In the states…
The Texas Tribune reports that candidates in tight state races are making noise about supporting rape and incest exceptions—the exact play I’ve been writing about here for months. They get to pretend to be moderate while supporting exceptions that no one can really use. Meanwhile, medical students in the state have been forced to practice abortion procedures on papayas because adequate training is now illegal.
A new anti-abortion trend in pro-choice states: In New Mexico, the towns of Clovis and Hobbs are trying to ban abortion despite it being legal in the state. The towns don’t have abortion clinics, but the local ordinances are meant to stop abortion providers from moving into their towns (which are close to the Texas border) and create a chilling effect on anyone in the town who may want to seek an abortion. The effort is being led by Mark Lee Dickson, who I told you about last month, who has targeted small towns in Nebraska and Texas. Keep an eye on this strategy.
Speaking of Nebraska, Republicans there may be expected to take home the midterms, but there is less certainty about support for abortion restrictions—especially as the state has become an abortion save haven for the surrounding anti-choice area.
This you’re not going to believe. Or actually you probably will: At the Ohio debate last night, senate candidate and conman Dr. Oz said he believes abortion is a decision to be made between “a woman, her doctor, and local politicians.”
And this is getting just fucking ridiculous. A new woman says that Republican senate candidate in Georgia, Herschel Walker, drove her to get an abortion. I feel like someone must be playing a cosmic joke on us.
Speaking of Georgia, the courts heard witnesses in the lawsuit over the state’s abortion ban. Lawyers for Georgia called out-of-state medical providers, including a woman who actually works for anti-abortion organizations, Ingrid Skop. Skop was also called as a witness for the state in Florida’s battle over a 15-week ban this summer, and here’s what a judge there had to say about her:
“Overall, Dr. Skop has no experience in performing abortions; admitted that her testimony on the risks of certain abortion complications was inaccurate and overstated, or based on data from decades ago; admitted that her views on abortion safety are out of step with mainstream medical organizations; and provided no credible scientific basis for her disagreement with recognized high-level medical organizations in the United States.”
Georgia also called “expert” Priscilla Coleman, who argued that abortion negatively impacts women’s mental health—a claim she tried to make ten years ago just to have the research thoroughly debunked. Essentially, the state wants to deny women healthcare based on the testimony of quacks.
Speaking of quacks in Georgia: Marjorie Taylor Greene was on a call-in show this week where she was questioned by a woman on her radical anti-abortion stance. In response, Greene suggested that the woman was too old to weigh in. “I don’t think you’re having children any time soon,” she said. A class act til the end! Also, if the right to have an opinion on abortion is based on one’s ability to get pregnant, I have some news for the fucking Republicans about their legislators!
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Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake said in an interview this weekend that restricting abortion will lead to more rapists being arrested. The Republican claimed, with no evidence (or commonsense), “I think what will happen as we see new laws taking place and we’re seeing babies being protected, we are going to be locking up a lot more rapists. We’re going to be locking up people who are raping, and that’s a good thing that could come out of this.” What the fuck.
Also in Arizona, the lawsuit brought by the ACLU over the state’s 1864 ban has been put on hold—as agreed to by the organization and the attorney general—until a separate lawsuit over the ban brought by Planned Parenthood is resolved.
In Pennsylvania, doctors are challenging the state’s ban on Medicaid funding for abortion. Susan Frietsche, a senior staff attorney with the Women’s Law Project, argued, “The impact that this unfair coverage scheme exerts upon women is catastrophic.”
VICE talked to a Missouri woman who traveled out-of-state for an abortion, and what that experience was like. She says that when she went to the doctor to confirm an an-home test, “the doctor made no mention of abortion” but instead started listing hospitals where she could give birth. “I wasn't given an option but to have it,” said the woman, identified only as R. When R. was finally able to get an abortion in Illinois nearly two months after finding out she was pregnant, she had to deal with protesters, and had perhaps the most appropriate response I’ve ever heard:
“I get that you have your own opinions, but just keep to your fucking selves or go to Facebook, like everybody else does, and put it out there, but leave people alone.”
