2023: OUR FIRST FULL YEAR WITHOUT ROE
Many of you are likely stunned by the turn of events after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. In ending constitutional protections for the right to choose abortion, the Court may have intended to turn over authority over the legality of abortions and the limits of abortion access to the states. It may have intended to ultimately allow each state to decide those questions for its own citizens. If so, it failed utterly. Instead, SCOTUS unleashed chaos and uncertainty. And undercut basic human rights.
An onslaught of conflicting laws, lawsuits and court decisions followed. All are subject to challenges that defy hopes for clear lines and finality about who may access abortion care, under what circumstances. The tragedy is that whatever the “final” outcomes may be, it is pregnant and birthing persons whose rights have been stripped away and they who suffer. Most adults, 62% according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, say that abortion should be legal in most cases. Yet, citizens of states hostile to abortion rights will have their abortion access restricted, some actually denied access to essential healthcare, while residents of abortion haven states like California will be able to more readily choose whether to parent and give birth and to access the care they need.
The most prominent question before our courts in recent weeks has been the availability of medication abortion and of abortion pills through telehealth and by mail. A separate article in this newsletter looks at how courts are handling the abortion pill case.
At the same time, we are making a great deal of progress in California. True, we do not have the authority to ignore or override adverse decisions made at the highest levels, either in the federal courts or by our Congress. But, as we await the outcomes of their actions, we are taking important steps and adopting significant strategies to protect and preserve reproductive rights in our state.
Perhaps most gratifying and most hopeful is the work we do in our own community. We continue to partner with Women’s Health Specialists to keep our local clinic at 984 Plaza Drive going. We have been providing critical financial and logistical support to that clinic since the summer of 2020. We provided similar support for 14 years at our successful clinic in downtown Grass Valley. The number of locals visiting continues to increase, approaching 150 each month, with room to grow. Timely, essential reproductive services include birth control, pregnancy testing, abortion care and referrals, gender-affirming care and addressing sexually transmitted infections. And our community education and outreach team, Debra and Samantha, are doing phenomenal work, leveraging clinical services and the health information put out regularly by our dedicated social media team, Syenna and Xochitl.
We could do none of this without your support. Thank you all for joining in our commitment to reproductive health, rights and justice, in Nevada County, California and these United States.
Elaine Sierra, J.D.