California, the “sanctuary state” in the United States to exercise the right to abortion

Up to 36 million women of reproductive age look anxiously at the map of USA to know where they will have guaranteed the right to abortion after the Supreme Court revoked this Friday the sentence that constitutionally protected him since 1973.

In USA, 16 states, plus the District of Columbiapreviously had their own legislative framework to safeguard the right to abortion without federal interference, either during a large part of the pregnancy or under the criteria of “medical good faith.”

They are abortion “sanctuary” states like Vermont and Massachusetts, where even having Republican governors will shield this right, or Michiganwhich already announced that it would take a 1931 law to court (preceding the precedent of ‘Roe v. Wade’) to prevent terminations of pregnancy from being prohibited.

Although in these states it is not expected that the right to abortion will suffer after the legal setback of the Supreme Court, the facilities to access clinics and pay for the expenses derived from the process are not always as affordable as in California, standard in reproductive matter.

In the most populous state in the country, with almost 40 million inhabitants, they were practiced in 2020 more than 154,000 legal abortions over the national total of 930,060, according to the Guttmacher Institute, dedicated to research on reproductive issues in the US.

In Austin, Texas, a march against the Supreme Court. AP Photo

“Medical Good Faith”

The people here believe that they should be guaranteed this right as part of their healthcare system,” Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the aforementioned institute, told Efe.

In California it is legal to have an abortion following the criteria of “medical good faith” which, although it does not establish an exact term, only contemplates prohibiting the interruption of pregnancy if the 23rd week has been reached or if the fetus weighs approximately 500 grams, since then it is considered that it could survive outside the uterus.

The interruption of pregnancy is contemplated in the different health insurance plans, It can be paid in a co-payment regime in which the pregnant woman pays between one thousand and two thousand five hundred dollars and it can be free for women with low income.

In this context, experts predict that the trips of women with the intention of abortion will grow exponentially after the presumed limitation of the right to abortion in up to 26 states after the decision of the High Court.

The Center for Reproductive Health, Law and Policy at the University of California (UCLA) estimates that between 8,000 and 16,000 women they will travel to this state every year to be able to have an abortion from now on.

A protests by the ruling of the Court on the case Roe v.  Wade in Los Angeles.  AP Photo

A protests by the ruling of the Court on the case Roe v. Wade in Los Angeles. AP Photo

California Governor Gavin Newsom himself (Democratic Party), announced that he will allocate an additional item of 125 million dollars to offer health coverage, transportation and lodging to those women coming from other states who opt for a Californian clinic to have an abortion.

California has experienced an economic surplus in recent years that could allow it to pay for these new abortions, said Mary Ziegler, a legal historian at UCLA, in an interview with Efe.

This flow of women to California is a “disruptive element”according to specialists such as Elizabeth Nash herself, but the reproductive centers of this state have been working in the last month to adapt and that their clinics are not saturated or interventions are delayed.

Planned Parenthood continues in this work, the organization with the largest number of reproductive health clinics in the US.

Its community affairs manager, Claudia Powell, assured Efe that they have almost restructured all of the 100 centers they have located in California.

The role of clinics

In the process prior to making the decision to abort, family planning clinics such as Claris Health play a fundamental role, where abortions are not performed but other health services and psychological care are provided both to pregnant women and to those who decide to terminate their pregnancy.

“We tried that make a decision confident in yourself because sometimes the step (of continuing the pregnancy or abortion) is taken in a hurry or under pressure,” the executive director of Claris Health, Talitha Phillips, explained to Efe, who openly acknowledged that she had an abortion when she was young.

Good proof of the neutrality of these clinics is the case of Mónica Méndez (30 years old), a patient who went to Claris Health in 2018 to receive therapy before having an abortion, finally chose to have the baby and ended up working in this same health center.

California is one of the states where abortion protection has more guaranteesbut in this “oasis of reproductive freedom” there is still the pending issue of expanding its health coverage to all Latina women and undocumented migrants.

In fact, the Democratic Party has proposed an amendment to the California Constitution so that Under no circumstances can the state prohibit abortion or deny the prescription of contraceptives to any woman who is on Californian soil.

And it is that undocumented Latinas and migrants must overcome obstacles to access reproductive health services because they do not have health insurance or because of the language barrier, Laura Jiménez, executive director of the organization California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, explained to Efe.

He assured, for example, that many women who live in rural areas suffer family discrimination if they decide to abort and also have difficulty doing so, because only 40% of California counties have abortion centers, and most are concentrated in urban areas of The AngelsSan Francisco, Sacramento u Oakland.

Associations in favor of abortion and other civil organizations such as Access Reproductive Justice are now striving to “offer financial and legal support in a bilingual format” to these women so that they also feel that California is that sanctuary of reproductive rights in which other states look. .

EFE Agency


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