There are 16 Planned Parenthood locations within 40 miles of Menlo School. There are 161 hospitals, clincs or providers that offer abortion access in California, the most of any state in the country. That’s exactly 161 times as many as six states: Kentucky, Missippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia all have one abortion clinic each.
On May 2, news broke that the Supreme Court had privately voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. Although the vote was preliminary and informal, it’s clear that if the case was ever formally decided, its previous precedent would be overturned and the right to abortion would no longer be guaranteed. However, for many California residents, particularly those of us born in a post-Roe world, the news is disheartening, because other states under the same national identity do not have access to this right, but it is difficult to get angry when the overturning doesn’t directly impact us.
Accessible abortion is far from a novel concept in California; in 1967, long before Roe v. Wade was even conceived, California legalized abortion. In 2022, as the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade start to dissolve and the landmark ruling moves closer to getting overruled, California intends to amend its Constitution to protect abortion access across the state. Abortion in California has been and will likely be protected for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that the overruling of Roe v. Wade should be another blip on our radar as we lounge around blissfully in a democrat-protected, blue-blooded state. Californians need to step up and look around. The striking down of Roe v. Wade has displayed the worst of America’s political system, including the weaknesses of the electoral college and showed us the flaws that run deeper than one Supreme Court case.
The Supreme Court is becoming radically political, and public opinion of the court is decreasing, according to a report from Pew Research Center. More importantly, the striking down of Roe v. Wade has left unparalleled individual power to the states; 13 states have trigger laws prepared to ban abortion when Roe v. Wade is overturned, but other states, such as California, would only increase access. California intends to market itself as an “abortion haven” and Gov. Gavin Newsom has led the charge to cement that status, creating committees and coalitions to improve access to abortion. Abortion, already a controversial issue, will be sharply divided between states who support abortion and states who want to prevent it. America will become a nation divided on an issue that 59% of people actually agree on, according to the Pew Research Center.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans agree that abortion should be legal in most or all cases yet our Supreme Court is striking down the very law that protects that right. The Supreme Court currently has a six judge conservative majority, of which three justices were appointed during Donald Trump’s presidency. Donald Trump won only the electoral college and not the popular vote, yet won the presidency, a feat only attainable due to the lopsided nature of the electoral college. So a president that didn’t have the majority support of the country appointed three conservative justices who would ultimately overrule a law that has a majority of support from the country. That’s a flaw in the system.
The electoral college and the Supreme Court need changing, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade has only proved that. Californians have a duty, as residents of the state with the most abortion access, to fight for the rights being dissolved in Roe v. Wade, protect and service the people in states where abortion is outlawed and ensure that the systems that allowed the case to be struck down are broken down themselves.