As we hold our breath waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the fate of Roe v. Wade and watched while anti-abortion elected officials across the country passed more than 600 severe abortion-restriction bills in 2021 alone, it was important to our team to showcase the alternative.
We wanted to tell a different story – one where your school board members, city council members and county supervisors recognize that health care is a human right. That includes a person’s right to abortion and bodily autonomy.
It turns out that we had those stories right in our back yard, told by inspiring elected officials throughout the PPAMM region who wanted to make clear that, in a time when reproductive rights are disappearing in other parts of the country, our communities stand strong for reproductive freedom.
Independently or at the request of PPAMM Public Affairs staff, our champions in elected office started to introduce resolutions and proclamations voicing strong support for reproductive rights and access to health care.
They featured declarations such as one from San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District: “Sufficient access to reproductive health care is central to an individual’s ability to retain autonomy over their body, their choice to have children or not have children, and parent the children they have in safe and sustainable communities.” The school district declaration also called for “actions within our district to increase reproductive health care access, information, and freedom for our students, staff, and district.”
Making the proclamations public began in Oakland with a press conference hosted by Oakland City Council Member Sheng Thao, with PPMM Associate Medical Director Dr. Jessica Hamilton calling on Congress to take action in support of abortion rights. More public proclamations followed in Hayward, sponsored by Hayward City Council Member Aisha Wahab, where city council members heard the story of a 93-year-old Bay Area resident, Muriel who told the powerful story of her abortion before Roe v. Wade, followed by the testimony of PPMM veteran health services specialist trainer, K. Goggin.
More champions continued to stand with us by also making proclamations, including Franklin-McKinley School Board Trustee Maimona Afzal Berta, Sacramento City Council Member Katie Valenzuela, San Jose City Council Member Maya Esparza, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.
Dr. Hamilton described the support by the Oakland community and city leadership as “palpable within the health center... (it) meaningfully impacts individual patient care.”
This is what we wanted for patients and the community – to know that their health care decisions are supported and their right to abortion and bodily autonomy is protected here, regardless of the opposition elsewhere.
We are grateful to these local leaders for being a beacon of light in their communities during such a dark time for patients and providers. Many thanks to the jurisdiction staff and clerks who also made these resolutions possible.
To our supporters and volunteers, please take a moment to thank these champions! Their government websites are linked below to call, email, or give them a shout out on social media.
Sheng Thao, Oakland City Council
Aisha Wahab, Hayward City Council
Maimona Afzal Berta, Franklin-McKinley School District
Katie Valenzuela, Sacramento City Council
Maya Esparza, San Jose City Council
Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
When others choose to sit it out, you took a stand and we are grateful for it.