Right To Abortion
When California voters go to the polls on Nov. 8, they will have the chance to vote on a key issue of bodily autonomy in a proposition that makes reproductive freedom a constitutional right in the state.
The proposition seeks to protect the abortion rights that have existed for the past 49 years. The U.S. Supreme Court struck a blow at bodily autonomy when it overturned the Roe v. Wade decision in June and gave states the power to make rules about abortion. Roughly half the states quickly imposed tighter restrictions on abortion than have existed for the past 49 years. Meanwhile, access to health care in America is unequal due to poverty, lack of insurance and inadequate transportation. Women of color are the most vulnerable to these problems.
So far, four states have imposed restrictions on abortions, such as making them illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy, instead of 24 weeks under Roe v Wade. Another 13 states have established even more restrictive laws, such as banning abortion at any time during pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. Another eight states haven’t made new restrictive laws on abortion yet, but plan to soon. And in 25 states abortions remain legal, some with no gestational limit.
As a result, in a matter of only a few months, abortion is now legal in only half of the states.
Why does this matter?
Women residing in states where abortion has become illegal have to seek abortions in alternative ways. One option is to travel to a state where abortion remains legal, and have the procedure there. But not everyone can afford to travel out of state, let alone leave behind their family and possibly other children. In fact, most women who seek abortions live in poverty, according to Patty Housman at American University in Washington, DC. This leaves many women with no other choice but to perform an unsafe abortion at home or to seek an illegal abortion somehow. Women of color are the most vulnerable because they lack knowledge about and access to contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based research institute that aims to improve sexual and reproductive health.