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Dobbs ruling gets mixed reaction from San Diego religious community

This decision is cause for celebration for abortion rights opponents … but it’s not as black and white as it may seem. Many fear this decision could drive a wedge for people who feel marginalized. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado spoke with a local pastor and a politician who both believe people should come first on an emotional day like today.

While some religious leaders are celebrating today’s Supreme Court decision, it's not so black-and-white for Phil Metzger, the pastor of Calvary San Diego.

"My reaction is mixed, which you might not expect to hear from a pastor of a church," Metzger told KPBS a few hours after the ruling was announced.

While he called the day a victory for opponents of abortion, he said it’s also a day to remember those who are struggling with the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"There’s a whole group of people that don’t see today as a victory," he said. "They see it as a huge loss, and I don’t have to kind of rub that in on anybody like, 'Oh yay for this,' because I don’t want to demonize people that have had to make the hard choice of having an abortion."

Metzger said it’s not just women who are feeling fearful after this ruling, but also people on the margins, including the LGBTQ community.

"It’s a reality that when one domino falls we go how many other dominoes are about to fall," he said. "So I get the fear that certain communities in our state and country feel."

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said she’s been getting calls from people of all colors and creeds who are fearful of what’s next.

"Especially as you see what’s going on in other states — Florida don’t say gay, I mean there is a reason people are afraid and I’ve already heard from our caucus the LGBTQ caucus this morning," she said.

Atkins has been at the forefront of making sure abortion remains legal in California. Ahead of the decision, she authored legislation to amend the state's constitution to ensure the medical procedure is accessible to all women who need it.

Atkins got emotional about women who might have to think about traveling for abortion.

"It’s going to become more of a complicated procedure, it’s going to become more expensive and time is of the essence, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be one of those women," she said.

Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy, the leader of the San Diego Roman Catholic Diocese, issued a statement saying while the Church celebrates the decision, more must be done to support families.

In part, the statement said: "We must emphasize that being pro-life demands more than opposition to abortion. It demands we do everything we can to support families, to provide access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing ... Support for children and families cannot stop at birth.”

Metzger said now more than ever, no matter what we believe, we must reach out and love our neighbor — because chances are we all know someone who has had to make a decision we have not had to make ourselves.

"Every place, I don’t care what institution it is, statistically, somebody in that group had an abortion," he said. "So we have to ask ourselves, 'Are they my enemy?' They're not. And whatever reason brought them to making these hard choices, God loves them."

  • The Supreme Court ruled Friday to strike down Roe v Wade – ending 50 years of federal abortion rights. Roughly half of states are expected to either outlaw or severely restrict abortion as a result of the decision.