but, one that hundreds of thousands of Americans with legal status are charged with each year. These folks suffer legal consequences; however, these consequences do not include being ripped from one’s home, family and job or being sent back to a potentially dangerous and desperate environment in another nation. Any case that impacts a person’s ability to stay in the United States will be supervised and signed off on by the departmental head.
The simple truth is that immigrants should not receive harsher punishments than US citizens for their offenses. I will ensure that fair and equal treatment under the law extends to immigration status, alongside other protected categories.
Protect the Right to Protest
The right to protest is a fundamental First Amendment right. As City Attorney, I will not under any circumstances prosecute peaceful protestors. Prosecuting protestors does not serve justice nor does it make our communities safer. As public servants, we have a responsibility to listen to the concerns protesters are raising and commit to working constructively with them towards a solution.
There are several charges that, unfortunately, have often been used by the City against protestors. These “crimes” include: unlawful assembly (California Penal Code 407 & 408), a misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months, trespassing on private property (PC 602), which can be either an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony, and obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic (California Vehicle Code 21950). My office will not prosecute any of these misdemeanor charges against protestors carrying out their legal First Amendment rights – no matter who or what they are protesting.
Health Care is a Human Right
When I was growing up, my family did not have health insurance. Like so many families throughout the United States, trips to the doctor were only made out of medical necessity. In fact, I did not have health insurance until I was 25 years old.
These life experiences are far too common. The extreme costs of health care have created huge inequalities, and it’s time we recognize that health care is a human right. No one should have to forgo medical treatment because they cannot afford it. As Los Angeles City Attorney, I will be an outspoken advocate for single-payer health care. We must pass AB 1400, so that every family in California can receive the medical help that they need without struggling to make ends meet.
Facilitate LGBTQIA+ Justice
As City Attorney, I will be a dedicated advocate for the Los Angeles LGBTQIA+ population. I will work to further build upon the gains that have been made, and foster the community’s growth in which the equal rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals are respected, their voices celebrated and their input valued.
Additionally, I will work with other city officials to implement programs that provide social and supportive services to those who have been the victims of hate crimes based upon their gender or sexual orientation, as well as programs intended to prevent such crimes.
I will also create an accessible and user-friendly reporting tool for victims of gender and/or sexual orientation-based violence and discrimination, which will protect the privacy and respect the wishes of victims, so that the experiences of survivors can be acknowledged and addressed appropriately.
Perhaps most importantly, I will make sure to build a diverse and inclusive City Attorney’s office, which reflects the wide-ranging identities of the people of Los Angeles. We will not be able to ensure equity in the criminal justice system unless the people who enforce that system are themselves representatives of the varied communities that make up our city.
Increase AAPI Community Outreach
I will make it a priority to continually reach out to the wide-ranging communities that make up the Los Angeles Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) coalition. Members of this community have been particularly vulnerable to racialized abuse and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is unacceptable. As someone who has been targeted with abuse because of my religion and the way I look, I know how critical it is that the City Attorney office partners with community leaders and organizations and works collaboratively to address the needs of AAPI Angelenos and protect, build and support our communities.