This past weekend, abortion rights activists held a conference to discuss ways to increase access to abortion nationwide. They hope to engage support from communities to pressure hospitals to give referrals and make abortion more available.
Conference panels will include ways to “persuade hospitals to change misleading intake procedures, how to organize letter-writing campaigns, and to raise public awareness of the strengths of the law.”
According to survey taken by the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and the Women’s health Rights Coalition, only 5% of 362 Californian hospitals questioned readily performed abortions. Due to the growing number of mergers between nonsectarian hospitals and Catholic hospitals (which often do not provide abortion services), the number of hospitals providing abortion services fell from 1,405 in 1982 to 703 in 1996.
The executive director of the Abortion Access Project in Massachusetts, Susan Yanow, noted that “This is going to be a real hands-on effort throughout the country. Every state has different laws, politics, and policies, so you have to work differently everywhere.”