High stakes for women’s health

The first test on on abortion rights since Neil Gorsuch joined the Supreme Court

The author, a Chico resident, is a Chico State alum and former small-business owner.

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate is 88 percent white Christian men with an average age of over 60. Through their collective ignorance and unfettered arrogance, they have been hell-bent on passing legislation that controls women’s personal health issues, using morality to ignore the risks associated with sub-par medical treatment.

An anti-abortion tool of the far right is faith-based crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), a fast-growing industry that relies heavily on misleading or outright lying to women about reproductive health care in order to dissuade them from having abortions.

There are more than 3,000 CPCs around the country. They sometimes offer ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and free diapers, often masquerading as abortion clinics or licensed medical facilities. It is quite common that there are no doctors or licensed medical professionals on the premises. Funded mostly by the anti-abortion movement, many CPCs also receive taxpayer money from state governments.

Highway billboards lure women in with messages such as: “Pregnant? Scared? We offer confidential counseling.” However, these centers don’t offer anything of the kind. Rather than counseling on the full range of reproductive options, they push the myths that abortion leads to suicide and drug addiction; that condoms don’t work because they’re “naturally porous”; and that birth control causes hair loss, memory loss, headaches, weight gain and even breast cancer.

California’s 2015 Reproductive FACT Act compels CPCs to post a notice that the state has programs to subsidize comprehensive family planning services. CPCs without medical licenses are also required to disclose the fact that there are no medical professionals on the premises.

This law has been challenged by anti-abortion groups and oral arguments were heard by the Supreme Court on March 20. A decision is expected by the end of June. The stakes are high because it’s the first test on abortion rights with Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch on the bench.

Once again, women’s self-determination is threatened by an all-white male conservative majority. I fear they will follow in the footsteps of federal- and state-led Republican majorities and ignore the rights of women in favor of a misguided religious doctrine.