San Diego’s Esther Valdés, Esq., Shares of $400 Abortion
“Real solutions like funding child care, providing safer neighborhoods, improving our local schools and providing jobs for women are long-lasting, sustainable solutions, that ensure that the economy of California will continue to thrive for generations to come.”
Twenty-two years ago, I was Planned Parenthood’s target client: I was a 23-year old, unwed, Latina student, with an unplanned pregnancy. I had been raised in public housing in South San Diego, and was desperate to escape the poverty that had defined my childhood. I was one year from graduating from UC Berkeley School of Law and about to start my career as an attorney. My boyfriend eagerly paid for an abortion at Planned Parenthood, since I lacked the $400 for the procedure.
During my consultation, the staff reassured me that the fetus would not feel pain during the abortion, and that it was nothing more than fetal tissue. I was told by white clinicians, that as a poor, unwed, Latina, an abortion was the best option for me because I lacked the resources to provide for a child, let alone myself. I trusted the clinicians, as well as their hopeless assessment of my situation, that my best option was terminating my pregnancy.
Two weeks ago, I watched my daughter, the product of my unplanned pregnancy, graduate from college. On the day of my scheduled abortion, I heard my child’s heartbeat. I had gone to another health care provider that offered me an ultrasound, and I was able to see her for the first time. Contrary to the assertions by Planned Parenthood staff, my daughter was a person in her own right, she was alive and she could feel me. Since that day, the dismal outlook that Planned Parenthood described on account of my race, social class and unmarried status did not come to pass. I have been a practicing attorney for over 15 years, with a nationally recognized immigration law practice, as well as an elected school board member. Abortion was not the solution to my cyclical poverty, it was only the most lucrative option for Planned Parenthood.
The Trump administration has proposed revisions to the federal family-planning grant program, Title X, which will prohibit fund recipients like Planned Parenthood, from performing abortions in the same space where they see patients for contraceptive care. In effect, Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to promote abortions, and must establish separate facilities to perform abortions.
Opponents to the proposed revisions frequently cite low-income women as the main beneficiaries of Title X “family planning funds.” Their elitist arguments state that minority women rely on Planned Parenthood to escape a life of poverty by avoiding unwanted pregnancies. They fail to recognize that countless women, like myself, are misled, misinformed and deprived of a true informed choice at places like Planned Parenthood. We are not told that our child is alive, has a heartbeat and can feel pain. More importantly, Planned Parenthood deprives low-income, minority women of real choice and real empowerment. We can and are able to raise our children alone, without government assistance, and without ending our child’s life. We are just as deserving to have our children be born alive, as much as the white clinicians who smugly tell us that we are unfit to be mothers. The benevolent racism exhibited in the geographic locales of Planned Parenthood demonstrate a tactical focus on Latino and black neighborhoods, to ensure that Margaret Sanger’s vision is met: the demise of the “colored” races.
The proposed revisions would restore Title X to its original focus: providing affordable family-planning services to low-income families, without promoting abortion. In California, women would be able to access alternate services, such as the ultrasound I received, and discuss the viability of their child, as well as adoption, in a truthful forum. Moreover, the revisions would ensure that in California, Title X service providers comply with state and local reporting laws regarding rape, abuse, incest and neglect.
If Planned Parenthood opposes the Title X revisions the solution is simple: Stop performing abortions. Not only do abortions deprive California of the lives of countless children, but it is defended by false assertions of the ineptitude of low-income, minority women who are incapable of raising their own offspring. Make no mistake, Planned Parenthood is not in the contraception and family planning business. It is in the abortion business and abortion means the extinction of future generations of Californians.
The proposed Title X revisions recognize that subsidizing abortions does not help minority and poverty-inflicted communities. Real solutions like funding child care, providing safer neighborhoods, improving our local schools and providing jobs for women are long-lasting, sustainable solutions, that ensure that the economy of California will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Esther Valdés, Esq.
Esther Valdés is a Church United speaker and immigration resource for our pastors
Published May 15, 2019, in the San Diego Union-Tribune