I Tried to Get an Abortion in a Blue State During the Pandemic. It Was Complicated.
The doctor told me to make a decision—they weren’t sure if they would even be able to offer abortions in the coming days. What if it became an elective procedure because of the virus?
April 13, 2020
Anonymous as told to Becca Andrews
A few weeks ago, a friend reached out to me because she had discovered she was pregnant and she was not sure if she could afford—physically, emotionally, or financially—to have another child. As we spoke that afternoon, COVID-19 was beginning to spread and she was pretty sure she wanted an abortion. Fortunately, that seemed like a fairly straightforward task; we live in California, which is known as a haven state for abortion access. But what unfolded after our first conversation, the barriers presented by health insurance, work, misinformation, and, yes, the coronavirus, show that even in such a place, barriers to care exist. While, of course, it’s still harder to get an abortion in a state like Texas, which is using the pandemic as an opportunity to ban most abortion care, it’s still important to remember that the issue of access goes beyond draconian laws and the number of clinics in any given state. This is her story, in her own words, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Trump administration threatens funds to California over requirement that health plans cover abortion
California officials accuse officials of political grandstanding, say they’ll defend law.
William Wan and Yasmeen Abutaleb
Jan. 24, 2020
The Trump administration on Friday threatened to withhold federal funding from California over its requirement that private insurers cover abortions — a move California officials immediately denounced as a “cheap political” shot on the day the president was addressing the annual March for Life rally.
Top Trump health officials said California had 30 days to stop the alleged violation but did not specify what funds it would withhold or on what timeline it would act. They said their announcement serves as warning to other states with similar requirements but declined to identify which, if any, of those states might be targeted.
Jury Finds Abortion Foes Harmed Planned Parenthood, Awards $870K
November 15, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal jury found an anti-abortion cohort led by David Daleiden caused substantial harm to Planned Parenthood by infiltrating abortion industry conferences to secretly tape abortion doctors and staff – and awarded punitive damages of $870,000.
David Daleiden, an anti-abortion activist charged with invasion of privacy for filming attendees at National Abortion Federation conferences in California.
Daleiden, who heads the Center for Medical Progress, and his co-defendant Sandra Merritt, posed as human tissue procurers for a fake company called BioMax as part of a hidden-camera investigation into the organization.
Planned Parenthood awarded $2M in lawsuit against hidden camera activists
By Jessie Hellmann
A federal jury in San Francisco found that the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress and its president, David Daleiden, broke multiple state and federal laws when they secretly recorded and released videos of Planned Parenthood employees.
The jury awarded Planned Parenthood $2 million in damages, finding that Daleiden and his organization engaged in fraud, trespassing and illegal secret recording.
California Just Became the First State to Require Public Colleges to Provide Abortions
Medication abortion must be available on campus starting in January 2023.
by Marie Solis
Oct 11 2019
California became the first state in the country to require its public universities to provide medication abortion on campus after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the “College Student Right to Access Act,” or Senate Bill 24, into law on Friday. The University of California and California State University systems don’t currently offer abortion on campus.
The 34 universities have until January 2023 to comply with the new legislation, time that will be used to assess each campus health center’s ability to provide medication abortion, a first-trimester procedure that involves administering two pills to induce what is effectively a miscarriage.
In First, California Would Require Public Universities to Provide Abortion Pills
The bill, if signed by the governor, would mark a new way of giving women access to abortion as conservative states tighten restrictions.
By Pam Belluck
Sept. 14, 2019
At a time when conservative states are sharply limiting abortion access, California signaled a new frontier in abortion-rights on Friday with the passage of legislation that would require all public universities in the state to provide medication abortion on campus.
The bill, which would use money raised from private donors to equip and train campus health centers, grew out of a student-led movement at the University of California, Berkeley, and it has sparked the introduction of a similar bill in Massachusetts.
The Best Abortion Ever
In my rural California county, it used to be impossible to get an abortion. When I was 41, I needed to have two.
By Sarah Miller
June 19, 2019
In the rural California county where I live, there’s a decent chance of a tree falling over onto my house (this has happened to several friends), an even better one of contracting the measles (we have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country), and, until very recently, a zero percent chance of getting an abortion.
The year I was 41, I needed two of them. I was no stranger to abortions; I’d had two before, but never in the same year. In fact, 30 percent of the times I had sex in 2011, I got pregnant. So there I was in November, having already aborted 50 percent of that year’s pregnancies, hoping to make it a nice round 100 percent. I just had to decide how.
My second and third daughters exist because abortion was legal and safe
I would not have risked another child with severe fetal defects, as my beloved first daughter had.
By Jana von Stein
May 28, 2019
Many parents-to-be learn at their 20-week ultrasound whether it’s a boy or a girl. We learned that our baby had severe cardiac defects. As my pregnancy progressed, it became more evident that her disorder affected more than just her heart. It would require multiple operations and might be life-defining. In the 23 months she lived, my daughter Sophie endured seven surgeries, became addicted to morphine and Ativan, and suffered more than most people do in decades’-longer lifetimes. Her dad and I tried, along with heroic nurses and doctors in Michigan, Boston and Stanford, to save her life. We failed. We worked tirelessly to give her a good quality of life, but — particularly in the last few months — it was not one worth living.
The doctors weren’t sure whether Sophie’s defects were a result of random bad luck or something hereditary. Her DNA looked normal, but it was clear there was a programming error at some point early in the gestation.
Trump Administration Gives Family Planning Grant to Anti-Abortion Group
By Kenneth P. Vogel and Robert Pear
March 29, 2019
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took an important step on Friday in its push to restrict access to abortion and contraception, announcing that it would give as much as $5.1 million in family planning funds to a nonprofit organization funded by allies of the Catholic Church.
The grant from the Department of Health and Human Services went to the Obria Group, a Southern California-based nonprofit that describes itself as being “led by God” and that aims to siphon patients — and money — away from Planned Parenthood.
They Called Her “the Che Guevara of Abortion Reformers”
A decade before Roe, Pat Maginnis’ radical activism—and righteous rage—changed the abortion debate forever.
By Lili Loofbourow
Dec 04, 2018
There was nothing remarkable about the small woman carrying a box of leaflets—certainly nothing to justify the clutch of reporters waiting for her across from San Francisco’s Federal Building on a July morning in 1966. Still, there they were. She arrived at exactly 9 a.m., greeted them, and began distributing fliers to anyone who passed. There were two of them: One was a yellow slip of paper titled “Classes in Abortion,” listing topics like female anatomy, foreign abortion specialists, and police questioning. The other—which she gave only to the assembled journalists and the five women who signed up for her class that Wednesday evening—described two techniques for DIY abortions. “I am attempting to show women an alternative to knitting needles, coat hangers, and household cleaning agents,” she told the reporters, adding that she had notified San Francisco police of her whereabouts and plans.