Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day (10.17.22)

Paid episode

The full episode is only available to paid subscribers of Abortion, Every Day

Abortion, Every Day (10.17.22)

Missouri woman with a deadly pregnancy asked her state rep for help: He sent her to a crisis pregnancy center

Content warning: Description of pregnancy loss

In the states…

Imagine finding out your wanted pregnancy is doomed, your health and life is in danger, and that your doctors can’t help you because of your state’s abortion ban. Now imagine calling your representative—explaining that you’re at risk of dying—just to have them refer you to a crisis pregnancy center.

That’s what happened to Mylissa Farmer of Missouri, who found out she needed an abortion just 39 days after her state passed a ban. Farmer’s water broke at 17 weeks into her pregnancy—long before viability. Even though doctors recommended an abortion, and noted in her medical records that she had a specific and increased risk of sepsis, severe blood loss, hysterectomy and death, the law prevented them from helping her while the fetus still had a heartbeat.

From the Springfield News-Leader, who reported on Farmer’s experience:

A year ago, the hospital could have offered a chance for the couple to say goodbye and hold their daughter, even though they knew she wouldn't survive outside the womb. Instead, Farmer and McNeill were left to make a series of trips across three states and countless phone calls. The couple wanted to be able to grieve the loss of their daughter, not sit at home or in a hospital “with a baby dying inside me,” Farmer said.

One neonatal intensive care unit physician who explained what would happened if she continued to carry the pregnancy without amniotic fluid told her, “There are things worse than death, and I have seen it.”

When Farmer called her state senator, Bill White, an aide said he would reach out to the state Attorney General about her story and connected her with a crisis pregnancy center. She never heard from him again. Farmer was finally able to have an abortion in Illinois, dodging protesters who told her she was killing her baby. Farmer who described herself as “pretty pro-life,” now says “the world is too nuanced to put such strict rules in place.”

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll have to say it a thousand more times: Someone is going to die, and they know it.

This is important: In Michigan, Catholic bishops are fighting against the ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution not only by speaking out against abortion—but by trying to tap into the conservative outrage over trans youth and the misinformation about transitioning. In an Oct. 10 letter, the bishops claimed the amendment would allow children to be sterilizedarguing that minors could not just have abortions without parental consent, but that they could also take drugs to ‘sterilize’ themselves or have gender-affirming surgeries without a parent’s permission. This is why it’s so important that pro-choice activists are also paying attention to, and fighting for, trans rights—not just because it’s the right thing to do and bodily autonomy for all is absolutely connected, but because conservatives will try to pit these issues against each other.

Another strategy to pay attention to (and I know I’ve mentioned this one before): Republicans are working very hard to battle back against the extreme unpopularity of abortion bans, especially those without exceptions, by claiming that they will pass ‘commonsense’ and ‘sensible’ bans. It’s all part of a game-plan to make voters believe they’ve given something up or ‘lost’ on abortion. Take South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, for example: Last week he spoke about the state’s back-and-forth about abortion legislation, saying, “I think in the end they will produce a reasonable bill that will be acceptable to the vast majority of people in this state.” Pay attention to that word, ‘reasonable’. We’ve seen it when Sen. Lindsey Graham starting pushing his national ban, we’ve seen it from Republican politicians across the country trying to defend limiting reproductive rights. And we’re just going to see more of it.

Support Feminist Media

For example: Ohio Republicans claim that they’re working to make their ban—currently blocked—less vague about protecting a pregnant person’s life and that they may not outlaw the procedure starting at conception. (In other words, trying to seem more ‘reasonable’.) From Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio:

“If they’re saying that after nine years of deliberation, they are going to somehow craft clearer exceptions that will in any way prevent people from being harmed by their policies, they are either lying or revealing how truly incompetent they are when it comes to understanding the complexities of pregnancies.”

Also in Ohio: Democratic Rep. Jeff Crossman, running for Attorney General, says he would drop the state’s appeal of the abortion ban block if elected: “I intend to end this crusade against women and protect their constitutional rights.” As a reminder, Crossman is running against current AG Dave Yost, who called the story of a 10 year-old rape victim a ‘hoax’.

I hate that I have to keep writing about Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, but here we are. On Friday, Walker denied that he has ever supported a national abortion ban, even though he has repeatedly called for such a ban. And now he says he did write a check to his ex, but that he had no idea it was for an abortion. Cool, cool. I don’t know how many more lies this man needs to tell before Republicans withdraw their support, but my guess is he can just continue to say whatever the fuck he wants and no one in the GOP will hold him to account.

Enforcement of Utah’s abortion ban will continue to be blocked, despite efforts by the state Attorney General to appeal the decision. And even though Arizona has blocked enforcement of the state’s abortion ban, the legal back and forth is still having an impact on access.

