A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

California’s endless abortion rights localized

January 1, 2022

The+West+County+Teen+Clinic+offers+an+array+of+reproductive+health+services+for+Sonoma+County+teenagers.

Oliviah Shine

The West County Teen Clinic offers an array of reproductive health services for Sonoma County teenagers.

Unlike the GOP-dominated states, California is famous for its free opportunities, from legalized marijuana to minimum restrictions on reproductive care. The golden state allows for women to take the abortion process into their own hands, with over-the-counter medications for terminating a pregnancy. 

From Planned Parenthood to local clinics, California has resources that the rest of the nation struggles to provide. 

One local resource is the West County Teen Clinic in Sebastopol. It offers anyone from 12 to 25-years-old free and confidential access to different birth control methods, STD testing, pap smears, counseling, emergency contraceptives, pregnancy testing and sexual health check ups. 

Becca Mitchell, 24, is the education and outreach specialist at the West County Teen Clinic. She runs the peer education program and also teaches health and sex ed in local schools, all in West County. 

“I think reproductive health has a stigma attached to it and people are very uncomfortable to talk about it, and so by making this a welcoming and open environment we try to combat that stigma,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell also recognizes the freedom living in a state like California provides. 

After the draft of the overturn of Roe v. Wade was released, Santa Rosans, furious with the situation, protested at Courthouse Square to raise awareness for this intensifying issue. 

“I’m here because we need to support women who need what they need. I’ve had an abortion, and we don’t need women dying to be in charge of their reproductive rights,” said Debbie Ebling.

“I used to be pro life until I had a baby and then realized it wasn’t a good thing to force on someone else. It’s horrible,” said Marie Millard. 

Tyler Anthony and Katie Watts both agreed that change can be made before the situation worsens. 

Lily, who overcame both physical and mental health challenges after her abortion, emphasized that as a society we should be normalizing abortion. Thousands of women every year require access to abortion care, yet there is still a stigma in this country.

“There’s nothing shameful about it. I could not be more grateful for that opportunity, because my life would be so much worse if I had had to go through the pregnancy and have the kid.” 

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