Supporters of abortion in front of the Supreme Court the morning that the decision to overturn Roe was released, June 24, 2022. (Photo/Flickr-Victoria Pickering CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Supporters of abortion in front of the Supreme Court the morning that the decision to overturn Roe was released, June 24, 2022. (Photo/Flickr-Victoria Pickering CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In Bay Area, local governments bolster resources as abortion rights fall

In the next 30 days, abortion will be banned in 13 states due to trigger bans that went into effect the moment the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday. At least nine more states have pending legislation to either ban or severely restrict access to abortion, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a policy group that supports reproductive rights.

Local governments in the Bay Area have been preparing for the Supreme Court ruling, with some already allocating significant funds for regional Planned Parenthood clinics to bolster their infrastructure and staffing for the expected influx of out-of-state abortion seekers.

Susan Ellenberg
Susan Ellenberg

“We certainly anticipated that this decision was coming,” said Susan Ellenberg, vice president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors representing District 4, which includes Santa Clara, Campbell and much of west San Jose.

Ellenberg, along with fellow Supervisor Cindy Chavez, proposed and successfully secured through unanimous approval $3 million from the county budget to support Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. PPMM is the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country, with 35 health centers in California and northern Nevada, including 14 in the Bay Area. Santa Clara County has six, the most of any county.

Starting July 1, when the new fiscal year begins, the $3 million will be readily available for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to put to use, Ellenberg said. The funds help fill gaps that state funds won’t cover, she said.

“Planned Parenthood specified that $3 million in one-time funding from the county would allow them to fill a funding gap, specifically expand their Blossom Hill Health Center, and the Mar Monte Community clinic [in San Jose], as well as assist with the cost of laboratory and medical equipment at those two expanded locations,” Ellenberg said.

These infrastructure expansions are designed to ensure local health centers have the capacity to serve the anticipated increase in abortion seekers coming from out-of-state, she said.


RELATED: 2 Jewish legislators take lead on abortion rights in California


“My message would be, for those who may be living in a state where this right to choose has been really cruelly snatched away, they’re welcome to come to our county to receive the care that they need,” Ellenberg said.

Ellenberg, who regularly wears a Magen David necklace as a public display of her Jewish identity, went to Camp Ramah and participated in her USY Jewish youth group growing up in Pittsburgh. She previously was board chair of Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos and taught a class on social justice to middle-schoolers from 2008 to 2013. She said Jewish values inform her work in public service.

“I have a personal responsibility not to perfect the entire world, but to do my part in alleviating suffering and in pursuing and achieving greater justice,” the San Jose resident said. “I feel that obligation very deeply, and it comes from my faith.’

Ellenberg anticipates other California counties will be spurred to fund abortion access in their communities as well.

In the hours following the Supreme Court decision, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city’s Department of the Status of Women has already started to measure the local capacity of abortion care services and to distribute $250,000 in emergency grants “for immediate capacity building and wraparound service support so that women can continue to receive the care and support they need as service demand potentially increases.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $125 million to help abortion clinics prepare for the surge of patients coming from other states. Additional funding for some of the state Legislature’s proposals may be included in the state budget that becomes finalized by June 30, according to Politico.

In Oakland, Rebecca Kaplan, vice mayor and councilmember at large, co-authored a resolution in May that declared Oakland a pro-choice sanctuary city. In her May 17 remarks about the resolution on the steps of Oakland City Hall, Kaplan, who is Jewish, applauded Santa Clara County’s funding for Planned Parenthood, urging Alameda County to follow suit.

Rebecca Kaplan
Rebecca Kaplan

“We are calling on our county, Alameda County, to join,” said Kaplan, who this month received the highest number of votes, 39 percent, for the District 3 Alameda County supervisor seat, now heading into a runoff in November.

The ripple effect from states banning or severely restricting access to abortions will result in more unsafe abortions that risk maternal death, policy experts agree. The restrictions also will disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color — consequences that Santa Clara County, through funding, is working to mitigate.

“What’s giving me the most hope right now is local government,” Ellenberg said in response to the Supreme Court ruling. “We are the safety net.”

Emma Goss
Emma Goss

Emma Goss is a J. staff writer. She is a Bay Area native and an alum of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Kehillah Jewish High School. Emma also reports for KTVU Fox 2 News. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaAudreyGoss.