Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day (3.8.23)

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Abortion, Every Day (3.8.23)

Anti-choice groups will protest in front of pharmacies indefinitely

In the states…

You already know that Florida Republicans introduced a bill to ban abortion at 6-weeks—legislation that would impact doctors and patients across the South, not just in the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis says that he’ll sign the legislation, and that “those exceptions are sensible.” Check out that word, ‘sensible’. This is something I’ve been writing about since last year: The way Republicans are trying to paint their bans as ‘reasonable’, ‘sensible’ compromises. We’re going to see this language used a lot as they strip away our rights.

CBS Mornings has more on the five women suing Texas over the state’s abortion law. Please take note of John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, who does exactly what I’ve been warning about for months: Blames doctors.

Also in Texas, Democrats there are trying to pass legislation that would expand reproductive health services in the wake of abortion being banned—from ending tax on diapers and menstrual health products to repealing the ban on state funds going to Planned Parenthood. The latter will be more difficult to pass, obviously, but Democratic legislators are focusing on the state’s maternal mortality rate as a reason for why the funding is so badly needed. Sen. Sarah Eckhardt said, “The devastating statistics we're seeing in maternal morbidity, our poverty rate, our lack of (rural) health care access, our difficulty with getting birth control, these are all issues that our Republican colleagues should care about.”

Speaking of maternal mortality: In Georgia, a new study looked at the past 11 years of abortions and found that only 9% of them would be legal under the state’s current 6-week ban. Emory University professor and the study’s lead author, Sara Redd says that the patients who would have been denied are those least likely to have access to care:

“There’s a lot of literature showing that restrictive settings and these kinds of restrictive abortion policies can actually lead to increases in things like maternal mortality and infant mortality and other types of adverse birth outcomes.”

The study also found that the percentage of abortions that would have been ineligible today was higher for Black patients, those without a high school diploma, and teens—over 90% of whom would not have been able to get an abortion under the state’s current law.

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In Arkansas, a bill to add an exception to the state’s abortion ban that would allow for care in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities has failed. In case you needed a reminder of how little they give a shit about ‘life’.

Kansas Republicans want to take $1.7 million in state funding for low-income families and give it to anti-abortion centers—loosely-regulated non-medical clinics that regularly lie to women about their health in order to stop them from having abortions. Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes spokeswoman Katie Baylie says, “Instead of this money going to essential needs, the money, at best, would be used to coerce and mislead individuals and contribute to increased inequalities.”

Legislators in Alaska are asking Walgreens to ignore the threats from their state Attorney General, and provide the people of their state with abortion medication:

“No company should willingly eliminate access to life-saving medication in response to the political demands of a few Attorneys General, particularly when the action directly undermines Constitutional rights in our state.”

Democratic Rep. Zack Fields said the attorney general shouldn’t be able to “bully companies into undermining the constitutionally protected rights of Alaskans.”

Some of the images that flash on Mayday Health’s mobile billboard

We have more information on Idaho banning Mayday Health from running their mobile billboards advertising how to access abortion medication. A Boise city spokesperson says that they ban all mobile billboards, regardless of message—but Mayday Health Executive Director Jen Lincoln thinks it’s more than that: “I absolutely feel that our truck was asked to leave because it had the audacity to tell people that they could still access an abortion in a state that does not want people to know that.”

Also in Idaho, the House passed the bill yesterday that would classify taking a minor out-of-state for abortion care as ‘trafficking’, punishable by two to five years in prison. This means that a grandmother or aunt could be prosecuted for helping a young family member get the care that she needed—and that children in the foster system would be put in an impossible situation.

And we still have no movement on an exception for women’s health and lives in Tennessee’s abortion ban, despite repeated calls from medical professionals and experts.

Quick hits:

In the nation…

As abortion medication takes center stage in the national debate, it’s important to know that anti-choice groups aren’t just launching legal attacks on the FDA and pharmacies—but intimidation campaigns, as well. I’ve written about these groups’ increased presence at pharmacies before, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the new longterm anti-abortion strategy is to expand from harassing people outside of clinics to harassing people outside of pharmacies.

