Jan 25 • 17M

Abortion, Every Day (1.25.23)

Texas is investigating a woman's miscarriage

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

Conservatives claim that women won’t be targeted as a result of abortion bans, but that lie has been falling apart at the seams. The latest example comes to us from Texas, where a young woman miscarried at a hospital and the fetal remains were released to her—legally. But when she had a small burial at a local park, someone called the police, who dug up the remains, sent them for an autopsy and issued a public alert looking for the woman and another person seen with her at the park. The woman went to police after seeing the media coverage; but even after explaining the situation it appears that the remains are still with the medical examiner and the District Attorney is reviewing the case.

So this young woman who just lost her pregnancy is now dealing with the horrific trauma of being investigated—her fetus dug up against her will—and the added shame of having the media cover her loss as if it was some kind of crime. This is our post-Roe reality.

And it’s only getting worse, and more radical: In Kansas, where anti-choice groups are regrouping after their ballot measure loss, anti-abortion protesters revealed just how extreme—and scary—they are. At the state’s March for Life, Kansans for Life revealed a new slogan that they hope will make people believe that they care about women and not just forcing them to carry pregnancies: “We will never abandon moms and babies.” But the group’s efforts to be more palatable to the public was overshadowed by the clear message from the crowd: “Scattered around the crowd were signs calling to ‘stop abortion now,’ as well as a homemade signs calling to ‘abolish’ abortion and pair calling abortion ‘murder’ and ‘America's Holocaust.’” But here’s something that truly blew me away: Scott Stringfield, the medical director of crisis pregnancy center, Choices Medical Clinic, told a reporter that politicians need to “choose principle over pragmatism.” He went on to to praise the terrorists who flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 as “principled.” He said, “They were willing to die for what they believed in.”

Also today in Kansas extremism: The Republican president of the Kansas Senate, Ty Masterson, gave a speech in response to Gov. Laura Kelly’s state of the state address where he accused Democrats of pushing a “sexualized woke agenda” that is “devoted to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, allowing the most inhumane procedures up to, and even past, the moment of birth.”

This kind of language—claims that abortion providers are killing infants—leads directly to violence. We saw it in the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting, and when you have anti-choice leaders lauding 9/11 terrorists, it’s rhetoric that puts people’s lives in danger. By the way, Choices Medical Clinic? It sits next door the Trust Women clinic—best known as the home of Dr. George Tiller.

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Utah Republicans’ push to raise the standards by which an injunction can be granted—a transparent move to do away with the block on the state’s abortion ban—would make it harder for courts to protect abused children and domestic violence victims. Family law experts say that raising the bar for injunctions would slow down the delicate—and urgent—process of getting protection orders for victims of violence: “Rather than being able to apply for an emergency hearing, family attorneys would need to wait as long as six or eight weeks to seek temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions.” Delightful.

Georgia Democrats are introducing the Reproductive Freedom Act, which would repeal the state’s abortion restrictions and expand protections for reproductive rights, including allowing insurance coverage of abortion. Rep. Shea Roberts, who co-sponsored the legislation, said, “Seventy percent of Georgia wants abortion access. We are here to demand that this is what we want as a vision for the future of abortion care in this state.” You can watch the unveiling of the legislation below:

California really has been leading the charge in protections and expansions of reproductive rights, and POLITICO reports that other states will be using their legislation as a model. In addition to mandating that student health centers provide abortion medication, the state has also increased funding for those who need it to obtain abortions, expanded the kind of medical professionals who can provide abortions, and made it harder for tech companies to access or use private health data. (My favorite, though, was putting up billboards in anti-choice states directing people how to access abortion in California.)

Speaking of pro-choice states doing great things, my home state of New York got one step closer to expanding the state constitution’s Equal Protection Amendment to protect abortion rights and gender-affirming healthcare. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “This is our mandate to continue strengthening New York’s status as a destination state where reproductive freedoms are protected and the right to choose is guaranteed.”

Lawmakers in Washington heard testimony on abortion rights yesterday as part of Democrats’ move to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. My favorite bit was when while questioning Gov. Jay Inslee, Republican Sen. Ann Rivers said that the law was “settled” in the state, and that “Political theater aside, I don’t see any, any world in which Washington state changes course on this issue.” Gov. Inslee’s response was perfection:

I’m trying to say this in a respectful way: What world are you living in? There is a party in our state that wakes up every single morning trying to take away this right from women. And in multiple states, unfortunately, in multiple states, they have done so effectively.”

I told you yesterday about the Indiana Republican who wants to ban women from traveling out-of-state for abortion (I did a TikTok on how that could realistically go down)—something that activists across the country are starting to worry about. Kate Miller with the ACLU of Kentucky gave a press conference laying out their legislative agenda, where they highlighted their concerns over anti-LGBTQ attacks and moves to further restrict abortion, including criminalizing leaving the state.

You may remember that back in October I told you about how Florida schools were requiring female student athletes to report information about their periods to school administrators—something that obviously takes on increased significance these days. Well, after an outcry, the Florida High School Athletics Association has stood by its decision that female students turn in information about their menstruation—including when they got their first period, how many days are typically in between their periods and the date of their most recent period. Most troubling is that while other states collect similar data for student athletes, that information is not turned into schools, but kept private with their doctors. This decision, however, will have students turn in all that information about their periods to the schools directly.

No fucking thank you.

Quick hits:

  • The New York Times has a comprehensive piece on just how important the Wisconsin Supreme Court election is, and its national implications for abortion and beyond;

  • A Colorado mother and daughter share their 50-years-apart abortion stories;

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel gave an interview about the state’s new right to abortion;

  • Vermont’s House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony this week on a law to protect abortion providers and patients from out-of-state litigation;

  • Nebraska Sen. Megan Hunt is introducing legislation that would require hospitals to inform sexual violence victims about emergency contraception, and offer it to them if they want it;

  • And more and more college campuses are installing Plan B vending machines, the latest is at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

In the nation…

Two new lawsuits on abortion medication could have a huge impact on the availability of the pills across the country—even in states with abortion bans. The first lawsuit was brought by GenBioPro—which manufactures mifepristone (one of the two drugs taken to end a pregnancy)— against West Virginia, which has an abortion ban. Their argument is that the state’s ban violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause that says federal laws take priority over any state law that conflicts with it. The lawsuit also argues that the state’s ban violates their right to interstate commerce. (Since the ban was passed, the company’s sales in West Virginia have obviously dropped.) The second case comes from an OBGYN who is suing North Carolina—a state where abortion is still legal, but abortion medication is restricted above and beyond the FDA regulations. So once again, the argument is that federal rules trump state laws.

I’m really glad to see some proactive legal movement from pro-choicers right now, especially given that anti-abortion activists are working so hard to ban abortion medication—which accounts for over half of abortions in the country. (One organization is suing the FDA, saying that they should reverse their decision approving abortion medication—that case will be heard by a Trump-appointed nut.)

Quick hits:

  • TIME magazine has a big piece on the importance of abortion access for people with disabilities;

  • VICE covers abortion ‘abolitionists’ who want to charge women who end their pregnancies with murder;

  • In case you missed it last week, I just wanted to re-flag this piece from ProPublica about the digital privacy risks around ordering abortion medication and to remind people to protect themselves;

  • And just a side note that I really want to see the new documentary about abortion medication, Plan C, which is getting great reviews so far.

This newsletter was compiled with the help of researcher Grace Haley.

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