Every woman in my life, including myself, has had a pregnancy scare. What felt like cramping, never-ending nausea, and dread in the pit of my stomach are all symptoms of a period and of pregnancy. Their uncanny similarity only added to my stress, causing me to miss a day of school and go days without eating.
Like so many others, I had taken all possible precautions. All of this came to a screeching halt when I fainted from malnutrition a few days later in class, then finally had my period. In the back of my mind I always thought of abortion as a final resort. I was young, and I am still young. I have yet to build a career or even graduate with my degree. I thought to myself, “I’m not done growing.”
The landmark abortion rights case, Roe v. Wade was overturned in the 6-3 decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, 2022. This ruling revokes the constitutional right to an abortion, returning the issue to be decided by individual states.
While access to abortion in California remains protected and a top priority of state officials, that is not the case in the rest of the country. Traditionally conservative states have already enacted near-total bans on abortion, while others have created ballot initiatives to let voters decide.
Dobbs not only affects those who wish to end their pregnancies, but also those who need a medical abortion for complications such as ectopic pregnancy, premature ruptured membrane, and miscarriages. Low-income pregnant people in states where abortion is outlawed will struggle to obtain necessary medical procedures without the funds to travel to states where it remains legal.
The all-too-familiar experience of a missed period, the stomach- turning anxiety of waiting long enough to take a pregnancy test, just got a lot more difficult for pregnant persons across America to manage.
This November, there will be a proposition on the ballot to amend the California state constitution to prevent the state from interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom, including their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion or utilize contraceptives. Proposition 1 can make our state a safe haven for those in states where abortion remains illegal.
I was born and raised in California, and the immense privilege I hold as a resident of this liberal state has afforded me rights that I have always considered secure, rights that are not secure for students across the nation. I am privileged to be a student at UC Santa Cruz, where access to reproductive health services is currently available.
Abortion heavily impacts students, with nearly 7 in 10 abortion patients in the U.S. being aged between 18-29. Think of your peers, the people in your classes when you vote this fall and when you see Proposition 1 on your ballot.
In Kansas, voters turned out in record numbers on Aug. 2 to reject a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have outlawed abortion. This upset victory comes as a shock, allowing the state to act as a beacon of reproductive freedom in the Midwest.
The results of the referendum in Kansas bring to light how important voting is. In a historically Republican state, with a Republican supermajority in its state legislature, reproductive freedom prevailed. None of this would have been possible without political mobilization and organization.
The situation in California is very different since the state, for now, is safe from abortion bans. This doesn’t mean that California voters shouldn’t do their work beyond the means of the state, but should continue to push for national changes.
Now is not the time to get complacent for rights we think are secure; now is the time to make them secure for everyone across the country. It might be the first election that you are eligible to vote in — get involved. Don’t wait until the presidential election to make your voice heard.
Register to vote here.