Listen: Answering Questions About New Abortion Laws

Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, joined WAMU’s Sasha-Ann Simons Tuesday on “1A” to answer listeners’ questions about the strict new abortion laws passed by Alabama, Missouri and other states and the future of Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the country. Also on the panel were NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg and Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an obstetrician/gynecologist and an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis who also provides abortion services in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. You can listen to the hourlong discussion here.

Kaiser Health News

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Hundreds rally at U.S. Supreme Court, calling state abortion bans as step backward

Abortion-rights campaigners, including Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to protest new restrictions on abortion passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in eight states.


Reuters: Top News

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SNL: Hysterical Meghan McCain Defends Alabama Abortion Ban on ‘The View’

NBC

Saturday Night Live had so much fun mocking The View a few weeks ago that they came back for more in the Season 44 finale. And once again, Meghan McCain received the brunt of the jokes.

The hot topic of the day was Alabama’s “near total” ban on abortion, and the show’s co-hosts weighed in one at a time before Aidy Bryant’s McCain finally got her turn to defend the all-male Republican senators who voted for the draconian bill.

“OK, can I talk now?” she asked. “OK, I am the only daughter at this table. So I have to say, these senators are actually very good and fun guys.” As she continued to plead with her co-hosts to let her speak, Leslie Jones’ Whoopi Goldberg said, “No one else is talking.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Female lawmakers speak about rapes as abortion bills advance

As more Republican-led states seek to ban abortions, female lawmakers go public.
ABC News: Health

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Abortion bills push women’s reproductive rights into political spotlight

Eight months after the contentious hearings over Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh, progressives fear that the most dire warnings of abortion rights groups are now coming to fruition.


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Abortion Bans Are a Health Crisis. For Black Women, They Mean Devastation

As President Trump promised during the 2016 campaign, he would make overturning Roe v. Wade—the landmark court case giving women the constitutional right to have an abortion—part of his mission. Six states thus far, have passed or are trying to pass draconian laws banning abortions. Abortion ban is bad for all women and a crisis for black women.

It’s well-established that there is inequity in healthcare. “The sexual and reproductive health of African American women has been compromised due to multiple experiences of racism, including discriminatory healthcare practices from slavery through the post-Civil Rights era,” writes researchers in the report Racism, African American Women, and Their Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Review of Historical and Contemporary Evidence and Implications for Health Equity.

Those discriminatory practices exist today. Black women, many with limited resources, often have unequal access to quality healthcare. For example, the above study found that black women often are subjected to unnecessary hysterectomies. Infant mortality, pregnancy complications, and access to vital prenatal care are all issues affecting black women’s reproductive health.

And it doesn’t matter if you are a rich and famous black woman as we discovered when Serena Williams opened up about her life-threatening pregnancy complications. In fact, black woman’s reproductive health status is at such a red alert that Sen. Kamala Harris introduced legislation to address the black maternal mortality crisis.

What the anti-choice advocates conveniently leave out of their hateful, misogynistic narrative is that the same facilities that provide abortions are also safe havens for women to receive prenatal care, sexual education, and pregnancy care. These facilities are particularly crucial to low-income black women and those in rural areas.

Yet, the states with high populations of black women—and some with the worst records on black women’s healthcare—are the ones pushing hardest for abortion bans: Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia. As a result, many of these states are closing facilities that not only provide abortions but other critical women’s health services. Currently, only one abortion clinic remains in Missouri; three in Alabama; and one in Mississippi.

Missouri, Alabama, Ohio are ranked among the worst states for black infant mortality rates in the aforementioned study. From that report, “Mississippi has the largest proportion of babies born with low birth weight among Black women as well as all women (16.1% and 11.5%,  respectively). The states with the next largest proportions of babies born with low birth weight to Black women are Louisiana, West Virginia, Colorado, and Alabama.”

What is the impetus to place women’s reproductive freedom back 50 years? Anti-choicers cite their religious beliefs as justification—bestowing personhood onto fetuses.

But perhaps the underlying reasons are even more sinister. America is becoming browner. With the influx of immigrants from Latin America, and more people open to the idea of interracial relationships, millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations ever.

It stands to reason that the powers that be, the network of old white boys, are panicking over the darkened hue of the American populace; and over the demands for economic and political diversity and equity. And there is power in numbers. Force more white women to have white babies and make America white again…perhaps?

