Op-ed: Matt Mahan’s performative allyship
San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan announced his mayoral campaign in September 2021. File photo.

It’s time for San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan to put his money where his mouth is.

Supporting reproductive rights includes making decisions in your life that align with your values. Saying that you support a person’s right to choose while having founded and led a company to abstain from taking a stand on abortion is performative allyship.

You do not get to be ambiguous about misogyny. Taking away a woman’s bodily autonomy should not be a partisan issue. Imposing a belief system to remove our health choices is inhumane and exhibits a hatred of women.

There are times when businesses must step up for their community. After the Supreme Court decision, major corporations on both sides of the political spectrum supported their employees and made clear their support for reproductive rights, including Hewlett Packard, Mastercard, Starbucks, Comcast, Patagonia, J.P.Morgan, Lyft, PayPal, Apple, IBM, Adobe, Delloite and many others.

Matt Mahan has said in a public forum that abortion “is not an issue that the council will take up.”

This is odd because the council has taken up the issue in recent years, including in 2019 when Councilmembers Sylvia Arenas and Magdalena Carrasco authored a memo to provide city funding to fill the $250,000 gap for Planned Parenthood. Then, former President Donald Trump demanded all Title X grantees comply with a “gag rule” making it illegal for health care providers to tell patients how or where to access abortion services, thus removing funding from our local clinics.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte currently serves over 30,000 women in San Jose and the surrounding areas, most of whom are low-income women of color.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez was able to move swiftly to provide funding from the county to ensure those patients did not lose coverage.

Cindy has a longstanding history of supporting reproductive rights. She has served on regional and state Planned Parenthood boards. She has been a champion for reproductive rights, including securing $3 million for Planned Parenthood health centers and lab expansion. She voted in favor of the county supporting Prop. 1, the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment, which seeks to protect reproductive freedom by explicitly adding the right to an abortion to the California Constitution. She declared the county a defender of reproductive freedom and has always put her support of women at the forefront of her policymaking.

We need a mayor who stands by their values, not one who sits on the fence.

Frances Herbert is executive vice president of Democratic Activists for Women Now. Dianna Zamora-Marroquin is director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte.

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