San Jose

Santa Clara Co. Leaders Push for Sexual Assault Fund Amid National Abortion Law Changes

Politicians in Santa Clara County and San Jose are pushing for a $5 million fund for sexual assault survivors amid restrictive national changes to abortion law and gender-based services.

The fund would help establish two rape crisis centers, law enforcement training on sexual assault and culturally sensitive responses to sexual harassment from public agencies. It will go before the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Heather Rangel, a sexual assault survivor, spoke at a joint meeting to introduce the proposal on April 15. The meeting included representatives from San Jose police, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the sheriff's and district attorney's offices.

"We are a beacon of progress and light for the nation and holding ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to treating our citizens with humanity and equality," Rangel said. "We're here to create inter-disciplinary approaches to change and we can no longer go to bed at night feeling like we've done our job when we have so many victims left in the dark to suffer right outside these doors."

On Wednesday, Alabama lawmakers approved one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country - making nearly every form of abortion illegal without exceptions for rape and incest.

Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah have launched similar challenges to Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 recognized abortion as a fundamental right for people who are pregnant.

Supervisors Cindy Chavez, councilwomen Magdalena Carrasco and Sylvia Arenas will host a 10 a.m. news conference prior to the Board of Supervisors meeting at the county Civic Center at 70 West Hedding St. in San Jose.

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