Of course, that is speculation. What isn’t: Abortion bans do not stop women from having abortions. These bans only make it more dangerous and expensive for women to terminate pregnancies. These bans shut down healthcare facilities that provide reproductive services and support that extends far beyond abortions. These bans, while detrimental to all women, will be devastating to the well-being of black women, as we still struggle to gain equal footing in a world that is so quick to hate us.


The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Abortion Bans Are a Health Crisis. For Black Women, They Mean Devastation appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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The Debrief: Abortion fight, chopper crash, Trump immigration plan | ABC News

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Conservative Supreme Court to have final say on abortion

A bill passed by Alabama legislators that would outlaw nearly all abortions in the state is the strictest such measure in the United States. If signed into law, it will face legal challenges and put the focus on the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court, the final stop on all roads in the fight over abortion.


Reuters: Politics

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Alabama Senate passes near-total abortion ban

Alabama sent the most restrictive abortion bill in the country to date to the governor’s desk Tuesday night, with the state’s Senate passing legislation that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Federal judge strikes down Kentucky abortion Law

Newsy

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More ‘heartbeat’ abortion bans advancing in South, Midwest

New abortion bans approved by 4 US states still advancing elsewhere in the South and Midwest
ABC News: Health

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Abortion activists protest Georgia ‘heartbeat’ law

Associated Press

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Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union & Tessa Thompson Among Actors Protesting Controversial Georgia Abortion Bill

Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union, Tessa Thompson

Source: Sheri Determan/FayesVision/Dave Bedrosian/Future Image/WENN

Forces in Hollywood are fighting back with economic power to protest a controversial abortion bill which recently passed in Georgia’s legislature on Friday.

The “fetal heartbeat bill” or formally, the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act” (HB 481) would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can take place as early as weeks 20 into pregnancy, according to the Associated Press.

The measure passed the by 92 votes, just one vote more than the majority threshold needed to pass out of the 180-member House, the AP reports.

It is one of the most restrictive abortion bills to pass and is expected to be signed into law by the state’s newly elected Governor, Brian Kemp. As you may recall, Kemp ran against Stacey Abrams in a contentious gubernatorial race last fall.

The bill is a direct departure from the state’s current abortion policy, which allows women to undergo an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The only exception is for victims of incest and rape, who would still be allowed to undergo an abortion up to 20 weeks, if a formal police report can be produced, and or to save the life of the mother.

Abortion rights activists also signal to a larger fear that the bill could trigger a Supreme Court hearing to overlook federal protections for abortions, most notably Roe vs. Wade, the landmark legislation which established a woman’s right to a legal abortion.

After news spread of the bill passing the vote, Abrams tweeted the following:

“With one horrible exception, Georgia didn’t jeopardize stability, opportunity and leadership for dangerous legislation that treats the lives of women as political pawns.”

“I’ve spoken to Republicans and business leaders (not necessarily the same thing) in the last few days who dismiss the harm of #HB481 as overwrought or, more simply, irrelevant. Because women’s healthcare isn’t their concern. Besides, they say, the courts will stop it,” Abrams wrote.

The legislation created a strong sense of concern among Hollywood’s top movers and shakers, who are threatening to pull production processes in Georgia, a state which has serve as a filming hub for multiple blockbuster movies and shows. Georgia is now the third largest production center behind California and New York.

According to Kemp who shared numbers an event last month, the film industry employs 200,000 Georgians and brings in more than $ 60 billion of economic revenue for the state, CBS News reports.

A memo by the Writer’s Guild Association, petitioned by actress Alyssa Milano, includes a group of over 100 actors who signed their names in protest if Governor Kemp signs the bill into law. Among them were several actors and actresses of color including Uzo Udobo, Tracee Elliss Ross, Gabrielle Union, Rashida Jones, Zoe Kravitz and Don Cheadle.

Milano tweeted a full list of all the actors and Hollywood personas who are against the bill.

The state also faces a legal battle from the ACLU of Georgia, who have promised to challenge the bill in court and challenges from reputable medical associations including the  Medical Association of Georgia and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians.

Mississippi and Kentucky have recently signed similar legislation into law, though they have struggled with ways successfully implement it. And lawmakers in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Ohio have eyed similar legislation to bring to the table.

The bill will undoubtedly have devastating effects on Black women and women from undeserved communities. The infant mortality death rate in Georgia is one of the highest in the nation, a health crisis which routinely affects the lives of Black women who continue to die due to insufficient medical attention during and after their pregnancies.

