In the states…
Kansas Republicans really do not care that the citizens of their state are pro-choice. Despite clear polling and the state’s pro-choice ballot measure win, lawmakers are proposing a total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, health or life—in fact, Republicans struck out language from the bill that would allow abortions in cases of medical emergencies. The bill would also criminalize IVF. Anyone who has an abortion or undergoes common IVF procedures would be guilty of a felony punishable by 20 years in prison.
When questioned about the overwhelming voter response to the 2022 ballot measure, one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Randy Garber, said that he simply didn’t believe the vote was representative of public opinion. A spokesperson from Planned Parenthood Great Plains said that lawmakers are “intentionally and continually subverting the will of the voters.”
The bill isn’t likely to survive the state’s courts, but it’s important to know just how far anti-choice politicians are willing to go—and how little they care about women’s lives or what voters want.
Republicans in Missouri are also eager to circumvent voters’ wishes—a House panel in the state pushed forward bills yesterday to make it harder to pass ballot measures and change the state constitution. And in Nebraska, Democrats are accusing their conservative counterparts of bending legislative rules in order to fast-track abortion restrictions.
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Here’s some more info on the total abortion ban being introduced in South Carolina—despite the state Supreme Court’s decision that a 6-week ban violated the state’s constitution! And here’s an article about the move by North Carolina Democrats to codify abortion rights despite the Republican stronghold in the state.
Pro-choice groups in Ohio were successful in getting the town of Lebanon—which passed one of the first local ordinances banning abortion—to significantly narrow their law. The town had provisions in their anti-choice ordinance that made ‘aiding and abetting’ abortion a crime, as well as providing logistical or counseling help to someone seeking an abortion—those have been removed, which is a start.
Anti-abortion groups protested as Minnesota’s state Senate debated the PRO Act, which would codify abortion rights. You can read more about the law here.
A bill in Utah would strip abortion rights from rape victims in the state after 18-weeks, and would require them to make a police report in order to obtain an abortion at all. Karrie Galloway, president of Utah Planned Parenthood, said, “This bill takes the traumatic experience of sexual assault and burdens the victim with more hurdles and new trauma by restricting their personal liberty and privacy and forcing them to file a police report to receive essential health care.”
Also in Utah, I’ve written about the Republican move to change the standards around injunctions (as a way to remove the block on the state’s abortion ban). Today, the Utah State Bar—in a rare move—came out in opposition to the bill, saying that it “raises constitutional separation powers concerns.”
And I am struggling to understand why anyone at Wyoming Public Radio would use the term ‘chemical abortion’ as if it wasn’t anti-abortion rhetoric with no basis in science or medical terminology. The media shouldn’t be doing the work of anti-choice activists.
Florida’s Supreme Court likely won’t come down with a decision about the state’s 15-week ban until after the legislative sessions ends;
Also in Florida, abortion providers there are seeing a huge influx of patients;
This Arizona op-ed tries to dispel the misinformation about Title X and the way that abortion is funded in the state;
Some more info on the Illinois man who set fire to the Peoria Planned Parenthood;
Axios gets into what happened in Virginia, where Democrats just defeated a 15-week abortion ban;
And love that this bar in Kentucky is handing out free emergency contraception.
In the nation…
If you missed my breaking news alert this afternoon, please do check it out—it’s one of the more distressing things I’ve seen in a while. (And I see a lot of distressing shit!) Once again, it’s something that I sort of can’t believe hasn’t been covered by any mainstream outlets.
A group of anti-abortion activists forced their way into a Walgreens shareholder meeting, after hiding in a closet for nine hours. Protesters were set to be outside of the building to demonstrate against the company’s decision to carry abortion medication in their retail pharmacies, but some found a way to break into the room. Which, let’s be real, is terrifying.
In related news: Media Matters has a breakdown of the way that the right-wing media machine has been attacking abortion medication—including using dangerous and false rhetoric.
Jeet Heer at The Nation looks at Republican infighting about abortion—and points out that despite moves to appear more moderate, one thing remains true:
“Republican politicians are right to be uneasy about their party’s sweeping anti-abortion stance. It’s both politically unpopular—and extremely cruel. But the GOP as a party remains in the thrall of anti-abortion extremists. That fundamental reality won’t change soon.”
And I think that’s right. Republicans may see the political writing on the wall, but they’re also too afraid to make moves against the most extreme anti-abortion organizations who are defining the conservative movement’s position.
Meanwhile, Stateline covers how more and more Republicans are coming out to say that they would support exceptions in their state’s abortion bans. In part this is because lawmakers can see how unpopular abortion restrictions are, but also because the reality of what it really looks like to ban abortion is something they were not necessarily prepared for. But again, I really wish that any article about exceptions—especially those about Republicans’ push for exceptions—would make clear that they don’t really work. We need to be screaming it from the rafters.
In a different piece at The Hill, Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, points to the fact that sates like Louisiana have reported zero abortions since their ban was put in place and what that means for abortion exceptions: “If the data are showing that abortions are not happening, then that proves the point that the exceptions are on paper, and not in practice.” Exactly.
Jezebel has a good piece on the conservative messaging strategy on abortion medication, and the way that they’re trying to paint it as a dangerous drug. Writer Caitlin Cruz makes the important point that despite how ridiculous their rhetoric is, however, not everyone may understand it as the bullshit it is:
“All of this is part of a larger strategy to sow confusion. ‘Now that [abortion pills] are the main target, they’re looking for more ways to muddy the waters for potential abortion patients,’ [Media Matters researcher Jasmine] Geonzon told Jezebel. Making people question if abortion pills are dangerous enough to hurt our groundwater may sound nutty to an informed pro-abortion reader, but not every abortion patient spends all their time considering how abortion may impact their life.”
That’s part of why I do this newsletter, to be honest. More people need to understand the nitty gritty of what is happening with abortion—and the sneaky ways anti-choice activists are trying to influence Americans.
In These Times gets into how unions can help protect reproductive rights;
Vogue on the connection between IVF and abortion bans;
Law professor and author Mary Ziegler wrote for CNN about the danger that the Comstock Act poses to abortion rights across the country, not just in anti-choice states;
The Wall Street Journal has published an interactive about the state of abortion medication across the country;
And The Nation on why ‘restore Roe’ isn’t enough.
Mary Ziegler talks about her new book, Roe: The History of a National Obsession; and Kaiser Health News has a two-part podcast series on the state of the national debate on abortion. (Part I, Part II)
You love to see it…
Love this interview with one of the original members of the Janes, Marie Learner:
This newsletter was compiled with the help of researcher Grace Haley.
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