That’s been my response to story after story of state legislatures voting to restrict reproductive health access across America. Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Arizona, Ohio, and the list goes on. There’s no doubt we’re under siege, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact we’ve got good news to share from CA! On Friday, a bill that would actually IMPROVE access to safe and legal abortion moved to the governor’s desk. And if you live in California, we could use your help.
California prides itself on bucking national trends. Last year, while other states were fighting against the defunding of family planning programs, our state legislature passed a bill that expanded access to birth control. The governor even chose a Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health center to conduct a public signing ceremony!
Yet even with California’s long history of supporting access to comprehensive reproductive health care, almost half of the state’s counties do not have an accessible abortion provider. This lack of providers means that women in rural areas have to travel hours for services and even women in urban areas face long delays in booking medical appointments.
Jane, a single mom living in rural California, was turned away by her local provider because she was too far along in her pregnancy for a medication abortion, the only service they provided. She found a provider in the nearest city, San Francisco, but even that was 100 miles away and the public transportation available was through Amtrak, which ran only once a day and left later than her appointment time.
So Jane borrowed money from friends and bought a train ticket for the day before her appointment, knowing full well she had no place to stay. And that night Jane slept in a hospital bathroom, saving her money for food.
Luckily Jane was connected with ACCESS: Women's Health Justice, an organization dedicated to helping women facing barriers to abortion access. ACCESS, through its network of volunteers, booked her a room at a local hotel and got her a ticket home.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can urge Governor Brown to sign AB 154 now!
How would AB 154 improve access?
AB 154, authored by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), improves access by authorizing trained and qualified nurse practitioners, certified nurse–midwives, and physician assistants to perform early abortions. The bill is based on a six-year study conducted by the University of California San Francisco which proved that early abortions are just as safe when performed by trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified midwives as when conducted by physicians.
AB 154 provides a new model of comprehensive and better coordinated reproductive care for women. Broadening the types of health professionals who can safely perform early abortions means women can receive a wide spectrum of reproductive health care — family planning, birth control, miscarriage management, abortion, post-abortion follow-up — from the same practitioner, allowing for continuity of care. And as the nation moves toward health care reform, it’s important that all health professionals work to the full scope of their licenses to maximize access to quality care.
All women deserve access to care in their local communities! I hope you join me in supporting improved access so women like Jane will have access to providers they know and trust in their local communities. Stories like Jane’s, remind us why it’s so important we urge Governor Brown to sign AB 154.
Please take a moment to help by tweeting the following:
CA is saying ENOUGH ALREADY! The
#CALeg passed #AB154 to improve #reprohealth access. Let’s lead the way with a signature by @JerryBrownGov
Happy to see #CA leadership on proactive #womenshealth bill - @JerryBrownGov – please sign #AB154! @PPActionCA
References: Learn more about the six-year UCSF Study by reading an article recently published in the American Journal of Public Health.