MadameNoire

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Why Abortion Defenders Keep Showing Up at Clinics That Want Them to Stay Away

Erin Sheridan

On a recent Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the Planned Parenthood in Madison, Wisconsin, for more than an hour; chanting, giving speeches, and occasionally raising their fists in the air. In their hands, they held a hot-pink and white banner reading, “We ❤️Abortion.”

They were members of Madison Abortion Defense, a group whose mission includes countering anti-abortion demonstrators outside clinics. The group is one of at least five similar organizations that have united to form the Movement for Abortion Defense coalition, dedicated to “opposing right-wing, anti-choice protests in the streets” and “reclaiming space and confronting antis at our clinics.”

There’s only one problem: Many of the clinics don’t want their help.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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FDA issues warning to online abortion pill provider

Aid Access, a European organization that provides doctor-prescribed abortion pills by mail, is under scrutiny by the US Food and Drug Administration.


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California sues Trump administration over rule that stops doctors from discussing abortion

California on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a new Title X rule that bars family-planning clinics from providing abortion services or referrals.
Health and Science

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The Briefing Room: Whitaker hearing, Virginia governor drama, Supreme Court abortion law, vote 2020

ABC News

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‘TRAP Laws’ hinder abortion access

Newsy

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New House Democrats’ Focus On Abortion Rights Could Stymie Work With Senate

For the first time since the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the House of Representatives has a majority supporting abortion rights. And that majority is already making its position felt, setting up what could be a series of long and drawn-out fights with a Senate opposed to abortion and stalling what could otherwise be bipartisan bills.

Democrats have held majorities in the House for more than half of the years since abortion became a national political issue in the 1970s, but those majorities included a significant number of Democrats who opposed abortion or had mixed voting records on the issue. A fight among Democrats over abortion very nearly derailed the Affordable Care Act as it was becoming law in 2010.

This new Democratic majority is more liberal — at least on reproductive rights for women — than its predecessors. “I am so excited about this new class,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, told reporters at a Jan. 15 news conference. “We are systematically going to reverse these restrictions on women’s health care.”

Indeed, the House has taken its first steps to do just that. On its first day of work Jan. 3, House Democrats passed a spending bill to reopen the government that would also have reversed President Donald Trump’s restrictions on funding for international aid organizations that perform abortions or support abortion rights. As one of his first acts as president, Trump re-imposed the so-called Mexico City Policy originally implemented in the 1980s by Ronald Reagan.

But the Senate, where Republicans still hold a slim majority, is not budging. If anything, Republican Senate leaders are trying to push further on abortion. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a floor vote on a bill that would ban any federal funding of abortion or help fund insurance that covers abortion costs. Congress routinely adds the “Hyde Amendment” — a rider to the spending bill for the Department of Health and Human Services to bar federal abortion funding in most cases for Medicaid and other health programs — but McConnell’s legislation would have made the provision permanent and government-wide.

When the House was under GOP control, it passed similar measures repeatedly, but those bills have not been able to emerge from the Senate, where 60 votes are required. In the end, McConnell’s bill Thursday got 48 votes, 12 short of the number needed to move to a full Senate debate.

Organizations that oppose abortion were thrilled, even though the bill failed to advance.

“By voting on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the pro-life majority in the Senate is showing they’ll be a brick wall when it comes to trying to force taxpayers to pay for abortion on demand,” said a statement from the Susan B. Anthony List.

The Senate action Thursday was clearly aimed not just at House Democrats’ boast that they would vote to overturn existing abortion restrictions, but also at the annual anti-abortion “March for Life” held in Washington on Friday.

“I welcome all of the marchers with gratitude,” said McConnell in his brief remarks on the bill, noting that they “will speak with one voice on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

But these first two votes are just a taste of what is likely to come.

At a breakfast meeting with reporters Jan. 16, DeGette, newly installed as chair of the oversight subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that reproductive issues would be a highlight of her agenda.

Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the other co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the first female chair of the House Appropriations Committee, announced they will introduce legislation to permanently eliminate both the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy.

In an odd twist, the abortion language in the Mexico City Policy bill passed by the House this month was taken directly from a version approved last June by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who generally support abortion rights, joined with the committee’s Democrats to approve an amendment overturning the policy in the spending bill for the State Department and other agencies. The full Senate never voted on that bill.

Still, neither side is likely to advance their cause in Congress over the next two years. The Republican leadership in the Senate can block any House-passed bills lifting abortion restrictions. But the Senate, while nominally opposed to abortion rights, does not include 60 members who would vote to advance further restrictions.

