More Abortion Protections Were Enacted in 2019 Than In Entire Past Decade

December 18, 2019

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The past year has seen an onslaught of anti-abortion legislation introduced into state legislatures. But according to a Guttmacher Institute report published Dec. 10, a lot was done to protect the right to choose, too: More abortion protections were enacted in 2019 than in the entire preceding decade.

While most of the abortion bans and other restrictive legislations that went into law this year have been passed in the South and Midwest, many of the laws protecting abortion have been passed in the Northeast and West. In 2019, 25 abortion bans were signed into law — although all were immediately challenged in the courts — and 36 abortion protective measures have been passed. Additionally, the Guttmacher Institute found that 46 policies that aim to decrease maternal mortality, 13 that aim to increase contraception coverage and access, and 17 that aim to improve sex education were passed in 2019.

Both the increase in abortion bans and protections mark sharp increases from legislation passed in 2018. Last year, the Guttmacher Institute reported that only five abortion protections and  58 abortion restrictions were enacted.

One of the laws that expanded abortion availability this year was passed in California. The state now requires that the University of California and California State University campus health centers provide medication abortion to its students. Jessy Rosales, 23, was a campus coordinator and activist who was a senior at the University of California, Riverside, when she started working with a statewide coalition, justCARE: Campus Action for Reproductive Equity, to pass the medication abortion expansion act.

The movement started with students at The University of California, Berkeley organizing and campaigning for medication abortion on campus, Rosales told Supermajority News.

The campus administration said no.

The fight eventually expanded to campuses across the state. Rosales is now a campus coordinator with The Women’s Foundation of California, a statewide community foundation working toward racial, gender, and economic justice.

“A whole team was created with campus coordinators, someone managing the team, just pouring up and down California talking to students, and then bringing those students to the Capitol to testify and lobby and make sure their voices were heard in this fight,” she told Supermajority News.

The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 11.

Rosales said politicians and activists shouldn’t stop fighting because expanding access to reproductive rights is a long-term battle. “Everyone on my team won’t reap the benefits of medication abortion on campus,” she told Supermajority News, adding the other activists were in the same boat because they’re no longer students. “It was such a beautiful and rewarding experience to see it all come together.”

Rosales added: “The work is not done. The real part of it is making sure this idea, this bill works and it works for everyone.”