Activists and political leaders in the Bay Area joined thousands across the country May 21 to organize against restrictive nationwide changes to abortion law and gender-based services.
The #StopTheBans movement was launched in response to Alabama’s sweeping ban on abortion without exceptions for rape or incest. Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah have also posed challenges to Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision legalizing abortion in 1973.
Federally, President Donald Trump’s administration has brought forth rules to restrict funding to organizations that provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood.
The organization also provides reproductive services such as STD prevention, cancer screenings and contraception, and receives federal moneys from the family planning Title X program.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez was joined by a representative of Planned Parenthood Mira Monte on Tuesday morning (May 21) in San Jose to emphasize the rule’s impacts. The clinic is the largest Planned Parenthood facility supported by Title X funds in the Bay Area.
According to a study by county staff, Trump’s law could cut Planned Parenthood services to over 200,000 low-income Santa Clara County residents. If the changes are upheld, the county may attempt to fill this deficit with its own money.
Planned Parenthood representatives also stood alongside city leaders on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, and attendees held up posters saying, “Together We Fight for All.”
“San Francisco stand(s) united against these attacks on women’s rights,” Mayor London Breed said in a tweet. “We must #StopTheBans and ensure that healthcare choices remain between a woman and her doctor.”
The abortion changes have touched a nerve nationally and in Democratic states, where small groups of “pro-life” activists have largely been drowned out by “pro-choice” activists and leadership.
The protests have been accompanied by legislation and financial commitments to women’s services. In Santa Clara County, supervisors last week pushed forward a $5 million fund for sexual assault survivors, and the state Legislature advanced a bill that could mandate free “abortion pills” at public universities.
Supervisor Vallie Brown, who organized the rally in San Francisco, is now asking that the city attorney draft legislation to limit the city’s business with states that ban abortion.
“We won’t fund disrespect. We don’t fund discrimination. And we will stand up to policies that put women in danger,” Brown said in a tweet.