Where things get interesting is if either chamber tries to strong-arm the other by adding abortion-related language it knows will be unacceptable to the other side.

That is exactly what happened in 2018, when the Senate was poised to pass a bipartisan bill to help stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. House and Senate Republicans proposed a version of the bill — but with the inclusion of a permanent ban on abortion funding. Democrats objected and the bill died.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who was one of the senators engineering the original bipartisan effort, said at the time, “This partisan bill … pulled the most worn page out of the Republican ideological playbook: making extreme, political attacks on women’s health care.”

It is not hard to imagine how such an abortion rider could be used by either side to squeeze the other, as Republicans and Democrats tentatively start to work together on health issues such as prescription drug prices and surprise out-of-pocket bills.

Abortion-related impasses could also stall progress on annual spending bills if House Democrats keep their vow to eliminate current restrictions like those limiting self-paid abortions for servicewomen or imposing further limits on international aid.

Abortion fights on unrelated bills is almost a certainty in the coming Congress, said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. He noted that abortion not only complicates health bills, but also sank a major bankruptcy bill in the early 2000s.

“The only question is how it will emerge,” he said. “And it will emerge.”


KHN’s coverage of women’s health care issues is supported in part by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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New year brings altered landscape for abortion battle

Those engaged in the battle over abortion in the United States are looking out at the thorny landscape and gearing up for what is on the horizon in 2019.


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Egypt’s Ahmed Magdy on Human Abortion and Giraffe Reproduction in ‘The Giraffe’

Young Egyptian actor Ahmed Magdy (“Microphone,” “Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim”) is making his directorial debut with surreal drama “The Giraffe,” in which a nocturnal search on Cairo’s streets for money to pay for a young woman’s emergency abortion intersects with a mystery involving the breeding of giraffes in the Giza zoo. “Giraffe,” which is […]

Variety

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Inside NARAL’s Three-Step Plan to Protect Abortion Access

The midterm elections ushered in a wave of victories for pro-choice candidates, but ballot measures in Alabama and West Virginia reminded feminists nationwide that the fight to uphold and expand abortion rights remains far from over.

That’s why, as ballots were still being counted in some states, NARAL Pro-Choice America announced a new three-step strategy to protect and expand abortion rights across the country. Following a similar move by Planned Parenthood, the organization announced their plans in a call with activists.

This summer, NARAL activists protested outside of the Supreme Court to support abortion access and decry “fake clinics” that deceive women and deny them the full breadth of their reproductive health options. Now, NARAL is determined to mobilize activists nationwide to defend and expand abortion access as Roe remains embattled. (NARAL)

Ideally, everyone would have access to accurate information about reproductive rights—but the reality is that access to education is limited, and a lot of people don’t know how restricted abortion access is in their state. Many more people would be fired up for the cause, NARAL speculates, if they knew that abortion access was at risk in their communities. That’s why they plan to start with an awareness campaign that challenges the false sense of security NARAL officials fear individuals have about Roe‘s future—and galvanize a new body of abortion activists in the process.

After education will come organizing—NARAL’s strongest suit. When push comes to shove, their supporters stand strong, don’t back down and show up, and NARAL wants each and every one of the majority of Americans who support keeping abortion legal to be fighting alongside them. NARAL supporters can support the organization in this effort by hosting Pro-Choice Postcard Parties where family and friends gather to write messages to lawmakers declaring that their priority issues are abortion and reproductive rights.

That organizing and awareness-raising funnels into the third step: meaningful policy changes that uphold, protect and expand access. Private decisions about reproductive health need to be made by women, not by politicians, and NARAL wants members to more actively fight back against abortion restrictions at every level, from local to federal. They don’t just want to secure abortion access—they want to make sure the right to abortion is never as delicately held as it is for women across the country today.

NARAL’s mission is to make abortion access and full reproductive rights a reality for every single women in every single state. They want members organizing and pushing lawmakers to see that a majority of Americans stand with them in that fight—and believe that if they can get enough activists into the streets and the halls of Congress and state capitols, representatives will have no choice but to listen to them. 

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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Students Across California Want Abortion Care on Campus—And They’re Not Done Fighting for It

California Governor Jerry Brown last week vetoed a popular measure that would have expanded abortion access for college students across the state.

Nearly three years ago, students at the University of California in Berkeley began fighting for better access to abortion on campus. The student government ultimately passed a resolution endorsing their call for on-campus medication abortion access, but administrators then failed to act on their demands—so students turned to local lawmakers. 