Beware of Republicans running for state office who say abortion law is “settled.” (As one Maryland Senate candidate did in a recent debate.) Or that abortion isn’t their priority. Or that they don’t really have the power anyway to do anything about abortion. In the same way that they told us Roe was settled precedent, Republicans afraid of the unpopularity of abortion bans are lying their asses off.

New voter registrations in Kansas and Missouri are disproportionately women and young people, which is a great sign of things to come; here’s a rundown of where the Oregon gubernatorial candidates stand on abortion; Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore has written an op-ed about Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s plan to take reproductive rights “back to 1849”; and make sure to read this great piece on pro-choice activism in Wyoming and what happened after a clinic there was set on fire.

In Indiana, Democratic candidates are signing a “contract with women” that promises they will support and fight for abortion rights, remove the tax on period products, expand birth control access, and work to decrease the state’s maternal mortality rate.

Colorado Public Radio reports on the massive influx of abortion patients from out-of-state—every month has seen a double or more increase since last year. One Planned Parenthood health center manager says, “I personally have scheduled patients from Louisiana, South Carolina, many from Texas. And not just Northern Texas, but Corpus Christi, Texas and it's a thousand miles for them to travel.” The average wait time for a first-trimester abortion in the state is 22 days, with a 41-day wait time for a second-trimester abortion.

The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments about the state’s abortion ban (currently blocked) starting this Wednesday. If you want to watch a livestream, you can see it here.

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center have written an op-ed about the actual costs associated with abortion bans: Not only would banning abortion in Pennsylvania come at a tremendous cost to the state itself, but it would reduce women’s income more than $10 billion annually.

In the nation…

New poll alert: 8 in 10 Americans say abortion is important to their vote this November; 86% believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest, including 76% of Republicans.

The New York Times looks at volunteers across the country who are opening up their homes to out-of-state abortion patients. It’s a nightmare that such people are necessary, but I’m so grateful for those who are stepping up.

I told you last week how former Vice President Mike Pence is saying straight up that he wants to ban abortion in every single state—well apparently he’s eyeing a presidential run for 2024 with banning abortion as his campaign centerpiece. While most Republicans are trying to hide their anti-abortion ambitions, Pence, the NYT reports, is leaning into it: “Mr. Pence’s remarks reflect the views of the powerful, socially conservative wing of the party, which sees the June decision as politically expedient and just the beginning of its ambitions to change abortion law nationwide.”

Conservative media continues their assault on a Notre Dame professor who has tweeted (on her own personal account) in support of abortion rights—all because she put a very tame note on her office door saying she’d support students who need help accessing health care. (I won’t link to any of the articles here, sorry.) As a reminder: Abortion is legal in Indiana, where the college is located. This is just part of a harassment campaign that we will see again and again targeting anyone—but college professors and teachers, especially—who are pro-choice.

President Joe Biden is expected to speak about abortion rights at a DNC event tomorrow, part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to mobilize voters for the midterms; ABC News reports on college students’ efforts to get medication abortion available on their campuses; The Nation gets into students’ organizing efforts around abortion rights more generally; and the Los Angeles Times looks at how Democrats aren’t as nervous to talk to Latino voters about abortion since Roe was overturned.

TIME spoke to doctors across the country about how abortion bans have impacted their work, and it’s about as bad as you can imagine. One Ohio doctor told reporters about having to call lawyers before treating a patient with sepsis, which can be fatal. Another maternal-fetal medicine physician in Idaho said, “I have patients asking me, ‘Are you going to be able to help me if something unexpected or dangerous happens?’ And for the first time in my career, I have to tell them that I don’t know.” And despite anti-choice claims that these are anomalies, high-risk OBGYNs in multiple states told reporters that they’re seeing patients every week whose care is being impacted by abortion bans.

Listen up…

The public radio station in Austin, Texas, has a segment on the increase of people seeking sterilization in the state since the abortion ban. (Some clinics are seeing a 50% increase in patients seeking permanent birth control.)

And NPR has a short listen on the young people who the White House hoped to win over for the midterms with student loan forgiveness have abortion rights top-of-mind. Dakota Hall, the executive director of Alliance for Youth Action, said, “we know right now what's on the line in this moment.”

You love to see it…

Apparently some anti-abortion protesters decided to have a “Men’s March” in Boston this weekend (because what we definitely need more of in this moment is fucking men’s voices on abortion). Boston pro-choicers welcomed them by dressing up like clowns (because that’s what these men are) and doing this:

As the first speaker took the mic, a trombone began blasting off a melody after melody, from songs from “The Imperial March” to “Montero,” interspersed with just noise.

Just brilliant.

And I’ve already told you about how Francie Hunt, of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, is walking across the state in support of abortion rights. Well, she made it to her halfway mark in Nashville! I’ve been so inspired by Hunt, and all the other folks across the country thinking up innovative ways to take action.

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to Abortion, Every Day to listen to this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.

Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.