Dec 5, 2022 • 13M

Abortion, Every Day (12.5.22)

More than 20% of pregnancies end in abortion

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

A judge in Indiana turned down a request to block the state attorney general’s investigation into Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who provided abortion care to a 10 year-old rape victim from Ohio. If you’ve been following the newsletter, you know that AG Todd Rokita has been using the power of his office to harass Dr. Bernard after the 10 year-old’s story became an international example of the cruelty of abortion bans. The judge ruled that the state medial licensing board now had jurisdiction over the case, since Rokita filed a complaint with them last week. So it sounds as if the judge didn’t rule against Dr. Bernard as much as she did give up standing on the case. (If you’re a lawyer, please correct me if I’m wrong!)

Judge Heather Welch also found that Rokita’s comments in the media about Dr. Bernard and the investigation were “clearly unlawful breaches of the licensing investigations statute's requirement that employees of the Attorney General's Office maintain confidentiality over pending investigations until they are so referred to prosecution.”

Gonna have to add this to my list of Shit Republicans Say: Arizona Rep. Lupe Diaz wrote an op-ed in favor of the state’s (blocked) abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest and you’re going to love what he had to say about that: “I know women who chose to keep the baby and are very satisfied with their child of rape.” WELL IN THAT CASE! Diaz also writes, pre-empting arguments about children who are raped, that a “the risk of a young girl having a baby by cesarean is less of a risk than an abortion.” I am so tired you guys.

The Houston Press in Texas looks what it takes for someone to travel out-of-state to get an abortion, and how Republicans are trying to punish and criminalize those who do so. Not only are anti-abortion lawmakers trying to pass a bill that would prohibit companies from getting tax subsidies if they provide abortion coverage for those traveling out-of-state, the paper reports that Republicans are considering legislation that would make health coverage for abortions illegal and allow private citizens to sue companies that offer such coverage. The publication also follows the story of 21 year-old Madi, who had to leave the state for abortion care:

“I feel like Texas legislators don’t respect reproductive rights and they don’t respect anybody that wants to put their future first. My body is not their property and I’m sick and tired of them treating it like that.”

In Nebraska, pro-choice advocates say they expect Republicans to push abortion restrictions soon. Andi Curry Grubb, executive director of Nebraska Planned Parenthood says, “We are absolutely preparing for all options to be on the table during the legislative session.” Right now state law allows abortions up until 22 weeks.

As Wyoming’s abortion ban heads to the state supreme court, Wyoming Public Radio goes to the only clinic in the state that provides abortions. If the court removes the block banning the law’s enforcement, people seeking abortions in Wyoming (which is already an abortion desert) would have to go to Colorado or Montana for care. OBGYN Dr. Giovannina Anthony says, “If it becomes illegal in Wyoming, then we are a true desert for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Idaho, Montana, Utah, the Dakotas.”

New York cops arrested pro-choice clinic defenders while allowing anti-abortion activists to continue harassing patients. Strongly recommend you click through and read this whole thread.

Also in the state, the New York Abortion Access Fund told New York Magazine that they provided over a million dollars so far this year to help patients afford abortions, and that out-of state patients now make up almost half of those seeking help from the fund.

And in Illinois, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board calls on lawmakers to protect women who travel to the state for abortion care—by shielding them from out-of-state prosecution and the increasing threat of digital surveillance, from license plate trackers and third-party trackers on websites to location tracking: “Officials and abortion vigilantes in other states can use a wide range of technology to track people who come to Illinois for abortions, and they might try to use the data to prosecute or sue women when they get home.”

Quick hits:

  • The Chicago Sun Times points out that women in Illinois, like in all states with abortion rights protections, are thriving economically in way that women in anti-choice states just don’t;

  • Requests for vasectomies have gone up in Washington;

  • and The Columbus Dispatch has an article on the Ohio Secretary of State’s efforts to make it harder for voters to make their voices heard on abortion rights.

In the nation…

When I wear my “abortion is normal” pin, this is part of the reason why: A new report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that over 1 in 5 pregnancies, a little over 20%, end in abortions. We also know (from previous reports) that 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion—ending a pregnancy is a common, normal experience for American women.

