Brittany Fonteno never wanted to imagine the chaos of a post-Roe world.
One of desperate and angry women who asked health workers for an abortion, and then left the clinics anxious with only vague ideas of where to ask for help.
But after Texas passed what at the time seemed like a draconian ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona knew he had to imagine it. I had no choice.
“It’s terrible to think that people may be forced to carry out pregnancies and give birth to unwanted or unwanted pregnancies,” he said when we first spoke, weeks before the Supreme Court overturned the right to ‘abortion Friday. “But we know how this will unfold. It’s not a guessing game.”
So, a few months ago, Fonteno contacted his counterpart, Darrah Johnson, at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in San Diego. Together, along with the staff of their affiliates, they devised a plan to bring order to the approaching chaos.
Both women knew that Arizona would probably make abortion illegal if Roe fell.
The governor is a Republican and Republicans have a small majority in the state legislature. Together, they recently enacted a ban on all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
So instead of abandoning the thousands of arizonens who need reproductive health care each year, just handing them a list of out-of-state clinics so they realize tears that can’t be aborted, affiliates of Planned Parenthood have adopted a model that looks more like a warm delivery.
Like a primary care doctor who sends you down the aisle for a specialist to draw your blood and then go back after the procedure to talk about the results.
This could mean making a referral to schedule an appointment, buy a plane ticket, pay for gas, get a rental car, insure childcare, book a hotel room, or even pay for the procedure itself. abortion.
“It’s about providing logistical support to patients who need to travel to receive the abortion care they need,” Fonteno said.
The intentionality of this approach will be critical in the coming weeks and months, as millions of women begin to resolve the logistics of accessing reproductive health care in a post-Roe world.
Some 26 states are expected to ban or severely restrict access to abortion, especially in the south and midwest. California, led by Governor Gavin Newsom and the top Democrats in the Legislature, has positioned itself as a sanctuary for women seeking the procedure.
And, in fact, a recent report from the UCLA Center for Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy found that between 8,000 and 16,000 more women are expected to travel to California each year to have an abortion. This includes up to 9,400 in Los Angeles County alone.
“I want people in the rest of the country, in many parts of the world, to know that I hope we are your antidote to your fear or anxiety, perhaps to the cynicism that many of you feel about destiny and the future,” he said. said Newsom on Friday.
But just saying we’re a sanctuary, even putting money behind it, isn’t close enough. Especially at the time of a “big divergence” between red states and blue states, as Newsom said.
It is about to be extremely difficult for women to know exactly where to go, how to get there and who to trust. Many women may not even know they still have the right to have an abortion, given the onslaught of Republican rhetoric trying to criminalize it.
This will be especially true for poor black women who can’t jump on a plane or get in the car and drive hundreds of miles, and may not even have internet access.
A family doctor and his resident are doing an ultrasound on a 25-year-old woman Thursday at the Reproductive Health Center clinic in Albuquerque.
“I think we’re going to have to do, and it’s one of the models of care we’re building, a much more targeted publicity, talking to people in the communities about how they can access the information and who they can call,” Johnson said. “Literally a phone number and literally a website.”
That’s a big reason I wanted to partner with Planned Parenthood Arizona.
“We see it’s our responsibility to increase,” Johnson said. “And that’s the way we can increase.”
Of course, increasing has already become more complicated now that Roe has fallen.
On Friday, just hours after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization canceled Roe vs. Wade, Planned Parenthood Arizona announced that it had decided to “stop abortion services because of the complex legal landscape of our state.”
The question is what state restriction on abortion applies now. The ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy that Arizona enacted earlier this year? Or the total ban that was enacted 158 years ago when Arizona was still a territory?
Until state officials give an answer, and there is a good chance the courts will have to do it, Planned Parenthood will have no choice but to reject women who need abortions at their clinics in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson and the surrounding area.
And thanks to the legal gloom over whether it is still allowed to help women have abortions, what had once been a plan to share the cost of sending patients to California has now largely fallen on Planned Parenthood in the Southwest Pacific. For now, Fonteno said his subsidiary adheres to the references.
Fortunately, the California legislature has stepped up legislation – the Senate Bill 1142, written by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – that would create a fund for private donations to cover abortion services, including sunbathing. Solicited by women traveling here from other states. . It’s just one of a bunch of related bills moving quickly to the Newsom desktop.
In the coming years, Fonteno expects up to 6,000 women to leave Arizona annually for abortions. In fact, hundreds of people already do so because it is easier than dealing with bureaucratic hurdles set by Republican lawmakers, such as waiting periods, and listening to a speech designed to deter women from following the procedure.
Most of the women, Fonteno predicts, will drive to San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties, and end up in Planned Parenthood clinics in the Pacific Southwest.
Consider it the beginning of what will most likely be the future of California. With the discovered and far-right tendencies of this Supreme Court, it will almost certainly not be the last time our state will have to strengthen itself as a blue bulwark.
In a concurrent opinion in Dobbs Vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Judge Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should reconsider previous rulings legalizing same-sex marriage and even contraceptives.
In their dissent, Judges Elena Kagan, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “no one should trust that this majority has finished its work.”
In other words, you are not getting used to your rights. That is, unless you live in California.
More than a sanctuary for those seeking abortion, one day we will soon become a sanctuary for those seeking democracy, I suspect.
“Luckily, in California, we have political champions who are willing to be brave and do the right thing,” Johnson said. “But many other states are not completely in that circumstance.”