On May 3, the nation was shocked by the leak of a Supreme Court document that explored ending the constitutional protection of abortion rights as set by the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Shortly after the leak, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft.
In the following days, Twitter and Instagram, among other social media platforms, were flooded with outrage. Many shared their own abortion stories and how the medical procedure saved their lives, while others expressed disappointment and frustration at the government for its regression. Here in California, officials and representatives voiced their disapproval as well, contending that it would devastate countless individuals — especially those from disadvantaged communities.
Locally, the dean of Berkeley Law warned this decision could begin the “unraveling” of more privacy rights. UC Berkeley students and other protesters also filled Sproul Plaza, touting signs and loudspeakers in support of abortion. While galvanizing local support is an important start, we must continue doing our part by remaining avid informants and supporters of safe and easy access to abortions and other facets of reproductive rights and health.
While abortion has garnered massive attention on the national stage, we must recognize that issues surrounding access and constitutional protections are not just an issue in conservative areas. In fact, abortion resources have been notoriously difficult to obtain, even for students seeking one on our very own campus through University Health Services, or UHS.
To begin, the UHS homepage, which proudly displays dropdown menu after dropdown menu of information, doesn’t once mention the words “family planning” or “abortion” or anything along those lines, even though it is arguably an important concern college students may have.
To make matters worse, once students finally get to the family planning and abortion page — after clicking through four pages of other information — they will find that UHS only offers abortions for those who are less than 10 weeks (70 days) pregnant. This is dramatically more restrictive than California requirements, which state that people are entitled to abortions for any reason until approximately six months after getting pregnant.
Hormones and menstrual cycles can vary greatly from month to month, and in some situations, ten weeks is hardly enough to realize that one is pregnant, much less schedule and go to the two appointments required before receiving the abortion.
As an institution, UC Berkeley must be able to provide its students with the resources necessary in helping ensure that we have bright and safe futures ahead of us. Having access to and keeping us informed about abortion is an important part of this mission. As students and young people, we must also learn to rely on ourselves to stay informed and keep our bodies safe, especially if we cannot reliably depend on our schools or government to do so.
If you are in search of an abortion clinic around the UC Berkeley area, please consider visiting one of the following locations:
- FPA Women’s Health: 2915 Telegraph Ave Suite 101, Berkeley, CA 94705
- Planned Parenthood, El Cerrito: 320 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito, CA 94530
- Planned Parenthood, East Oakland: 8480 Enterprise Way, Oakland, CA 94621