In the Wall Street Journal today, for example, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said, “It’s really going to be part of the standard protocol of community pro-life groups to have a regular presence outside of pharmacies as we get further and further into this.” (Your regular reminded that Students for Life believes that birth control pills are abortifacients.)

Speaking of abortion medication: Walgreens stock was down almost 4% by close of trading yesterday, just one of the many indications that the company is in the middle of a massive backlash over their decision to cave to conservative demands. In fact, today, the editorial board of The Los Angeles Times called their decision “despicable.”

“In a post-Roe era when states are trying to restrict abortion, including medication abortion, which is more easily available than a surgical abortion, it’s outrageous for a drugstore chain to be in any way connected to thwarting access. Abortion care is healthcare, and that should be Walgreens’ primary concern.”

Health secretary Xavier Becerra spoke about the ruling on abortion medication that we’re all waiting for, saying that perhaps Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk hasn’t come down with a decision yet because he’s “realizing that he may put in jeopardy a whole lot more than just mifepristone.”

“There are a whole bunch of medications out there that went through a very similar process at FDA,” Becerra said. Regardless, he promised, “We will continue to make sure medication abortion is available for every woman in this country.”

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Pew Research came out with new numbers on the gender pay gap, showing that not much has changed in the last twenty years: In 2002, women earned 80% as much as men; by 2022 that number increased to just 82%. I think it’s fair to say we’ll see a lot more movement now that the U.S. has forced childbirth—just not likely in the direction we’d like.

VICE and The Marshall Project has a super important short documentary on women who have been jailed because of negative pregnancy outcomes. As always, if you want to know more about this topic, make sure to familiarize yourself with the organization Pregnancy Justice.

Quick hits:

  • Researchers wrote an op-ed at The Chicago Tribune about why banning mifepristone would be a terrible idea;

  • All Things Considered at NPR has a short segment on California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the state will stop doing business with Walgreens and the national outcry over their decision on abortion medication;

  • And if you think you couldn’t be any angrier, read about abortion ‘abolitionists’.

Stats & Studies…

This is incredible: Middlebury College economics professor Caitlin Myers put together an epic analysis of abortion access, mapping things like travel time and distance to clinics from anti-choice states. FiveThirtyEight put together an interactive using her work and it’s an amazing tool that visualizes just how far patients will have to go in order to get care. You should definitely go check it out and share.

And in anticipation of the ruling on abortion medication, the Kaiser Family Foundation is reminding folks of their multiple resources on the topic, including State Health Facts, State Profiles for Women’s Health, Key Facts on Abortion, and facts on the Availability and Use of Medication Abortion. All of them are worth checking out.

Related: Our amazing researcher, Grace Haley, is helping me put together a Resource page here at Abortion, Every Day that will compile tools like this and more.

Listen up…

The latest episode of This American Life, “When to Leave,” has a super powerful story about an Idaho OBGYN trying to decide if she should stay in the state and fight—even as she loses sleep and contemplates what would happen to her kids if she went to prison—or leave and give patients the care they deserve. If you’d like to skip ahead to that particular segment, it starts around 17:45.

Long reads…

The Bucks County Courier Times has a pretty incredible article about the women who testified about abortion before Roe. They found the transcripts of the hearings, and have published excerpts, interviews with the women and documents related to it all. A very cool piece of history.

Keep an eye on…

This is something I’ve flagged before, but it’s worth talking about again: Anti-abortion activists are picking up and moving their work to pro-choice states. The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today about the protesters who are coming to California, for example—but this is happening everywhere. One activist told the paper that Roe being overturned emboldened her: “It’s a game of offense now, not defense.” What concerns me—in addition to the rising rates of violence and threats at clinics and against providers—is that activists here aren’t necessarily used to this level of protests and harassment. I think those of us in pro-choice states are going to have to ask some advice from our friends and activists in other areas of the country who have been dealing with this level of in-person hate for a long time.

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Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
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Jessica Valenti