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Sat, Jun

Roe v. Wade–What Do We Do Now?

VOICES

GUEST COMMENTARY - When I awoke to a notification that SCOTUS had overturned Roe v. Wade last Friday, like many Americans, my heart sank.

I thought about all those who would be forced to carry pregnancies. I thought about all who would face serious physical and mental health consequences. I thought about people without resources and support to travel sometimes across multiple states to access safe abortions. 

I also thought about all the woman who faced unsafe abortions before Roe v. Wade, women who had to access an underground network to find a doctor who would terminate their pregnancies, frightened and often alone.

For almost 50 years, people seeking abortion care had some protections, albeit with the Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions. The challenges faced by our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters pre-Roe will not only continue but escalate with the Supreme Court decision. 

With the overturn of Roe, over half of U.S. states have trigger laws, existing laws on the books, or new legislation aimed at not only banning abortion but criminalizing heatlhcare professionals and patients, as well as deputizing private citizens for enforcement. 

Though large swaths of the South and Midwest, women will need to travel across multiple states for abortion care. For women without resources, who are in relationships with domestic abusers, or are minors without parental support, abortions will not be accessible. 

California and a handful of states are committed to being leaders in the fight to protect reproductive rights.

CA Vote to Enshrine State’s Abortion Rights Heads to November Ballot

This November, California voters will vote on whether to amend the state constitution to protect abortion and contraception. To qualify for the ballot required two-third approval in both houses. The State Assembly gave its final approval on June 27.

On June 24, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1666, which seeks to protect Californians from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state. 

California, Washington, and Oregon have launched a West Coast firewall to protect reproductive rights. In anticipation of an influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortions, Gov. Newsom,  Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington committed to set up protections against states that target abortion providers and patients who recieve reproductive healthcare in the three states. 

In addition, the states pledge to “protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries, and arrests” related to abortions performed in the states and will “refuse non-fugitive extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution”.

Pending bills in California legislature include a bill that would authorize experienced nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions to address the influx of out-of-state abortions. SB 1142 would create a state Practical Support Fund to help with logistical costs for women who travel to California to seek abortions, including transportation, lodging, and childcare. 

he bill would also require the California Health and Human Services Agency or another designated agency to establish a website with information on abortion services in the state. The agency would also be required to implement and update a statewide educational and outreach campaign about abortion access.

What You Can Do

  • Join a pro-choice advocacy organization, either locally or statewide, to support political action, advocacy, and education.

NARAL California

Planned Parenthood

  • Donate money and/or time to Access Reproductive Justice. Volunteer opportunities include The ACCESS Practical Support Network, a corps of volunteers who help people access safe abortion care and by providing direct assistance, such as rides to clinic, overnight housing, child care, translation, etc. 
  • Donate to Woman’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP). WRRAP helps “bridge the financial gap for women who seek an abortion or emergency contraceptives”.
  • VOTE, register voters, phone bank. November’s ballot measure could add abortion and contraceptive rights to the state constitution. 

League of Women’s Voters of Greater Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Democratic Party

 

(Beth Cone is a professional writer living in the Los Angeles area. She covers Resistance Watch and other major issues for CityWatch.)