Statement on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade should not come as a surprise. While we here in Oregon have protected a person?s right to choose, at least 22 states and likely more to follow, have left millions of people without crucial reproductive care. The Portland JACL is committed to finding ways to support communities of color, the working poor, and immigrants who will disproportionately be affected by the court?s reversal to protect a person?s reproductive freedoms.?

The decision hamstrings substantive due process as a theory to advance civil rights by claiming that such substantive due process rights must have a basis in long standing tradition. And, though conservative Justice Kavanaugh states how our rights protected under the fourteenth amendment are not in jeopardy, these words fall short of believable as he also stated that Roe v. Wade was settled law during his confirmation hearing.

Furthermore, despite reassurances from Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Alito that overturning?Roe v.?Wade?as a Fourteenth Amendment right implicates?only abortion,?their reassurances appear disingenuous at best, if not outright duplicitous. Justice Clarence Thomas,?in his concurring opinion, explicitly?urged that other Fourteenth Amendment rights?cases be reconsidered.?Those?other cases include:?Griswold v. Connecticut, which allows?access to?contraception;?Lawrence v. Texas, which?protects the right of consenting adults to engage in sexual activity without fear of criminal reprisal; and?Obergefell v. Hodges, which?recognizes marriage as a civil right to which same-sex couples are also entitled to. Losing the?federal?right to abortion is heartbreaking but may?foreshadow?the loss of other important civil rights.

Whether it is restricting a person?s ability to travel freely, increased monitoring and surveillance or criminalizing who you love, Portland JACL will remain vigilant for the repercussions of the Supreme Court?s ruling to vacate fifty years of standing precedent. 

Blog Statement

Using Korematsu to Reverse Roe v. Wade is Intellectually Dishonest:

A Statement from Legal Teams Challenging World War II Japanese American Incarceration Cases

As members of the legal teams that challenged the World War II U.S. Supreme Court cases upholding the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, we are compelled to speak out about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization leaked opinion and the use of Korematsu v. United States to justify overruling a major civil rights case, Roe v. Wade. Below is our statement.

Korematsu cannot be used to jusity reversing Roe

ENOUGH. We will NOT be used.

Justice Alito?s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women?s Health Organization seeks to justify overturning Roe v. Wade on grounds that ?Roe was egregiously wrong (emphasis added) from the start? in the same vein as two other notorious Supreme Court decisions upholding blatant racial discrimination, Korematsu v. United States and Plessy v. Ferguson. The leaked draft references a past concurring opinion by Justice Kavanaugh in which he stated that the Korematsu v. United States decision (1944) was discredited because it was egregiously wrong when decided. However, citing to cases discredited for their blatant racially discriminatory underpinnings to justify reversing Roe v. Wade is intellectually dishonest and a mischaracterization of the essence of both cases.

Read the full statement

National JACL Statement

JACL Statement in Wake of Tragedy in Buffalo

JACL Calls For National Action to Combat White Supremacy in the Wake of Recent Tragedy in Buffalo

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs,

Matthew Weisbly, Education & Communications Coordinator,

On May 14 in Buffalo, New York, 10 people were murdered in a supermarket in an attack perpetrated by a self-identified white supremacist. This is sadly yet another attack that has affected communities of color in the last several years; a grim reflection of the history of our nation, in which white supremacy has been an ever-present and violent institution. 

In a manifesto that the attacker posted online prior to the shooting were references to the ?Great Replacement,? a conspiracy theory built upon an anti-Semitic lie that states that Jews are intentionally replacing white Americans with minority populations. This dangerous ideology has been cited by other mass shooters in the past and was one of the major factors behind the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh in 2018, and the attack on an immigrant community in El Paso in 2019. The ?Great Replacement? was also responsible for many of the racist views that led to the scapegoating of Japanese Americans in the lead-up to their incarceration during WWII. 

Also incredibly troubling is the role that the internet played in radicalizing the murderer, providing the propaganda of misinformation and hatred as well as the forum to broadcast his despicable acts in real-time. Virtual content platforms must be more proactive to stop the spread of hate and extremism. The shooter did not act independently, but with the support of a broad network of encouragement, that has been allowed to flourish online. 

White supremacy continues to be a dangerous terrorist movement that threatens our country and our safety. It must be addressed at all levels from individuals to institutions, to politicians, in order to continue to protect the communities which are the most impacted by these atrocities. Attacks like these are sudden, violent, and intended to evoke fear and helplessness within us, but we refuse to be intimidated. 

