Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day (2.8.23)

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Abortion, Every Day (2.8.23)

This is how out-of-state travel gets banned

In the states…

South Carolina’s Supreme Court has denied a request from the state Attorney General to reconsider their ruling on the state’s abortion ban, which they said was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state are firing on all fronts trying to pass new abortion bans: This week lawmakers debated an abortion ban similar to the one that the Court struck down that would make abortion illegal after six weeks. The legislation would require doctors to report the name and contact information of any rape victim who wants an abortion, and mandates that physicians “notify the pregnant woman that the physician will report the allegation of rape or incest to the sheriff.” You know, just in case she didn’t feel scared and intimidated enough.

This comes after the House Judiciary Committee passed a total abortion, the ‘Human Life Protection Act’. The bill has onerous requirements for doctors seeking to give rape victims care, or provide a medically necessary abortion. If doctors break the law—which they could do by simply not keeping the required detailed notes—they would lose their medical license.

Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Biden administration over their guidance to pharmacies about not discriminating against people when dispensing medication. Essentially, the guidance was a reminder to pharmacists that they can’t discriminate against someone based on their ability or perceived ability to get pregnant. So, for example, they can’t withhold arthritis medication from a woman just because the medication could induce abortion.

Again, this guidance didn’t say that Texas or anywhere else had to prescribe abortion medication. Yet Paxton is suing, saying that the Biden administration “has no legal authority to institute this radical abortion agenda.” (You also may remember Paxton as the AG who sued the Biden administration over the state’s right to refuse emergency life-saving abortions.) What’s doubly upsetting about this is that the media coverage is getting it all wrong, with headlines mirroring Paxton’s claim that the lawsuit is about abortion.

The Texas Tribune’s headline, for example, reads, “Texas sues to block Biden’s abortion medication guidance”—language that’s repeated in multiple other news outlets. I think the least we can ask from mainstream media is that they get the basic facts right.

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Also in Texas: A new study from University of Houston’s school of public affairs found that—as tend to be the case everywhere—the vast majority of people in Texas want abortion to be legal for rape and incest victims, and the majority want to see the total abortion ban in the state changed or done away with. Fifty-two percent of those polled said they think the state should make it easier to obtain an abortion, while 81% and 77% said that abortion should be legal in cases of incest and rape, respectively.

After a national outcry, Florida’s High School Athletic Association board of directors is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow over their requirement that female students turn over information about their periods:

“Nobody should know if I’m on my period unless I tell them,” Mallory McDonald, a Miami Beach High softball player, told the Herald on Friday.

Fentrice Driskell, the Florida House Democratic leader, on Monday called the proposal a “gross invasion of privacy” and said she plans to send a letter to the association, pressuring them to discard the measure. And while doctors the Herald spoke with agree menstrual history is important, they don’t believe schools should have access to the information due to student privacy concerns.

Doctors and advocates are recommending that students simply be required to hand in a form from their doctor saying that they’re physically cleared to participate in sports. Which seems about right. (Vox also has an article about why this is all so fucked up, if you’d like to read more.)

And in Idaho, Republicans are pushing new legislation that would classify anyone who takes a minor across state lines for an abortion as a ‘human trafficker’. That means that if a beloved aunt or grandmother took a teenager for care, they could be punished with five years in prison. There is no language in the bill about teenagers who are being abused at home, perhaps by their legal guardian; nor is there language specifying if only one parent’s consent is necessary to bring a minor out-of-state for an abortion, or if both parents must be notified and give permission. I’ve said this before, but this is exactly how we’re going to see women start to be limited from leaving the state for care—it will be a slow chipping away process. First they’ll make rules about minors and parental consent, next they’ll pass a rule saying that minors can’t leave even with parental consent. Mark my words—it’s coming.

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Quick hits:

In the nation…

If you missed my column about Biden’s State of the Union address, you can read it here. The short version? It was offensively inadequate on abortion rights. (Which is why I was sort of surprised to see The 19th’s take that the president “skewered” abortion bans.) You can read more about what reproductive rights and justice activists thought of the speech, including Renee Bracey Sherman of We Testify who said, “I don’t want to hear any more platitudes. I want to hear an actual plan.”

Speaking of the State of the Union—guess who U.S. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania brought as his guest? Mark Houck, an anti-abortion ‘activist’ who was arrested for assaulting a 72-year-old clinic escort.

Ian Millhiser over at Vox wrote a piece about that federal judge who said that you could argue that abortion is protected under the 13th Amendment, which bans and involuntary servitude. His point is that while it is a reasonable legal argument, it’s not one that’s likely to go anywhere while we have these particular justices on the Supreme Court and that the Dobbs decision explicitly stated that the Constitution doesn’t confer a right to abortion. Millhiser writes that the judge’s order is really just “a very thoughtful effort to troll the Supreme Court.”

Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern at Slate also take on U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s comments, writing that “whether you are for Dobbs or against it, we should laud any and every jurist willing to step into the ring and have a go.”

Quick hits:

  • ProPublica looks at what kind of abortion legislation we can expect to see in 2023;

  • A Los Angeles Times column lays out how worried people should be about the decision set to come down on abortion medication;

  • VICE on the abortion medication lawsuit and just how conservative Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is;

  • Bloomberg calls abortion medication “the world’s most controversial pill” even as abortion has overwhelming support in the country;

  • And I can’t believe online misinformation is so bad that we need to have a fact-check over the viral story that morning after pills are hidden inside pregnancy tests.

Listen up…

New Mexico Public Radio has a segment on the anti-choice moves in the state to restrict or ban abortion in small towns in the (pro-choice) state.

Keep an eye on…

I told you yesterday that Jill Biden’s guest for the State of the Union was Amanda Zurawski, a Texas woman who ended up in the ICU with sepsis after being denied an abortion for a doomed pregnancy. The anti-abortion movement sure didn’t like that, and claimed that Zurawski was totally allowed to end her pregnancy, it was just those pesky doctors that didn’t understand the law.

More and more, these groups are going to continue to blame doctors and claim that their laws don’t put women’s health and lives in danger—even as they do! Even as women come forward with horror stories!

Just remember what all this denial is about.

You love to see it…

Fucking hilarious. Olivia Julianna, the young activist who raised $2 million for abortion rights after Matt Gaetz body shamed her online, said she went up to Gaetz and thanked him for helping her to raise the money. As the kids say: Queen behavior.

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