California’s College Student Right to Access Act, known in the legislature as SB 320, was written by three reproductive justice activists from UC Berkeley. The measure, introduced by state Senator Connie Leyva, passed through the state legislature with overwhelming support. A group of donors even came forward willing to fund its mandate: on-campus medication abortion access for all public college students in the Golden State intending to terminate a pregnancy in the first 10 weeks.

But the fierce and proactive attempt to expand women’s reproductive rights was stopped in its tracks by one man who deemed it inconsequential: Last Monday, Jerry Brown vetoed the act, calling it “not necessary.”

But just because Governor Brown was never in need of abortion care on campus doesn’t mean no one else is. More than 500 students in the UC and California State University systems seek out abortions monthly, and these students would have a much easier time getting the care they need if their university health centers had the means to offer it. Many students have to travel far distances to get to appointments, and, for a medical abortion, usually need to make it to at least two appointments.

Costs go up with every additional hurdle put in front of women seeking abortions—which was the case fo Jessy Rosales, who opened up to Huffington Post about her own off-campus abortion at 20: 

Jessy Rosales was a 20-year-old student at the University of California, Riverside, when she got pregnant. She had used protection and was not ready to become a mom, so she went to her campus health center to ask about the abortion pill—actually a combination of two medications that can safely end a pregnancy.

She left with a list of recommended providers. But the first clinic she called told her it did not perform abortions. And the second was a crisis pregnancy center—a facility that seeks to dissuade women from having abortions.

“I’m a first-generation student. For a large majority of my life, my parents didn’t have health insurance, so I didn’t really know what I was doing trying to navigate through the medical system,” Rosales, now 22, recalled in a conversation with HuffPost.

Finally, more than two months after her positive pregnancy test, she went to a nearby Planned Parenthood health center, where she was able to get an in-clinic abortion. It cost her roughly $ 400—a lot of money for a student supporting herself with part-time work and federal loans—and she was told she was too far along to be a candidate for the abortion pill at that point. (It must be taken before 10 weeks of gestation.)

“Had they provided abortion medication on my campus, I would have been able to get the care I needed when I needed it,” Rosales said.

Two-thirds of UC students and one-third of CSU students don’t own a car; 62 percent of them also live 30 minutes or more from a clinic. Often, these clinics are not open on the weekend, which only adds to their burden. 

Going through with a legal and time-sensitive medical procedure shouldn’t take that much work. Seizing an opportunity to ease the process of managing an unwanted pregnancy is far from “not necessary” for the students who must arrange transportation, cover costs, miss class or skip work to make it possible to access the care they need.

“Governor Jerry Brown, on his own, determined what was a legitimate burden in accessing abortion and neglected the experiences of countless students who explained the obstacles and burdens they faced when making a reproductive health decision as a California public university student,” Adiba Khan, one of the students who led the fight for SB 320, told Ms. “To get elected, he has expressed he is ‘pro-choice,’ but then when given the chance to expand access, to what he has repetitively claimed he believes is a right, he vetoes it. This is the behavior of a coward. He has disappointed thousands of students and denied them better agency over their futures.”

Students from across California joined in Khan’s frustration, taking to social media to slam Brown for his decision after news broke that he was vetoing the legislation.

Advocates and activists from across the country also weighed in, showing solidarity with the students who made SB 320 possible and calling on Brown and other lawmakers to do better by the women they serve.

“At its core, SB 320 affirmed the constitutional right of college students to access abortion care promptly and without delay,” Senator Leyva wrote in a statement. “As the Trump Administration continues to unravel many of the critical health care protections and services for women, legislation such as this is urgently needed to make sure that Californians are able to access the full range of reproductive care regardless of where they may live.”

She also vowed to continue fighting. “In the months and years ahead,” she declared, “I will continue fighting to make sure that college students have access to medication abortion on college campuses. I am hopeful that our incoming Legislature and Governor will agree that the right to choose isn’t just a slogan, but rather a commitment to improving true access to abortion for students across California.”

Miranda Martin is a feminist writer and activist and an editorial intern at Ms. She has written for a variety of publications and been published by The Unedit and Project Consent. Miranda recently graduated from University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a major in Interpersonal Communications and a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She loves to travel, read, exercise and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy.

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The post Students Across California Want Abortion Care on Campus—And They’re Not Done Fighting for It appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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