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Abortion access limited for servicewomen

 August 8, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday August 8th.

Women in the military are facing barriers to abortions.More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


A parking lot in unincorporated El Cajon will become the first Safe Parking site for people living in their vehicles in east county.

Until recently there was a large homeless encampment under a freeway overpass near the site off North Magnolia Avenue.

San Diego County’s Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities and other organizations will offer residents supportive services.

The site opens on Wednesday.


San Diego County is still in the C-D-C’s high-risk level for COVID-19 as cases remain high.

But COVID hospitalizations in the county are declining.

The Health and Human Services Agency reports 420 patients were hospitalized with COVID Thursday.

That’s down from a peak of 465 hospitalizations on July 22nd.

As of last week, there were 47 patients in the I-C-U.

More than fourteen-hundred new cases were reported last week, and seven people died from the virus.

There will be another COVID update tonight.


The City of San Diego is expanding the preserved wildlife areas within Mission Trails Regional Park.

The city says it purchased 25 additional acres as part of the Multiple Species Conservation Program. The goal is to protect the Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub and some native grassland habitats on the land.

The city bought the land from a private seller for 774-thousand dollars using money from a Habitat Acquisition Fund.

As a regional conservation effort, the Multiple Species Conservation

Program spans a 900-square-mile area in southwestern San Diego County.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


When the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, it made abortion access especially challenging for women in the military.

There are more than 100 military installations in states where abortion is now banned.

That means women in the military may have to travel longer distances, spend more money, or incur greater risks to their privacy in order to access abortions.

Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.

Allison Gill was one of the first women the Navy recruited into Nuclear Power Training Command in the mid 90s. It was a male-dominated world where she felt deeply unwelcome. GILL: It was like there weren't any women, it was just men, and they weren't happy to see me. They didn't have facilities yet; there wasn't a GYN on base. Gill was just a few weeks into training in Florida when a colleague drugged and violently raped her at a party. But when she reported it, Navy officials accused her of lying and threatened her career. GILL: They said, you know, so why don't we just chalk this up to what it is: a bad decision on your part. And I was convinced, yeah, man, this was my fault. I’d better not file a false report. All those terrible things will happen to me. Things got worse for Gill when she found out she was pregnant as a result of the assault. So she went to a Planned Parenthood clinic near the base to get an abortion on a Saturday morning. She was back in time to attend a mandatory study period that afternoon. But now that states have started outlawing abortion, she says military women today are no longer able to do that as easily or privately. Some have to travel long distances to places where it's legal. GILL: If you have to put in for leave and say why you're going, and you have to travel out of state… you either have to lie on a government document, which is a court martial-able offense, or you have to tell them what you're doing and hope they approve it. And then it's in your records. So… you have to make a decision that feels like…Do I ruin my career? Or do I ruin my career this other way?” State abortion bans heavily affect training bases, where troops don’t make as much money and have less freedom of movement. And even states with legal abortion sometimes require waiting periods and multiple doctors visits, making the trip harder and more expensive for out-of-state military women. Lory Manning is with the Service Women’s Action Network. MANNING: A lot of them don't have cars, particularly the younger enlisted women, so that they can drive themselves. And sometimes we're talking 500, 6, 700, or 1000 miles to get to a state where it can be done.In addition to the travel, advocates say military women seeking abortions face unique privacy concerns. Kelly Blanchard is president of Ibis Reproductive Health, which surveyed military women who sought abortions. Many feared privacy breaches. And one said her chain of command was given her pregnancy test results. BLANCHARD: Those particular types of barriers are unique to folks in the military… because of the military’s specific rules about where pregnant people can be deployed, what jobs they can have, and repercussions because of stigma Just before the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision that overturned Roe-Versus-Wade, the Army and Air Force issued new policies. They prevent commanders from denying leave for abortion — and clarify that women don't have to disclose their reason for requesting leave. But the Navy and Marine Corps have not followed suit. And last month, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Defense Undersecretary Gil Cisneros stopped short of promising further policy changes. CISNEROS: Dobbs created a lot of complexities. It was 26. Now, it’s as many as 29 states that we are having to navigate the different laws in each state and to see how that affects our service members in each state. We are currently reviewing our policies and procedures. Cisneros said the military has a solemn obligation to ensure personnel have the healthcare they need. He also raised a second concern: that abortion restrictions could make it hard for the military to bring in and retain service members at a time when recruitment numbers are already low. This is Carson Frame reporting. SOQ

This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans.

Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Borrego Springs residents are fighting the placement of a sexually violent predator in their community.

There was a hearing about the placement plan on Friday.

KPBS reporter Tania Thorne has the story.

Borrego Springs residents gathered outside the downtown San Diego courthouse Friday morning to voice their concerns about sexually violent predator Douglas Badger being placed in their community. Terrie Kellmeyer lives across the street from the house where state officials want to put Badger. Terrie Kellmeyer/Borrego Springs Resident “My daughter is with me today, she's one of my three, she’s deaf. She cannot hear.  She cannot hear footsteps coming up behind her. She cannot hear an SVP at her bedroom window at night. It's absolutely terrifying and it's not ok.” The residents were joined by local leaders who suggested SVP’s should be housed on state properties where they can be monitored. No decision was made on Badger’s placement in court Friday, but the judge allowed speakers to voice their opinions. If the judge decides not to place Badger at the Borrego Springs location, the state will have to find another place for him. TT KPBS News. 


