In the states…
I told you last month about the Alabama woman who was arrested and jailed so that the state could ‘protect’ her fetus from alleged drug use even though she wasn’t pregnant. (When she was finally released, a Sheriff’s investigator told her not to become pregnant, lest she be arrested again.) Reuters has a piece on her case, and how fetal personhood laws criminalize pregnant women across the country.
More on the dangers of trumping fetal rights over women’s: Isthmus in Wisconsin has a super comprehensive, important piece on the history of criminalizing pregnant women in the state under the auspices of ‘fetal protection’:
“Wisconsin is one of just five states that allow civil detention for pregnant people accused of substance use. Its legal proceedings take place out of public view, under seal, with a low standard of evidence and often a court-appointed attorney for the fetus—but none for the person gestating it.”
Also in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on behalf of a man who wants an injunction lifted that bans him being near a Planned Parenthood nurse who he continually harassed. Brian Aish’s lawyers are claiming that his comments to the health care provider are protected under the 1st Amendment and didn’t amount to harassment. You be the judge:
“That included standing several feet away from her car and telling her she could be killed by a drink driver on the way home, and that it would not be too long before bad things happened to her or her family, according to court documents.”
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Charming. Speaking of Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court: Republicans are worried that voters’ fury over abortion will impact elections for the court. (It’s currently controlled by conservative judges, and could flip towards more liberal justices.)
Republicans are also nervous in Ohio, where some conservative lawmakers want to push a bill that would ban abortion from the point of conception. (Right now, the state has a 6-week ban—which is before most women know they’re pregnant.) Gov. Mike DeWine said, “I would hope that the General Assembly would pass something that would last, that would not be overridden by a vote of the people.” But here’s the thing; the state’s current ban would likely be overridden by a vote of the people. So keep your fingers crossed.
Vermont sex education classes are taking on new meaning in a post-Roe world. The state has some of the more progressive sex education in the country, and requires free condoms be made available to students. The classes also teach about abortion, as they should. Vermont students know that they are getting an education that so many others around the country don’t have access to. One student says, “It's very unfair that one student at one school is going to be able to have a comprehensive understanding about how to keep themselves safe, another student at another school is going to have nothing but shame.”
And I told you about South Carolina’s new policy allowing birth control pill prescriptions to be obtained directly at pharmacies, allowing women to forgo medical appointments—but it doesn’t look like the rule will actually change much anytime soon:
“Where the option is—or will be—available is not yet determined. Many pharmacists must first get certified to participate. And there is no database, online or otherwise, that women can search to learn which, if any, pharmacies near them are willing and able to dole out the contraceptives…”
And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Arkansas about abortion rights, saying that maybe privacy isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, “but neither are AR-15s.”
New Jersey’s Attorney General announced a $5 million grant today that will fund abortion training for anyone eligible, and abortion education for students training to be licensed in reproductive health areas of medicine;
And if anyone is in Jacksonville, Florida, this clinic is in desperate need of volunteer escorts.
In the nation…
Prepare for a bad thing that sounds like a good thing: Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (R-FL) and Republican Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) have started what they’re calling the Bipartisan Family Building Caucus—an effort to raise awareness and pass policies in support of increased access to IVF. Sounds great, right? Not so fast. From The 19th, emphasis mine:
“[Wasserman Schultz] said the caucus wants to decouple the issues of fertility treatments and abortion to find common ground in the GOP-controlled House in the next Congress… ‘I mean, you have people like Mike Pence, who have spoken recently about the importance of preserving access and developing fertility treatments,’ Wasserman Schultz said in an interview. ‘And so I think there’s a way to separate it and not do so in a way that compromises our position on abortion rights.’”
Are you fucking kidding me with this? “Decoupling” abortion from other medical procedures and issues is exactly what Republicans want! It plays right into the idea that abortion is somehow distinct from other ‘credible’ areas of women’s reproductive health. The truth is that abortion is a medical intervention to end a pregnancy: That happens with unwanted pregnancies, incomplete miscarriages, procedures around fertility and more. Trying to “separate” abortion from the rest of our healthcare gives ammunition to conservatives, and further stigmatizes what is a common and normal part of our healthcare.
This is so disappointing, and incredibly shortsighted.
POLITICO on “How Dobbs Triggered a ‘Vasectomy Revolution’”;
And Comedian Chelsea Handler on being grateful that her mother supported her through an abortion.
What conservatives are saying…
Now this is interesting. The Alliance for Defending Freedom—the extremist organization responsible for bringing the suit that would go on to overturn Roe—has published an article attacking the viral images of early pregnancy and the clinicians who released them. A lawyer for the organization (who the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group) claims that the doctors at the Mya Network have “deliberately removed or strategically covered up” the embryo in their pictures of early pregnancy. Plenty of anti-abortion groups have targeted the images, which makes sense—for decades, fake and doctored pictures have been a central part of their strategy. But the fact the ADF is joining in is really important; as horrible as they are, this is an incredibly influential organization. To me, this just demonstrates how powerful the Mya Network’s images are, and how dangerous the anti-abortion movement finds them.
At least we have some good news: According to a panel on the future of medical privacy in a post-Roe world, the Office for Civil Rights worked with the American Medical Association to come up with their legal position on a physician’s responsibility to turn in patients who plan to seek illegal abortions. And, thank goodness, the groups concluded that doctors wouldn’t be required to contact law enforcement because of HIPAA.
You love to see it…
Love this profile of Las Libres—the Mexican abortion rights group helping U.S. women get abortion medication—and the interview with their director, Verónica Cruz. Since Roe was overturned, the group has helped more than 10,000 women have abortions:
“To meet that need, volunteers drive or fly batches of hundreds of pills across the border, and then mail them to associates in the network, who get them to people in need of support. Volunteers known as acompañantes then share stories about their own experiences with ‘the pill,’ and walk pregnant people through what to expect. It’s a model designed to deliver interpersonal care when social structures fail us. And it has been successful.”
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