Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SoCal Fem Feature: California Trying to Expand Reproductive Health by Allowing More Early Abortions

*Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post yesterday but decided to wait until today to publish it in case I changed my mind. See, the abortion debate is such a polarized and politicized subject that it has the ability to end relationships; being aware of who some of my readers are (Hi Grandma!) I worry about voicing my beliefs because I don't want to alienate them or myself but I also feel the need to embrace activism and speak up about issues that affect women - thus my Catch 22. I've decided to go ahead and publish the post and just tweak some of the language I originally used, as my goal here isn't to offend but to engage.

Yet another reason I'm happy I moved to California: women's rights are improving here instead of declining like they are in Texas, Ohio, and, most recently, Wisconsin. The right to choose is a fundamental human right, especially when that choice relates to an individual's own body, pregnant or not. Those who work to lessen or completely take away a women's right to choose are not only sexist but vehemently anti-choice. So it is with open arms that I welcome AB 154, a bill lead by San Diego Assemblymember Toni Atkins that was approved by the California State Assembly this past May and is currently awaiting Senate decision.

If passed, AB 154 would improve the lives of many Californians who do not live in a county where abortion is available (nearly half the counties in California) by removing the obstacles for receiving first-trimester abortions due to travel time and difficulties in obtaining appointments for an abortion in another county - such as complications with scheduling the appointment and unfamiliarity with the medical office and staff. The bill would make life better for women, who - for personal and private reasons regarding their own health, which should be of no one else's concern - decide to have an early-term abortion by allowing nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and nurse midwives to perform non-surgical abortions, in addition to the medication abortions they are currently, and only, allowed to administer.

According to Atkins: “Women need quality health care in their own communities and without excessive wait times. This is particularly true with abortion services, which are cheaper and less complicated earlier in a pregnancy.  My bill improves the lives of women and their families.”

The critics of the bill (the Catholic church and other proponents of patriarchy) argue repetitively that the bill will harm more women than help because, they assume, the nurse practitioners, PAs, and nurse midwives will not be properly trained in these non-surgical abortion procedures (such as aspiration) so they'll probably harm the women who decide to go through this "elective" procedure ("keep in mind that in those California counties without an abortion clinic, there are probably no hospitals offering knee or hip replacement either as they are also elective medical procedures"). These are the same people who would rather a woman bear a child she doesn't want, even if it complicates her own health (physical and mental) because they think that fetuses deserve more rights than women. Like the people manipulating an eleven year old Chilean girl who was raped by her mother's partner to have his baby because of Chile's archaic abortion laws. When that baby is born and that mom-child needs financial help to raise said baby where will all these "pro-lifers" be? Having privilege tea and hypocrisy crumpets with their church group, bitching about welfare moms. Look, If a woman is determined to have an abortion she will, be it via an overdose of drugs or a coat hanger. Allow them the dignity to elect a safer method.

Thank goodness for science, research, and education because without them we wouldn't have the facts.
Such as this: First trimester abortions are just as safe when performed by trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives as when conducted by physicians, according to a new six-year study led by UCSF (The University of California San Francisco). 

And this: Nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants train at participating sites that have extensive experience in abortion provision and training. Each trainee completes didactic and clinical training (to competency standards) in first-trimester aspiration abortion under the supervision of a physician trainer at a designated training site.

And also this: The lack of access effects urban and rural women alike. By authorizing trained health professionals who are competent to provide care, this measure would allow women to receive care locally from advanced trained practitioners they already know and trust through a more responsive health care delivery system.

So let's hope the senate passes this bill: It's the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

What else has this SoCal Feminist been reading lately? 

Governor Brown signed a bill allowing victims of sexual assault and kidnapping to have up to two people help and support them during testimony.

Doctors sterilized hundreds of female inmates in California without state approval. If you click this link be forewarned that the comments are infuriating. 

SoCal Surf Dog's 8th annual surf competition to be held in September. I wonder if that's enough time to get Kaya and Bear in a wave?

A social justice radio station has launched in San Diego, 89.1 FM.

The Sacramento Food Bank is badass, initiates a farm-to-fork food bank using 100% local farmers.

San Diego's public radio station, KPBS, started a weekly series on the Affordable Care Act, called Second Opinion, so the public can find the answers they're looking for regarding the new law, because knowledge is power ya'll! The most recent question was about the benefits legal, non-US citizens have under Obamacare.

It's legal to practice yoga in San Diego public schools after all. 

A proposal to ban puppy mills in San Diego is being considered by the City Council right now. Hooray! Now go hug your rescue dog. UPDATE: Puppy Mills have successfully been banned!

30,000 California prisoners begin a hunger strike in opposition of inhumane treatment. I hope they don't end up with the same force-feeding fate as the Guantanamo prisoners.

Asshole police in LA shoot and kill a Rottweiler, protests ensue. Yes there's a video, no I didn't watch it, nor do I plan to. Way too sad. :(

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