I absolutely support a woman’s right to obtain a medically safe and legal abortion. I have been a pro-choice advocate since my teens. In Texas, where I grew up, a woman in need of an abortion must now watch the fetus on a monitor, listen to its heartbeat, and endure a 48-hour waiting period. This is barbarous and disrespectful. If you had told me that the state that brought you Sarah Weddington — the lawyer for Roe vs. Wade —would legislate this, I would not have believed you.
In 1991, with NARAL, I fought Oregon’s Ballot Measure 10 which would have required parental notification before abortions. I've stood with a clipboard on freezing street corners in the Outer Sunset here in San Francisco, trying to educate as many voters as I could. Reproductive health is a right, not a privilege available only to those who can afford it. The kinds of hoops legislators all over the country are attempting to make women jump through are uncalled for, and are becoming more and more insidious. “Informed consent” laws are often overflowing with loaded language that personifies a fetus and renders a woman tantamount to a murderer, and should not be implemented.
I am proud of California’s history of refusing federal money tied to absintence-only education. Abstinence-only policies endanger the sexual health of our youth and lead to a greater incidence of unplanned pregnancy and STDs. Medical accuracy and evidence-based research should always take precedence over fear-mongering for children in our schools — this is true for every subject, but especially in a subject with such real-world ramifications as sexual and reproductive health.
Photo by Lynn Friedman — Thea addresses the audience at a District 5 Democrats debate