AAUW commemorates anniversary of Roe v. Wade with Los Altos walk, program

Allyson Johnson/ Special to the Town Crier
Stanford physician Sophia Yen dicussed women’s health and safety issues during the Jan. 22 American Association of University Women program.

The Los Altos-Mountain View branch of the American Association of University Women marked the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion with a program at the Los Altos Youth Center and a march along San Antonio Road Jan. 22.

The Raging Grannies, a singing group comprising women’s rights activists, kicked off the program by leading the audience of more than 50 people in a selection of songs with lyrics that skewered sexual harassment, pay inequity and abortion restrictions. The group sang their song “No Means No,” for example, to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.”

Wing Kay Fok, M.D., Family Planning Fellow at Stanford University, discussed how legislation at the federal and state levels has restricted women’s access to family planning options, especially low-income women. She encouraged the audience to support California Senate Bill 320, which would mandate that all four-year universities in the state provide access to medically induced abortions as part of student health services.

Sophia Yen, M.D., associate professor of pediatric and adolescent medicine at Stanford Hospital, spoke about several women’s health and safety issues. She noted that current contraceptives offer the possibility of making monthly menses optional and pointed out that menstruation is the No. 1 cause of women missing work and is related to acne, anemia and diabetes.

Yen also highlighted advances in emergency contraception, with the copper IUD offering better than 99 percent effectiveness against pregnancy, and the ella pill offering 85 percent prevention – both superior to Plan B medication. She lamented that the options are not widely known, even among doctors.

In response to recent reports of sexual assaults on college campuses, Yen asked the audience of alumni to contact their alma maters before donating and ask hard questions about their policies on sexual assault.

Following the program, the Raging Grannies led the audience, many wearing pink hats, in a protest walk along San Antonio Road in front of Los Altos City Hall, receiving honks and thumbs-up from passersby.

Co-sponsors of the event included the Palo Alto AAUW, the Sunnyvale-Cupertino AAUW, the Palo Alto League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

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