Abortion rights activists and pro-choice legal experts are getting increasingly concerned about conservatives’ attacks on abortion medication. Alliance for Defending Freedom, the designated hate group that brought the case that would go on to overturn Roe, has sued the FDA in an attempt to get them to reverse their decision approving the medication. And while their case has no merit, activists are worried that it might not matter if conservative judges are on the case:

“Jenny Ma, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said she anticipates seeing challenges in the courts as well as laws coming out of state legislatures that would either ban medication abortion outright or institute restrictions so significant it may as well be a ban.”

Don’t miss this guest essay from professors Michele Goodwin and Mary Ziegler in The New York Times about the anti-abortion war on truth and free speech.

“What’s different today is that, post-Roe, the stakes have changed. More Americans lack access to abortion than before, and abortion access has everything to do with access to information. That is where anti-abortion groups are seeking an edge.”

Whether it’s the University of Idaho banning employees from talking about birth control or abortion, South Carolina considering making speech about abortion illegal, or Oklahoma librarians behind told they could be breaking the law if they help people find information about abortion—things are getting very bad on the abortion/free speech front. Make sure to read the whole thing.

FiveThirtyEight has a good rundown of where abortion rights won in the midterms and what that means for the issue moving forward both on a state and national level:

Meanwhile, Republicans in states where the GOP had midterms wins are already looking to further restrict abortion rights. POLITICO reports that anti-choice lawmakers are especially eyeing what they can do in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia where abortion is currently legal. Something else to pay attention to:

“But the coming flurry of anti-abortion legislation also risks dividing the Republican Party as some state lawmakers take a no-compromises approach to new abortion restrictions, while others remain willing to negotiate to put a bill on their governor’s desk.”

I’ve written before about that rift among Republicans over just how extreme to be on abortion. Some want legislation without any exceptions for rape, incest and even sometimes life; while others can see how deeply unpopular the bans are, and are worried about rocking the boat even further. From the Guttmacher Institute’s Elizabeth Nash over at The 19th:

“We will see this split in the Republican Party around following essentially their base, which wants to ban abortion without any exceptions, and the larger public. This is the split in the party that is creating a problem for them. They can’t get their people in line. Is that going to continue? Or are people going to essentially get beaten into submission by leadership or the governor?”

The question is how can we use that intra-party conflict to our advantage…

Anita Hill spoke to CNN’s Chris Wallace about Roe v Wade being overturned, and pointed out that Dobbs isn’t just about reproductive rights, but an indicator of “what will happen to us as a country in terms of how much we value the civil rights of individuals and especially marginalized people.”

Quick hits:

  • U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto introduced legislation last week to create a federal grant program that funds organizations helping women to access abortion care;

  • The Conversation on the pros and cons of crowd-funding abortion;

  • An op-ed at The Hill urges President Joe Biden to “remove all federal bans on abortion coverage in his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2024”;

  • The Boston Globe did a deep dive into the anti-abortion groups passing ordinances in towns within pro-choice states;

  • And The Washington Post on why a ballot measure win doesn’t always mean the fight is over;.

What conservatives are doing…

What the fuck is wrong with these people? You may remember that conservative media lost their collective shit when NPR, in a segment that took listeners inside a Michigan abortion clinic, included audio of a woman ending her pregnancy. Well, a Catholic anti-abortion group held a “day of mourning” this weekend for the fetus, who they CHRISTENED AND NAMED.

And you’ve gotta love the conservative obsession with so-called ‘cancel culture’: A white woman who was fired after from her law firm after she blamed Black women for causing a “genocide” through abortion is claiming she was canceled by a woke mob. (Rather than, you know, let go for violating her workplace harassment policy.) Nothing new about a conservative blaming everyone but themselves when the consequences of their actions emerge, but this is particularly noteworthy because the frigging Wall Street Journal gave her column inches to complain.

You love to see it…

Virginia restaurant Metzger Bar & Butchery canceled a reservation for a private event when they saw it had been made by anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion group, the Family Foundation. In a statement, the restaurant said it has “always prided itself on being an inclusive environment for people to dine in,” and that they denied service to the organization after finding out that it was a group “that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia.” GOOD FOR THEM. Hilariously, the organization wrote a whole blog post about how they were denied service based on their beliefs, calling it “religious discrimination” even though they write legislation to allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

Anyway, if you’re in Virginia, you know where to eat on your next night out!

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