Planned Parenthood develops strategy to protect abortion rights

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Planned Parenthood leaders from 24 states gathered Friday in the Californian capital to begin work on a national strategy to protect and strengthen access to abortion, a counteroffensive aimed at push back on restrictions that emerged in more than half of the country after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

Their aim is to emulate the success of liberals in California, where state lawmakers passed some of the strongest abortion protections in the country this year, culminating in statewide elections this fall that would make abortion a constitutional right in the nation’s most populous state. .

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, speaking to a group of 25 leaders in a hotel conference room in Sacramento, along with 30 other online observers, said abortion advocates could channel what he called out the “ruthless energy” of anti-abortion advocates – “but not as a way to hurt people.

“Anti-freedom states have played the long game. They have successfully waged a ruthless and coordinated siege against reproductive freedom,” Bonta said. “It’s time we played this game too.”

But replicating California’s results in the rest of the country won’t be easy. California’s government is dominated by Democrats who support abortion access and rushed to back new legislation this year after the court overturned the landmark 1973 ruling that effectively legalized abortion nationwide.

In Washington, while Democratic President Joe Biden backs abortion, Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate — advantages that could be wiped out after the midterm elections in November.

Even if Democrats retained control of the US Senate, they probably wouldn’t have enough votes to stop Republicans from blocking abortion legislation. House Democrats have already voted to pass a bill that would legalize abortion nationwide, but they were unable to push the bill through an evenly divided Senate.

“We can only go so far with our inner manoeuvres. We also need your outward mobilization to rally support locally, as you do so well,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, said Friday in a video message to the group.

Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in an interview that one of the purposes of Friday’s meeting was for leaders from different states to discuss strategies that have worked to protect access. abortion and create a unified plan in the months to come.

“We really want to learn from each other,” Hicks said.

Participants did not elaborate on their strategies for protecting and expanding access to abortion during the portions of Friday’s meeting attended by an Associated Press reporter.

Abortion opponents are also mobilizing nationally. An anti-abortion group, National Right to Life, has proposed model legislation for states that would ban all abortions except to prevent the death of a pregnant woman. New legal frontiers could include the prosecution of doctors who defy bans, and skirmishes over access to medical abortions are already underway. Others hope to elect more Tories in November to advance an anti-abortion agenda.

Abortion rights groups feel the urgency to act, especially with the bans and restrictions in place in the majority of states. Just three months after the fall of Roe v. Wade said access to abortion in more than half of US states is considered “restrictive”, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

This includes abortion bans in 11 states, two states where abortion is banned after six weeks of pregnancy, and nine states that limit access by other means.

Abortion rights leaders felt emboldened by California’s early success in passing new abortion protections, the result of more than a year of careful planning. In the fall of 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom formed the “Future of Abortion Council,” bringing together more than 40 state officials and abortion rights groups to analyze state abortion laws. ‘State.

They produced a report with over 45 recommendations, which became the basis for a package of 15 bills passed by the Legislative Assembly this year. The bills make abortions cheaper for women with private insurance, create scholarships for students studying to perform abortions, allow some nurse practitioners to perform abortions without a doctor’s supervision, and protect out-of-state sanctions abortion providers and volunteers for performing abortions.

Newsom is expected to sign most of them by the end of this month. In addition to the new protections, lawmakers approved $200 million in new spending that, among other things, will pay for abortions for people who can’t afford them and cover travel costs for women from other states who come to California for treatment.

Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, said in a statement that other states should not follow California’s lead in expanding abortion protections.

“These policies are neither fiscally responsible nor pro-choice since they only propose to pay for abortion, not prenatal care or adoption,” Keller wrote. “Why would any other state want to prioritize abortion over adoption and parenthood? It’s offensive to only offer financial incentives to women on the condition that they end marriage. their pregnancy.

About six in 10 American adults say abortion should be legal in most cases, and access to abortion is becoming increasingly important to voters, according to the Pew Research Center. In California, 81% of California voters say abortion is an important issue for the 2022 election, according to a poll from the University of California at Berkeley.

“Five Americans who sit on the Supreme Court went out and told 330 million Americans that we were going to take away a right that you had,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Friday.

Comments are closed.