State of Abortion

As we look towards an initiative in the state of Arizona, we asked our interns to look at some other states, particularly what the possibilities are if we could create legislation that valued bodily autonomy.  Here is the result of their research:

Altina – Intro and South Carolina

Women have been fighting for basic human rights for decades. Roe v Wade was supposed to be one of the ‘wins’ for women. A small bit of body autonomy, no one, especially a man — should control when and where we have children. As of today, that would have been 50 years ago. But here we are, one year after the supreme court overturned the ruling, and we are fighting for it again. So much so, women now think of these new laws when it comes to where they live. College-aged girls think of where they go to school. Mothers think of where they raise their daughters. My mother and some of my sisters live in a state where I worried if their rights would be protected or become illegal (again).

South Carolina. One of the most conservative states in the South, where it can be said that abortion is legal, but with its limits. In May there was a push for a ban of six weeks, but it was overturned. You have up to 22 gestation to have a legal abortion. This comes with limitations after the beginning of the third trimester and for minors. Especially if they are seeking an abortion without parental agreement. In some cases it may be needed.

Adrienne – Florida

When looking at abortion access and permissions across the United States, there’s

categories between full access and abortion being illegal. With Ron DeSantis, the governor of

Florida in office currently and during Roe v Wade, this brings into question how Florida’s

abortion laws look like. Florida has become a considerably more right-wing state with a majority of Republican voters. Conservative states tend to have stricter abortion laws, Texas and most southern, Midwest states for example. The law had been fifteen weeks state protected in Florida. It was just in these last weeks that Ron DeSantis, quietly signed a law to put a ban of abortions after 6 weeks.

Janice – Current Law in California

The state of California has expanded abortion laws. Under the California Constitution in 1969, there were protections for abortion rights even before Roe v. Wade granted access nationally. Additionally, in November 2022, Californians approved Prop 1 which added contraception and abortion rights explicitly to the state Constitution. Their list of protections includes clinic safety, access to healthcare practitioners, statutory protections for abortions, and public funding for abortions. However, parental/legal guardian consent is still required for minors to acquire an abortion. The state has also pledged approximately 20 million to establish the Los Angeles County Abortion Access Safe Haven Pilot Program, which works to provide financial assistance to those seeking abortions in the state of California.

TJ – California History

In the US, California has the strongest state-wide protections for reproductive rights. The history of California’s abortion initiative begins in 1967 when the California Legislature passed the Therapeutic Abortion Act. This made California one of the first states to revise the abortion legislation that had been stagnant for centuries. Three years after the initial Roe v Wade decision, the California Supreme Court granted women the right to choose to bear children. In 1972, California’s Constitution was amended to give women the right to privacy and in 2002, California enacted the Reproductive Privacy Act which gave women the right to choose to bear a child or to choose and to obtain an abortion. California not only protects abortion rights but also makes them more accessible. California’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (FPACT) program provides funding for women in need of abortions. It is the legacy of California’s abortion initiative across generations that allows Californians access to reproductive rights: the right to privacy, the right to choose to get an abortion and to choose the provider without parental consent, the right to access.

Yunmeng – California and Addressing Cost Barriers

California is one of the Reproductive Freedom States in the United States after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. California Governor Gavin Newsome commissioned reproductive health, rights, and justice organizers and advocates to collectively create the California Future of Abortion Council (FAB Council) in 2021 to craft a historic legislative package that addresses the national health crisis spreading across the states and positioned the State as the national leader on reproductive health. The FAB Council committees include the National Health Law Program, Access Reproductive Justice, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-choice California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, and Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH). Not only were they release a blueprint outlining 45 recommendations policymakers can implement to improve both Californians’ and non-Californians’ access to abortion care, but they also guaranteed 15 laws in California addressed four different categories: Addressing Cost Barriers; Workforce Development; Legal Protections; and Health Equity.

Financial barriers are crucial limitations to a patient accessing abortion care due to the high cost of operation fees. There are many patients who are facing financial difficulty in accessing abortion care and sexual health care. Four bills addressed cost barriers that require state-licensed commercial health plans and insurers to cover abortion care without limitations. They were also providing grants to providers who offer free reproductive and sexual health care to low incomes and lack health care coverage for patients in State and out of State. With these bills, low-income patients and immigrants will have the opportunity to access care without limitations.

Abortion providers need sustained support and stable infrastructures to solve the number of abortions increasing and ensure providing quality abortion services to patients. With the increasing of abortions, California needs more providers and nurses in clinics and hospitals. They expect to have facilities to take charge of recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse and culturally competent workforce of healthcare providers to provide reproductive health services in underserved areas of California and expanding the permissions of certified nurses and allowing them to provide first-trimester abortion independently without physician supervision to solve the lack of providers in clinics.

Some bills signed into law prevent the prosecution of pregnancy losses and health equity. Criminalization of pregnancy losses judges people who seek abortions and deters them from seeking care; therefore, the FAB council wrote several bills to ensure protections for both patients and providers in California from civil liability—enhancing privacy protections for medical records related to abortion care against disclosures to law enforcement and out-of-state third parties seeking to enforce hostile abortion bans. There is a large number of Black, Indigenous, Latine, and AAPI communities continuously facing higher rates of inequitable access to abortion care, information, and related services; the FAB council suggests California establish the Los Angeles County Reproductive Safe Haven Pilot Program to support innovative approaches and patient-centered collaborations to safeguard patient access to abortion, and creating freedom fund to support community-based organizations to provide medically accurate, culturally-congruent, comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education to disproportionately impacted communities.

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