For many people of color, Roe vs. Wade was still in danger.
Fresno resident Amalia Moreno was not surprised when she learned last week that the Supreme Court had prepared a ruling that would overturn the landmark court case guaranteeing abortion rights. She got an abortion when she was 18, but worried others would not have that choice every time she saw anti-abortion protesters turn up outside a women’s clinic in Fresno.
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“It reminded me that there were forces out there, toiling and working, waiting for the right moment. And now that moment has arrived,” says Moreno, an office administrator for a law firm.
The escape draft of the Supreme Court’s decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, finds that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by constitutional provision.”
The paper addresses complex constitutional law issues, delves into historical background, and considers the extent to which a fetus could survive outside the womb. What the analysis does do not to do is to consider the sanctity of the life of the imbued person.
“Women have always been second-class citizens and even more so if you’re a Latina or a black woman then you’re probably a third-class citizen,” says Moreno, whose parents were Mexican immigrants.
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Abortion has always been a emotionally charged subject, but it is inherently a health care issue and should be discussed as such. Statistics show that there are gender disparities in health, with inequities particularly pronounced among black women and in geographic areas with limited health care options. For example, women are more likely than men to suffer from arthritis, asthma, respiratory disease and kidney disease. These disparities are greatest in southern states (where abortions are more limit) and lowest in the Northeastern states, according to a 2017 study study by the Milken Institute.
It’s not hard to see how health inequalities would worsen if abortions were banned.
Before Roe v. Wade, women died from illegal abortions. In New York in the early 1960s, one in four childbirth-related deaths among white women was due to illegal abortions, while the rate was one in two for Puerto Rican and non-white women, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“Maternal mortality rates are a key indicator of a society’s health and well-being,” states the Commonwealth Fund in its report on maternal mortality and morbidity.
If so, then American society is in peril. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among the world’s high-income countries. Health outcomes are particularly dire for black women, whose maternal mortality rates are three times higher than for white women. These deaths are mainly the result of haemorrhages, hypertension and infections, often preventable deaths. Several health organizations say systemic racism is a leading reason for maternal mortality among blacks.
In New York in the early 1960s, one in four childbirth-related deaths among white women was due to illegal abortions, while the rate was one in two for Puerto Rican and non-white women.
Although Latinas fare much better when it comes to maternal mortality, they face many barriers to getting affordable and accessible health care, even in California.
In March, Family Planning lost an auction move to a larger facility in Visalia, a town in the agricultural heartland of the San Joaquin Valley where more than half of the population is Latino. Community health advocates said such a facility was needed because a family planning clinic in Visalia is always crowded with patients, but anti-abortion protesters fought the expansion even though abortions are not offered at offices in Visalia.
The current health center “has an examination room which is very small. It’s open three days a week, so we’re not really able to see the volume of patients the area needs,” said Lauren Babb, vice president of public relations for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest affiliate. from the country.
Expanded doctor’s offices would have allowed Planned Parenthood to offer primary care services in an area that has about one doctor for every 2,000 people, Babb said.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California plans to launch a “Powered by Pink” bus tour to educate California communities about reproductive rights. The tour begins with a rally in Sacramento on May 14, one of more than three dozen rallies taking place across the state as part of a national day of action to protest the ban on abortion.
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Earlier this year, the State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statewide advisory alert specifying that a pregnant person cannot be sued in California for causing a miscarriage or stillbirth of that fetus.
“It would subject all women who experience pregnancy loss to the threat of criminal investigation and possible prosecution for murder,” Bonta wrote in an amicus curiae brief in support of a woman serving 11 years. jail for the stillborn death of her baby, allegedly caused by her methamphetamine use. She was one of two women in Kings County to face charges.
Less than 1% of infant deaths in the United States between 2015 and 2017 were drug-related, according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics. On the other hand, approximately 10 out of 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
On Tuesday, the attorney general was the only man at a press conference where women lawmakers of color pledged to pass legislation ensuring California guarantees affordable access to abortion and other reproductive health services. to residents and non-residents. His wife, Assemblyman Mia Bonta, revealed she had an abortion after graduating from Yale University at the age of 21 and about to start her first job.
“I chose to have an abortion. I chose to own my body. I chose to make the decision to end the cycle of poverty in my family,” said Bonta, a black Latina woman who met her husband at Yale.
“Such a move will have profound and devastating consequences for our communities as it would deepen the already huge inequalities that persist.”
~ Onyenma Obiekea, Policy Analyst, Black Women for Wellness
Likewise, Moreno says she probably wouldn’t have been able to provide her daughter with a healthy middle-class life if she hadn’t had an abortion when she was 18. She hoped her daughter wouldn’t face the same decision if she got proper medical attention.
“Mija, we cannot take our rights for granted. I’m not going to put my head in the sand and pretend that young people don’t have sex. All I ask is that you do it responsibly because the stakes are higher for us,” Moreno recalled telling his daughter. She advised her daughter to research all of her birth control options as soon as she became an adult.
At Tuesday’s event, Assemblywoman Lori Wilson spoke about her choice to become a mother when she became pregnant as a teenager.
“Planned Parenthood gave me the options, the opportunity to discuss all the different choices that were available to me,” Wilson said. “I felt great strength knowing that I had a choice to decide what my future would be like. I know I was a better mother, a stronger parent, because it was my choice and no one’s. else to have my baby.
Legislators of color at Tuesday’s event stood in stark contrast to most U.S. legislative bodies, representing a truer spectrum of California’s diverse population.
“Such a move will have profound and devastating consequences for our communities as it would deepen the already staggering inequalities that persist,” said Onyenma Obiekea, policy analyst at Black Women for Wellness.
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Governor Gavin Newsom promises to make California a sanctuary for anyone seeking an abortion and to fight for safeguard the right to abortion in a revised state constitution that would require voter approval. This week, he proposed a $125 million reproductive health package to expand access to abortion and other reproductive health care services. Thirteen bills are pending in the Legislature to advance reproductive health care in California, based on recommendations made by the California Council on the Future of Abortion, a coalition of more than 40 reproductive rights groups and advocates. Lawmakers say they will seek to add an emergency clause to some of these bills to ensure the state is prepared if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Judge Alito complains in his decision that deer abruptly ended the political process allowing each state to develop its own abortion laws and “imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire nation”.
However, such a scheme does not exist. Access to reproductive health care is uneven in the United States, often dependent on geography, even within states.
The results of limited access to health care are telling. Mississippi, the state that asked the Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade, has the highest infant mortality rate in the country, according to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention. California, which seeks to become an abortion-rights sanctuary, has the lowest infant mortality rate.
Tellingly, Alito cites a 1732 English case from a publication entitled The Gentlemen’s Magazine to establish what he says is the long tradition of the courts to treat abortion as a crime.
“In 1732, for example, Eleanor Beare was convicted of ‘destroying the fetus in the womb’ of another woman and ‘thus causing her to abort’. For this crime and another ‘misdemeanor’, Beare was sentenced to two days in the pillory and three years’ imprisonment.
the Newgate calendar publication describe Beare’s punishment in the pillory: “a shower of eggs, potatoes, turnips, etc. attacked it from all sides; and it was thought that she would not be shot alive. After exhausting all the ammunition of the above description, stones were thrown, which injured her to such a degree, that her blood flowed onto the pillory.
Despite tectonic advances in scientific knowledge, the fate of women’s reproductive rights, nearly 300 years later, hinges on a case that ended in torture dating back to medieval times.
“We have to stay vigilant,” says Moreno, who said he attended women’s marches and donated to Planned Parenthood. “We cannot go back in time. Too many lives are at stake.”
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