Abortion providers in North Carolina are trying to block a state law that prevents nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants from administering abortion medication in the state. As pro-choice states are inundated with people from out-of-state seeking abortion, ensuring that as many medical professionals as possible can help patients is vital.
Just a reminder that Republicans will say anything they can about abortion to get elected. Republican candidate for governor in Nevada, Joe Lombardo, for example, has been running ads claiming that abortion is safe in the state and people shouldn’t worry about it (in addition to flip flopping in his own statements). Republican Lee Zeldin pulled something similar during a gubernatorial debate in New York, where he claimed that the state has already codified Roe so it doesn’t matter if he’s against abortion. Then, naturally, he wouldn’t answer a question about whether or not he’d sign a bill banning abortion in New York.
In the nation…
Alireza Shamshirsaz, an OBGYN who moved from Texas to Boston, tells Noor about one case where a woman was 21 weeks pregnant with twins, but one was certain to die. The law prevented him from doing a selective reduction to save the other twin: “They were just crying, crying in the middle of my office.” Also from Shamshirsaz:
“They needed to get all the way to the east coast or west coast before they would find a doctor who could help them, and they needed to do it in the next 24 or 48 hours. Even in the best scenario I don’t think 99% of people could have made that trip in the time they had. Most people don’t have the option to travel to other states. The rich people can travel.”
And Dr. Leilah Zahedi-Sprung, who is leaving Tennessee for Colorado, says she had to send one ill patient out-of-state for care when her kidneys started to fail. “I am now complicit in a system that is making me harm people,” she says.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said at an event this week that the leak of the decision to overturn Roe put the lives of the judges at risk. There was no mention of the lives put at risk by the fucking decision to overturn Roe.
ABC News did a segment on abortion, trans men, and the need for inclusive language and care:
The Associated Press examines how abortion bans disproportionately impact low-income women; The Harvard Gazette looks at what American pro-choice activists could learn from Latin America; Cosmopolitan has a piece on new mobile clinics offering care at state borders; if you watch the Netflix show Love is Blind, two of the contestants recently got into it on abortion (and reminded me of the massive red flags that arise when some men talk about the issue); and a House investigation shows that some of the country’s largest insurers regularly limit birth control coverage despite ACA requirements.
I’ve written about this a bit before, but political strategists are looking at what pro-choice messaging works for men and the short answer is: sexist messaging. Men responded most to ads that featured ‘bros,’ messaging about protecting the women in their lives, and framing that was more about freedom from government control than women themselves. Listen I’ll take the support where I can get it, but…sigh.
And if you want a good laugh/cry (but mostly cry), The Onion has done it again: “What To Tell A 10-Year-Old Who Has Been Denied An Abortion”
All Things Considered on NPR has a great segment where they spend nine days in an abortion clinic in Michigan, where voters will soon decide on a midterm ballot measure that could enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. Lots of important stuff in there, but one thing that stuck out was the story of one Ohio woman, Melissa, who had to wait nearly two months to get the abortion she wanted. (A story we’re hearing more and more often.) “I had to sit with [this pregnancy] for weeks,” she said. “It's extremely hard. And it shouldn't be…But I’ve coped with it. So once today happens, I’m going to feel so much better.”
What conservatives are saying…
Right now, conservatives and conservative media are losing their minds over the number of anti-abortion protesters arrested under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Specifically, they’re going after Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice, as a “pro-abortion activist.” Something to keep an eye on as conservatives continue to defend escalating clinic violence.
You love to see it…
This is great. On November 3rd, doctors from all around the country will go to D.C. to demand an end to abortion bans. Dr. Heather Irobunda, an OBGYN and co-founder of Obstetricians for Reproductive Justice (one of the groups organizing the effort) says exactly what I want to hear from doctors right now: “We can’t just all get thrown into jail.”