(CNN)This week in Los Angeles, a high school senior walked down the hall, maybe from her math class, to her school's Planned Parenthood Wellbeing Center -- where a nurse helped her decide what form of birth control is best for her when she heads off to college. Meanwhile in St. Louis, a woman who had to travel up to 200 miles to get an abortion was forced to hear a state-mandated script. Because of state law, she had to return at least three days later to get the procedure.
These hypothetical women represent two of the extremes of reproductive health care in America. Forty-seven years after Roe v. Wade was decided in January 1973, our nation is still caught in a dichotomy between the world that's possible and one where reproductive health care is attacked, stigmatized and, in some cases, criminalized.
This tale of two cities is the reality of sexual and reproductive health care across America. As some states have made significant advances -- expanding access to health care, ensuring that information is readily available, and investing in people's futures -- others have done all they can to take that health care and the freedom that comes with it away.
The United States has recognized a right to abortion since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe that the Constitution protects people's liberty to end a pregnancy, free of overly burdensome government restrictions, as affirmed in the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
For people across the country, these sorts of attacks mean the kind of health care they can access often depends on their zip code.
These centers offer preventive health care services and education to students right in their high schools, confidentially and free of charge. I visited one of these centers at Torres High School last October and saw empowerment unfold in real time when a young woman asked the nurse questions she couldn't ask her mom. I saw a lightbulb go off when this young woman realized she had agency and power to make decisions about her body -- all without being admonished or shamed.
But despite historic support for reproductive freedom, it has become clear that the fight to protect it has grown increasingly local. While the courts have long served as a main line of defense for abortion rights advocates, with Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court bench, they cannot be our only backstop.
As state legislative sessions all across the country begin this month, every one of us has to pay attention to how our representatives are working to protect and expand the protections of Roe. And we must all stand up collectively and fight when these rights come under attack.
On this 47th anniversary of Roe, we must embrace the simple view that the experience of a young person in Missouri should be no different than the experience of a young person in L.A. We must push so that people in states where access is severely limited can look at the progress elsewhere and say to themselves "that could be us." Because here is what we know: when people recognize what freedom could look like, they will fight to make it their own.