Oct 3 • 17M

Abortion, Every Day (10.3.22)

Violence & harassment against abortion clinic doubles

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Jessica Valenti
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
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In the states…

Planned Parenthood has launched its first mobile clinic in Illinois. The clinic will be set up inside of an RV, and will contain a waiting area, lab, and two exam rooms. From Yamelsie Rodriguez, President of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri: “Our goal is to reduce the hundreds of miles that people are having to travel now in order to access care...and meet them where they are.” The clinic will start by offering medication abortion and then expand to surgical abortion next year. Since Roe was overturned, the number of out-of-state patients in Illinois has spiked dramatically.

A 14 year-old in Arizona with severe osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis was denied her regular prescription for methotrexate because of the state’s abortion ban. Emma has been in and out of the hospital most of her life, and the drug manages her symptoms and pain so that she can attend school in person. Her mother told a reporter, “As a mother who has had to deal with my child being very ill most of her life, I was scared, I was really worried. I was shaking. I was in tears. I didn’t know what to do.” Patients like Emma have been having a difficult time obtaining their medication in multiple states after Roe was overturned.

Also in Arizona, a judge denied abortion rights groups’ request that the state’s abortion ban be put on hold as the issue is argued in the courts.

Women in Texas who want to have children are forgoing parenting because of the state abortion ban. Sarah Fischer, for example, has lost four pregnancies—and has needed abortion medication in the past to help complete her miscarriages. She and her husband desperately want a child, but are concerned the law won’t protect her if she has another pregnancy that requires care:

“There are so many layers of emotional pain involved with losing a pregnancy. To have people, primarily men, that have never met me, will never meet me, decide that it’s going to be that much harder for me or even put my life at risk, I don’t know if I have a word for it.”

Speaking of Texas, if you missed the gubernatorial debate, here’s the exchange Beto O’Rourke and Gov. Greg Abbott had on abortion (prepare to be furious):

Florida Sen. Rick Scott signaled support for a federal ban on abortion this weekend during an appearance on Meet the Press. “I think we ought to have reasonable restrictions,” he said. “I think a lot of people are comfortable with 15 weeks and exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.” This is exactly the strategy I talked about last week after Wisconsin Rep. Tom Tiffany said he thinks abortion is a state’s issue, but he could support “setting a floor” at 15 weeks: Republicans are going to claim that abortion can still be decided at the state level if there is a baseline national ban—a ban that they’ll frame as reasonable and sensible rather than extreme.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says protecting abortion rights isn’t just about women’s health and freedom, but economic development for the state: “I want to go into anti-choice states and start recruiting talent, start recruiting headquarters. I want to walk into Indiana and Ohio and eat their lunch.” (Meanwhile, her opponent Tudor Dixon is asking voters to set aside abortion as an issue in the gubernatorial campaign.)

Moira Donegan at The Guardian wrote about lingering free speech questions around University of Idaho’s birth control guidance and ban on talking about abortion:

It’s not clear whether [professors] are able to teach about abortion in a frank way, teach materials that address abortion, publish academic articles that are supportive of abortion, or provide accurate historical, legal or medical information about abortion. It’s not clear whether a university press can publish a pro-choice book; it’s not clear what consequences an Idaho professor might face if they make a pro-choice presentation at an out-of-state academic conference.

The university’s newspaper reports that faculty are furious over the rules, and that the faculty senate released a statement calling the guidance “an assault on our academic freedom.”

Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger has put out a new ad attacking her Republican opponent Yesli Vega, who said that pregnancy after rape is rare:

Hawaii’s gubernatorial candidates are speaking up on abortion, and former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona is relying on the latest Republican strategy: Claiming abortion rights are protected and nothing to worry about. This is what the Minnesota GOP told Republican candidates to say in a leaked memo, for example, and exactly what congressional candidate Tyler Kistner said this weekend: “…Minnesota abortion rights are not changing anytime soon.” Do not believe them.

Small towns in Nebraska are trying to ban abortion with local ordinances, despite state law. While the bans aren’t enforceable, pro-choicers are worried about the chilling effect it will have on abortion rights. Also of note: The driving force behind these ordinances is a Texas-based activist, Mark Lee Dickson—he’s the guy who started this trend in Texas, and who came up with the idea of deputizing every day citizens to sue anyone who ‘aids and abets’ in abortion.

In West Virginia, a councilwoman in Huntington wore a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ outfit during a recent council meeting. After some backlash, Tia Rumbaugh said, “If not now when and if not in this manner what manner can we educate our constituents, our residents? I have a very small voice and my voice is only the amplification of everyone else’s voices within our community.”

And here’s a good explanation of California’s new laws on abortion and digital privacy from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In the nation…

Abortion clinics across the country are seeing an uptick in harassment and violence. The National Abortion Federation says incidents of arson, vandalism, bomb threats, and death threats have doubled compared to this time last year.

Gallup reports that public trust in the Supreme Court is at an all-time low, mostly thanks to abortion. And a poll shows that 76 percent of Latino voters believe that no matter what their personal beliefs on abortion are, it’s wrong to make ending a pregnancy illegal.

Bloomberg Law says the Biden administration’s push to allow VA health centers to provide abortions demonstrate the limitations of his office, pointing out that the restrictions to qualify for an abortion are similar to the restrictions in anti-choice states.

The American Prospect looks at the impact of abortion bans on doctors: “An entire medical field has been thrown into disarray, leaving many practitioners unemployed, morally compromised, and unduly burdened.”

NPR reports on the threat against abortion rights in Puerto Rico and has a short segment on the complicated beliefs of transracial adoptees on abortion; Axios has a roundup of ways the Satanic Temple has been going after abortion bans using religious freedom arguments; Vox goes into which states have abortion on the ballot in November; and POLITICO examines Democrats’ all-in strategy on abortion.

And if you can believe it, it’s been 100 days since Roe was overturned. Planned Parenthood collected stories from people in each of the 17 states where abortion bans are in effect:

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