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Roe v. Wade Anniversary Commemorates Legal War Still Being Waged

Matt Shilts

Forty-three years ago Friday, the US Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that women have the right to an abortion. A back-and-forth of lawsuits has filled court dockets since. That’s true in the North State as well.

Two local crisis pregnancy centers are in a legal battle against a recent state law that requires women’s health centers that, like them, do not provide abortions, to clearly disclose that fact and to provide information of clinics that do. These centers in fact oppose abortion, and encourage parenting or adoption.

Care Net Pregnancy Center, with locations in Redding and Red Bluff, and A Woman’s Friend in Marysville, are represented by attorney Kevin Snider.

He’s with the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal organization. He says this law amounts to coercive speech.

“We don’t want the government to say ‘you have free speech, and write anything you want except we’re going to write the first paragraph of the piece,’” he said. “That’s not free speech.”

Meanwhile, other women’s health centers are marking today as one more year of access.

Women’s Health Specialists offers reproductive health services including abortion in Chico, Redding, Santa Rosa and Sacramento, plus a limited service clinic in Grass Valley.

Kim Edmonds is regional manager for the Chico and Redding locations. She says that AB 775 creates transparency by providing much-needed information to women who may be in a vulnerable situation.

“Women need to be given their options and they need to know what their rights are and shouldn’t be coerced into keeping a pregnancy or discontinuing a pregnancy,” she said.  

The anniversary marks 43 years of fighting — whether it’s a fight against abortion or a fight for the access thereof. And in far northern California, and across the county, neither side looks ready to give up.