Supervisors Declare County Support for Reproductive Rights
SAN JOSE – At the urging of County Supervisor Joe Simitian, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has affirmed its support for reproductive freedom and abortion rights, adopting a resolution to that effect proposed by Simitian at the Board’s Tuesday, December 7 meeting. The measure passed 5-0.
Simitian said he was moved to offer the resolution as a consequence of “hostile action” by state legislatures around the country, and by the “inhospitable” reception abortion rights advocates received at the US Supreme Court last week in arguing the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. Simitian noted that for almost 50 years Americans have largely assumed they could county on the Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to protect their reproductive freedoms. “But,” said Simitian, “it’s clear those rights are no longer guaranteed. Far from it,” he said.
As a general rule, Simitian said he was not inclined to offer “largely symbolic” resolutions for Board consideration, but he felt that, “the current climate nationally requires a strong statement from local government officials, particularly now, given that protections afforded by Roe are increasingly at risk.”
The resolution also called on the United States Congress to protect reproductive freedom nationwide. “Healthcare for all has to include access to reproductive healthcare,” said Simitian. “This was an opportunity for our County to voice its commitment to reproductive rights, and indicate our support for those who have or will seek a medical abortion, and for the medical professionals who care for them.”
The County has a well-established history of providing and protecting access to reproductive healthcare and reproductive freedoms. In June 2019, the Board approved a partnership with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to augment health care services in the North County, and to improve care coordination for shared patients of Planned Parenthood and the County’s healthcare system.
Later that same year, the Board allocated almost $500,000 to replace Title X funding lost by new federal rules that penalized organizations that made referrals to access abortion services.
“For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte has been committed to providing essential health care to all members of our community,” said Stacy Cross, CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. "We applaud the County for their dedication to preserving services and creating a safe and welcoming community for people to seek care. The Board recognizes the importance of all Americans having access to those services.”
“Whether it’s choosing a provider, ensuring access to contraception and preventative care, or ensuring the affordability of services, our County recognizes that the ability to access and provide family planning and reproductive healthcare is essential for the health and well being of our residents,” said Simitian. “Folks need to know they’ll have access to safe and legal family planning services so they can make the informed decisions that are best for them.”
Simitian serves as Chair of the County’s Health and Hospital Committee. The County of Santa Clara Health System, which includes Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, is the second largest public healthcare system in California. It is the only health provider in the region with a 100% open door policy, providing comprehensive family planning services for all residents regardless of background or ability to pay.
“For almost 50 years our nation has protected access to family planning services, and honored an individual’s right to choose; we shouldn’t stop now,” said Simitian.
Read the County’s resolution in support of reproductive freedom.