Make California a national beacon for access to reproductive health care

By Cristina Garcia

Councilor Cristina GarciaD-Bell Gardens, is president of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, which represents women, children and families across California and advocates.

Nancy Skinner, Especially for CalMatters

State Senator Nancy SkinnerD-Berkeley, is vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

In Ohio, a 10-year-old had to cross state lines to get life-saving abortion care.

In Texas, doctors who perform abortions now face potentially life sentences.

And in Missouri and 11 other states, abortion is now illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June in which Roe v. Wade was destroyed, a radical and dangerous forced birth policy has been pushed across the country. More than a third of American women now live in states with draconian anti-abortion laws that prevent access to care and put the health and well-being of women and families at great risk.

We saw this dystopian future coming: a year ago, the signals were clear that the Supreme Court was intent on overthrowing Roe. In California we were ready.

With the support of Governor Gavin Newsom and leaders in the legislature, more than 40 organizations — healthcare providers, reproductive rights and reproductive justice advocates, legal and policy experts, researchers and advocates — have banded together to form the California Future of Abortion Council.

The council got to work, identifying barriers to abortion services and making recommendations for policy proposals to support fair and affordable access to abortion care for Californians and all those seeking care here. And the Legislative Women’s Caucus — women members of the Assembly and state senators — responded enthusiastically, turning more than a dozen council recommendations into 15 bills to ensure our state is ready to meet this moment.

Last month, the legislature gave final approval to this comprehensive package of legislation, which is now on Governor Newsom’s desk. The bills, drafted with input from longtime advocates of reproductive health, rights and justice, work together to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care here in California and ensure protections, including abortion care.

They also guarantee robust access to reproductive care for people from other states seeking abortions here because of increasingly strict bans in their home state.

In particular, the bills drafted by members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus address obstacles to getting abortion care in California, such as cost and access to crucial and unbiased information. They also strengthen civil and criminal protection for patients and healthcare providers and invest in abortion providers. We are proud that these bills recognize important historical inequalities in health care and focus on the reproductive health needs of black, indigenous and other people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, rural people, youth, immigrants and people with disabilities. a low income.

In this moment of national crisis, California must be a light of hope. Hundreds of millions of people, including millions of people of childbearing age, live in states where reactionary politicians are determined to abolish body autonomy and abolish rights.

People are scared. They’re confused. They are desperate. And they will continue to need access to abortion care regardless of what radical politicians or the conservatives on the Supreme Court say or do.

We know California can be a safe, welcoming, and affirming place for them to get the care they need. The bills for the Legislative Women’s Caucus would make this vision of California a reality.

Earlier this summer, Governor Newsom signed some of these bills, along with the state budget for 2022-23, which included a record $200 million to protect and improve reproductive care and abortion services in California.

We now call on the governor to sign the rest of the bills in the Legislative Women’s Parliament as soon as possible. You can weigh on the invoice package here.

There is too much at stake to fail and the time for half measures is over. We must act now in the interests of Californians and those seeking refuge in the Golden State.

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Cristina Garcia has written about it before ecological justice.

Make California a national beacon for access to reproductive health care

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