A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would increase the number of Border Patrol agents.

KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis says lack of staff is one of the main reasons behind long waits at the border.

Long border wait times cost our binational economy billions of dollars in lost productivity a year. So says Jimena Villasenor-Martinez. She’s the International Business Affairs Coordinator for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jimena “So even before the pandemic, in 2016 we nearly lost over $2 billion in economic output due to economic delays. Wait times for cargo have reached an all-time high of up to six hours causing California companies to cancel contracts.” Increasing Customs and Border Protection staff could help open more lanes at local border crossings. But the bill would mostly increase the number of Border Patrol agents - not the agents who work on the vehicle and pedestrian booths. Gustavo de la Fuente is the Executive Director of the Smart Border Coalition. He says staffing shouldn’t be the only solution. CBP should embrace technology and new ideas to make the border more efficient. “What else is going on other than staffing? What’s going on with technology, what’s going on with the way we process people? It’s a processing issue sometimes, not just staffing.” Gustavo Solis, KPBS News


Coming up.... How San Diego’s new Climate Action Plan affects the city’s bike program. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


San Diego adopted a new Climate Action Plan last week, with even more ambitious goals of cutting back on car travel.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen takes a closer look at what that means for the city's bike program.

AB: Bike lanes have caused a stir in several communities where some residents see them as a nuisance not worth the loss of travel lanes or parking. But cyclists and climate activists say they're necessary to get more people out of cars, the city's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. WR: We have the ambitious goals, but we don't have a clear roadmap to get there. AB: Will Rhatigan is advocacy director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. He says the city can't keep debating whether dangerous streets have enough room for bike lanes. Protection for cyclists should come first, he says. And when speeds are high enough… WR: They'll have very clear guidelines on what kind of bikeway they need to install. And also we're hoping that this will be passed as an ordinance that would hold the transportation department legally accountable for actually implementing that kind of bikeway. AB: City Councilmember Raul Campillo says while he understands why some people don't like bike lanes, they're about more than just climate change. RC: I think people fail to see that these investments in infrastructure are going to help create jobs. They're going to create better health outcomes. And all of that creates a more healthy and safe community for all of us. AB: City staff say by February, they'll present a roadmap for implementing the city's new goal of net zero emissions. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


A group of North County high school students has proposed a change to U-S law …that would crack down on human rights violations around the world.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on the ambitious effort.

They are members of the Fair Trade Club at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley.… and they discovered the recent shortage of products in the international supply also exposed alleged human rights abuses by American companies doing business in poorer countries. So they drafted an amendment to U-S law …that would allow victims of abuse to sue companies in a U-S court. Joyce Lin is the Club’s communications director “there are these workers in a lot of third world countries …way less privileged than us and sometimes they get taken advantage of. That really touched my heart.” The fair trade club members met with San Diego congressman Scott Peters about their proposed change in the law. “It has an uphill climb like all bills in the Senate. But, it’s a great point of advocacy to stand up for these workers around the world and folks that have been disadvantaged.” Meanwhile, the students encourage consumers to buy products that carry the fair trade label on everything from coffee to a bouquet of flowers. MGP KPBS News


This month students across the county are headed back to school… and joining in a new meals program.

The California Universal Meal program offers free food to every student, no matter their need… and the state law also pays for upgraded school kitchens and staff training.

Chula Vista’s brand new fa-HAR-ee Jeffers Elementary is offering the program…

Shawna COD-RING-TON is the principal.

“It means everything and more…and here’s why. If students don’t have healthy food to eat then they don’t learn well. In order for them to learn and do their best. They have to have healthy meals.” 

Jeffers Elementary is named after a legendary local civil rights leader.

It’s the 50th campus in the Chula Vista Elementary school district… which is the largest elementary school district in the state.


If you drive on the 805… you'll soon see signs encouraging you to visit the "Convoy Asian Cultural District."

The Convoy District is a neighborhood that spans 16-hundred acres and is home to more than 15-hundred restaurants, shops and businesses.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria says freeway signage is very important.

“805 there's a lot of folks that drive the 805. some people sit on the 805 we don't like that exactly right. but when you're out there we want to make sure that people aren't zooming past unaware of the gem that is the Convoy District.”

The new freeway signs will be installed beginning this week.. along the 805 North and South exit ramps for Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Balboa Avenue.

More than 31-thousand dollars was raised through donations to pay for the signs.


Where can you find a best friend for free?

KPBS’s Deb Welsh says at a county animal shelter in Bonita or Carlsbad...

Hundreds of dogs, cats, rabbits and other companion animals are waiting to be adopted for no fee this month thru the County Department of Animal Services. Otherwise known as "Clear the Shelters,"  the month long campaign is a national effort to find caring homes for animals in shelters. As an extra bonus...all animals will be spayed or neutered, have vaccinations, a microchip and a one-year license for dogs in the service area. To get started...go to the county's animal services adoption page where you can see which animals are available now. In addition to your first choice,staff recommend picking out a second and third choice too, jus tin case. And if you can't adopt, you may want to consider fostering or volunteering. Deb Welsh, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Women in the military are facing challenges accessing abortions. In other news, a new bill has been introduced to increase the number of Border Patrol agents. Plus, as students head back to school, there’s a new statewide meal program offering free food for every student.