Prosecution alone will not stop this hatred, it must be at all levels within our county, both public and private. Efforts must be directed towards prevention of the spread of misinformation, education on racial issues, and proper training for response and reporting groups, and should include language access to ensure minority communities are able to effectively provide crucial information to the institutions that are sworn to protect them. We will continue to fight against these threats and demand swift and responsible action from our elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and corporate leaders to hold those who spread this rhetoric accountable and to eventually stop hate crimes.


Portland JACL Statement

Justice Alito’s Majority Draft Concerning Roe V. Wade

In response to Justice Samuel Alito?s leaked initial majority draft for the Supreme Court, the Portland Japanese American Citizens League would like to voice our support for reproductive freedom for all. We at the JACL believe that abortion is a deeply personal decision that a person makes after serious contemplation with regards to their own health, values, and personal sense of ethics. While not official, Justice Alito?s draft could be a harbinger of what is to come- the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Up until now, Roe v. Wade has protected the right to abortion in all fifty states up until fetal viability (about twenty-four weeks). While overturning Roe v. Wade does not prohibit abortion on a federal level, states will be able to individually make the decision to outlaw the medical procedure.

In summation, people with uteruses in pro-choice states will have access to abortion. Socioeconomically well-off people with uteruses in pro-life states will have access to abortion as they can travel to pro-choice States, like Oregon, that will continue to give access to abortion. However, people in pro-life states who are socioeconomically disadvantaged will not have access to abortion. In many pro-life states this population is overwhelmingly People of Color. Limiting rights that disproportionately affects communities of color and poor communities only reinforces the racism and classicism in our country.

Furthermore, contrary to what Justice Alito claimed in the majority draft, the right to an abortion does not exist in a vacuum outside of other civil rights. Roe v. Wade, a ruling based on the Fourteenth Amendment (?No State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law??), is one of several unenumerated rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Other unenumerated rights include the right for people to marry a different race, the right to marry a person regardless of their gender, and the right to vote. Justice Alito?s reasoning for the dissolution of Roe v. Wade does not just undermine reproductive freedom, it also undermines all unenumerated rights as well.

Per Executive Director of the JACL, David Inoue, ?We cannot be a United States of America if not everyone in our nation holds the same rights.?

How You Can Help

Join us in protest on Saturday, May 14 th from 2:00- 5:00 PM: Protest Information
Keep Our Clinics
National Network of Abortion Funds
Pro-Choice Oregon

National JACL Statement

JACL Supports Women’s Reproductive Freedom

On Monday, May 2nd, 2022, an initial draft of a supreme court opinion authored by Justice Alito that would strike down the Roe vs Wade decision was leaked to the public. It is important to note that the right to choose is currently still protected by law and that this is a draft decision from the court. The decision, however, if made official, would overturn the right to choose, protected by the 14th amendment of the constitution under the Roe vs Wade ruling for over 49 years. Erosion of the 14th amendment could then lead to the loss of constitutionally protected rights of individuals including the rights of people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Justice Alito?s draft opinion states, ?Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.? This is language similarly used to describe the Korematsu case in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh in the 2020 case Ramos vs Louisiana and echos a similar repudiation of the Korematsu decision in the Muslim Travel Ban case decided in 2018. Unfortunately, despite the court’s declaration that the original Korematsu verdict was wrong, it has continued to demonstrate its willingness to declare egregious wrongs and continues to trample on individual rights as it did with the Muslim ban. It is critical, therefore, that the court reassess its problematic past decisions to ensure that future declarations are spared from equally harmful abridgments of personal freedom.

This decision comes after many other state-level attacks on the right to choose such as the Texas law that went into effect in September of last year that placed a cash bounty on the heads of doctors that performed abortions after six weeks, which is often before a person even realizes that they are pregnant. Lawmakers in Missouri considered legislation that would allow individuals to sue anyone who aided a person in crossing state lines for an abortion.

The JACL once again reaffirms its commitment to reproductive freedom and the right to choose whether and when to become a parent. JACL highlights that it was 30 years ago that our National Council officially adopted a resolution, titled Family Choice, at the 1992 convention supporting a person?s right ?to choose and determine the course of their lives.? JACL also calls on our elected representatives to pass legislation protecting the right to choose immediately instead of holding out on fundamental rights in order to have more talking points during upcoming election campaigns.

JACL executive director David Inoue states, ?The language of this draft decision from the court is especially troubling for the implications it will have on the potential infringement of other individual rights. We cannot be a United States of America if not everyone in our nation holds the same rights. History has demonstrated that we cannot leave fundamental human rights to the jurisdiction of the states.?