What does SLO County have in common with states in the South?
I'll give you a hint. It stars with "A" and ends with "bortion."
Anybody? Bueller? ... Bueller?
It's not as easy as you might think to get an abortion in this county.
Planned Parenthood is the only place where someone can get an abortion in SLO County—and even those are limited to 16 weeks and earlier. And if you head into that clinic in downtown San Luis Obispo, you will most likely get protested. Some asshole is probably going to call you a "baby killer" and thrust a really gross picture of what's purported to be an aborted fetus in your face—which is just what you want to see when you're walking into a clinic to do one of the hardest things you will probably ever do in your life.
Yay, free speech! And it's probably going to be the same wild-eyed character who's always lurking around, shoving his righteous religious anger in people's faces—my old pal, Danny "I have lots of dead baby pictures" Ehinger, director of the Abolitionist Society of San Luis Obispo. That guy is such a scamp!
Remember in 2016, when he snuck an anti-abortion float into Templeton's Fourth of July parade? Parents were just delighted that their children could bear witness to baby doll parts, that infamous fetus image, and a sign reading: "This is your Holocaust. End the Global Holocaust."
Happy freakin' Fourth of July, Templeton! And happy birthday, 'Merica! What do you think parents told their children?
I mean, he's just so goddamn patriotic. I wonder if there's another lovely little small-town parade on Ehinger's to-do list this year. Keep those eyes peeled, people! I want updates.
I made the mistake of going to the Abolitionist Society's Facebook page. I know, I have a problem. Sorry, not sorry!
"We don't call abortion murder because we hate women in the same way we don't call homosexuality sin because we hate homosexuals. ... We say it because God says it," one of the posts states.
Oh. My. God. Did you feel my eyes roll into the top of my skull right now. I actually heard them. I just can't with these people, who also happen to believe that the Constitution doesn't grant us our rights. Those come from God, duh! If you don't swing into line with the rest of us God-fearing folks, you ain't got no rights, ya hear? This is 'Merica, where only what we believe to be true is true, dammit!
If you're a woman in trouble in this county, you have to drive south to at least Ventura or north to San Jose to get any health care more complicated than what's offered in downtown SLO. Or you'll have to drive to Los Angeles or San Francisco. That's at least three hours and more than 150 miles in the car. Being female here is like living in Louisiana or Arkansas, states with the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Where you might have to drive across state lines to get access to the care you need.
Why is it like that here?
Planned Parenthood Central Coast CEO Jenna Tosh told New Times she wasn't sure of the answer. But when she moved here from Florida, she was pretty shocked!
"I was quite surprised actually that access to abortion along the Central Coast was primarily through Planned Parenthood because I think California sort of prides itself in a being a reproductive health leader in the country," Tosh said.
Well, that was before Catholic health care providers like Dignity Health took over damn near every medical center between here and Arizona! Thank God for organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provide care to people who can't get it elsewhere.
Planned Parenthood Central Coast also recently started providing gender-affirming care services, including hormone replacement therapy—which many transgender people seek to help them look more like how they feel. And it's just in time for Pride month!
It also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Credited with re-invigorating the LGBTQ rights movement, it is indeed something to be celebrated!
Now, if only we could get Planned Parenthood to open some gay bars up on the Central Coast, then we'd really be cooking!
That's an unmet need! And I'm sure people would pay for their own drinks. No insurance needed!
What's up with that, people? There really aren't any gay bars in SLO and Santa Barbara counties. You also have to drive to Ventura or San Jose to go to one of those—and no, there aren't any folks of the Ehinger ilk skulking around those bar doors.
At least we've got the SLOQueerdos to help us all party hardy and stay full of glitter, spice, and everything nice (and naughty). And the bars on the Central Coast—at least in SLO County —are LGBTQ friendly. Let's just forget about Santa Maria for a second, which has bar owners worried they're going to "alienate" their customers if they host a drag show. Seriously? It's 2019, people! This is California!
Oh, whoops. I forgot we're on the Central Coast for a second. Sorry. Δ
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