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California poised to become sanctuary state for women seeking abortion services

Opponents of Roe v. Wade are optimistic that the nation's highest court will overturn this historic ruling in June.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Next year would mark a half-century since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women have a right to an abortion.

Staunch opponents, though, are hoping that before that milestone, the nation's highest court will overturn this historic ruling.

On the eve of the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, thousands of the law's passionate opponents descended on the nation's capital.

Many said they are energized, after the Supreme Court indicated it would likely allow Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, and possibly let states ban abortion completely.

"Our hope is that Roe v. Wade will be overturned and there will be an end to abortion in America," one demonstrator in D.C. said.

"Roe is not settled law," added another protestor in Washington.

It is a decision that could outlaw, or severely restrict, abortion access in 26 states.

"We will never, never back down from attacks on the human and civil rights of women in America!" said California State Senator and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego.

Atkins and other state lawmakers, part of the California Legislative Women's Caucus, made it clear that California is prepared to strengthen access to abortion services for all women, no matter what state they come from.

"California will be relied upon by many people, who will need to seek refuge in our state and the receive the care that they need," said Jodi Hicks, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, estimating that California could become the closest "no-ban" state within driving distance for 1.4 million women.

San Diego Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber has proposed legislation to help cover the costs of abortion services for women lacking insurance.

"With an influx of patients who may not have the means to pay for services, these providers will need extra support," Dr. Weber said.

"I think California has a responsibility and an obligation to be the sanctuary state," said Jessy Rosales, a California state organizer for the nonprofit Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, or URGE.

She hopes other states will replicate California's model.

"We need to keep making these strides, so that other states can follow suit and continue to build more access nationally," Rosales told CBS 8.

The California Family Council has already come out in opposition to this proposed state legislation, saying "This seems to be another example of California legislators' misplaced priorities."

The Supreme Court is expected to make its decision on the Mississippi case, which could determine the fate of Roe v. Wade sometime in June.

WATCH RELATED: Roe v. Wade 49th anniversary: thousands march for life while local leaders speak out (January 2022)