July 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Rep. Pete Aguilar Condemns Assaults on Reproductive Freedoms at Planned Parenthood Press Conference on Dobbs Anniversary

3 min read
Protestors advocating for reproductive rights.

Photos by Manny Sandoval - (Left to right) St. John’s Community Health Chief Program Officer Elena Fernandez, Representative Pete Aguilar, and Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties CEO Jon Dunn standing with protestors holding signs that read “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar marked two years since the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade in a powerful public press conference on Monday morning, June 24. Aguilar highlighted the ongoing assaults on reproductive freedoms and pledged renewed efforts to safeguard these rights.

“Thank you to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC) for providing healthcare to women and individuals who need it,” Aguilar said outside of the San Bernardino Health Center. “We are going to continue to call attention to the extremists and the judges who took away women’s fundamental rights, and we will do what we can to reverse their decision and codify women’s healthcare into existing law.”

Since the 2022 decision, the battle over reproductive rights has intensified. Extremists have launched attacks not only on abortion rights but also on access to abortion pills, birth control, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The aftermath has led to a surge in patients traveling to California from other states for abortion care, with numbers more than doubling since 2023. It’s important to remind those who are uninformed, but Planned Parenthood services do not just consist of reproductive health, they also offer health services like cancer screenings and health and wellness programs. 

Elena Fernandez, Chief Program Officer at St. John’s Community Health, emphasized the importance of maintaining access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. “Our mission and commitment is to improve community health; therefore, it is our responsibility to protect access to health, including reproductive healthcare and birth control. As a woman and as a human, it is I who should have authority to determine my reproductive health and birth control. At St. John’s, we are committed to addressing all of these barriers.”

St. John’s Community Health, located at 1500 N. Waterman, San Bernardino, continues to play a pivotal role in providing essential healthcare services amid these challenges.

Adding to the local battles, PPOSBC has filed a lawsuit against the City of Fontana and its City Council, accusing them of unlawfully obstructing the establishment of a new reproductive health clinic. The lawsuit challenges an “urgency ordinance” adopted on September 5, 2023, which imposes a moratorium on permits for “non-entertainment service-based uses” in specific downtown areas, effectively blocking the clinic’s opening.

Protesters with signs in English and Spanish, one in which reads, “Atencion de la salud reproductiva economico y de alta calidad.”

Back at the press conference, Jon Dunn, CEO of Planned Parenthood of San Bernardino and Orange Counties, discussed the significance of AB 2085 in the context of these ongoing struggles. “It’s gotten through the assembly and is waiting for the Senate to act, and we believe the governor will sign this bill into law,” said Dunn. AB 2085 aims to streamline the approval process for housing developments, including those that facilitate healthcare services, by bypassing certain conditional use permits and environmental review processes, thus potentially increasing access to healthcare facilities.

The Dobbs decision has profoundly impacted the reproductive landscape, reversing nearly half a century of protected rights and resulting in abortion bans in 21 states, affecting over 27 million women of reproductive age. The ongoing efforts by lawmakers, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups underscore the critical need to restore and protect these fundamental rights amidst an increasingly polarized and contentious environment.

The press conference not only highlighted the grim reality facing millions of women but also served as a rallying call for continued action and solidarity in the fight for reproductive justice.


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