Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day
Abortion, Every Day (6.13.23)

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Abortion, Every Day (6.13.23)

Louisiana woman denied abortion despite qualifying for 'exception'

In the States

I’m sorry to say that Nebraska’s abortion ban remains in effect for now, after a judge declined to issue a temporary injunction while the case is being heard. A county district judge delayed hearings on a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland until July 19, during which time abortion will stay restricted before 12 weeks of pregnancy. (The anti-trans section of the law doesn’t go into effect until October.)

Mindy Rush Chipman, interim executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska, said in a statement, “Our plan is to continue to vigorously pursue a court order blocking this law for the duration of the case and beyond. A temporary injunction is urgently needed to prevent further harm…”

In Ohio, abortion rights advocates only have one more month to collect the 413,000 signatures they need to get abortion on the ballot in 2024. A spokesperson for Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom says the effort is going well, but as they collect signatures simply to put the question to voters, anti-abortion groups are out in full force spreading lies about the amendment.

You may remember that anti-choice activists launched a $5 million ad campaign telling voters that the measure would let minors have “sex change” surgery without parental permission. It’s a total fabrication that relies on anti-trans bullshit: once Ohio Republicans realized how popular abortion rights were, they decided that perhaps appealing to anti-trans bigotry would be more successful.

And, of course, this come at the same time that Republican lawmakers in the state are working to raise the standard on ballot measures to ensure that it’s as difficult as possible for voters to restore abortion rights.

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More in ballot measure news: Support for the abortion rights amendment in Florida continues to grow: Floridians Protecting Freedom has collected over 130k signatures to date! (They need nearly 900,000 by February in order to get abortion in front of voters in 2024.) A representative for the coalition, Amy Weintraub, says that the signatures prove that polls are right: “Floridians don't want abortion banned. They want government out of people's private medical decisions.”

In some unsurprising news, it looks like the abortion rate in Illinois has significantly increased—a change largely prompted by out-of-state patients. Planned Parenthood of Illinois reports that nearly a quarter of their patients are coming from anti-choice states (they only accounted for 7% of patients before Roe was overturned). President Jennifer Welch says the organization planned for shift by building health centers near the borders of Wisconsin and Indiana:

“We wanted to make sure we were here for people. I am devastated that Roe was overturned. I am pleased that we could be here for the patients that were forced to travel for this essential health care.”

Speaking of Wisconsin, the state is starting to see the impact of its abortion ban on the medical community. We’ve been seeing this happen across the country: anti-choice states have been losing doctors, OBGYNs and maternal fetal medicine specialists, especially. In Wisconsin, there have been 8% fewer applications for OBGYN residencies, and Dr. Wendy Molaska, former president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, says that shortage is only going to get worse. “If we’re not recruiting residents, we’re not retaining them,” she said.

VOA News did a segment on the OBGYN exodus and what it’s meant for maternal care in Idaho:

And a doctor in Washington has a suggestion for how to handle the crisis in care. Amanda Valdes, a second-year resident in the University of Washington Family Medicine residency program, writes in The Seattle Times that we should be giving abortion training to more doctors in more specialities. She points specifically to emergency medicine providers and pediatric primary care providers, and notes that extra training can be accomplished in just a few weeks:

“This will greatly expand access to care and help avoid transferring patients or turning them away. The way we fight the anti-abortion legislation and expand access to abortion care is by educating others, regardless of their field of medical training.” 

Last week, I told you about the religious freedom challenge to Indiana’s abortion ban. Well, it turns out that the suit, newly-classified as a class action, is actually using former governor Mike Pence’s signature legislation to make their case. Rolling Stone reports that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was signed into law by Pence in 2015. Not gonna lie, it will make me very happy if Pence is inadvertently responsible for helping to protect abortion rights.

In Wyoming, the state’s recently-passed abortion ban will remain blocked until at least next April when the court starts to hear arguments in the case. District Court Judge Melissa Owens scheduled a bench trial for April 15, 2024. Owens also scheduled a hearing for later this month on Wyoming’s abortion medication ban—a separate law from the broad abortion ban. The ban on abortion medication has not been blocked as of yet.

Also in Wyoming: You likely remember Wellspring Health Access in Casper—the abortion clinic that just recently reopened after being destroyed by an arson attack. President of Wellspring, Julie Burkhart, spoke to New York Magazine this week about her work, the clinic, and why the abortion rights movement needs to fight for access in the whole country—instead of focusing so much on making sure there are pro-choice safe havens:

“Not everybody can get on a plane. Not everybody has a car or has a car that’ll even make it 200 or 300 miles to a clinic. Some people don’t even know where to look. And so…it just makes me question if we’re not fighting for that segment of the population, then are we really fully embracing reproductive freedom for all people in this country?”

Finally, some really interesting news out of Mississippi, where Republican voters want to repeal the state’s abortion ban. (!!) A new Mississippi Today/Siena College poll of those who plan to vote in the Republican primary shows that 45% of respondents support overturning the state’s abortion ban, and that 11% aren’t sure. Those are serious numbers for Mississippi Republicans!

Quick Hits:

  • The Oregon Republicans who are boycotting over an abortion rights bill are holding up funding for schools;

  • Also in Oregon, 150 doctors in the state urge lawmakers not to water down abortion rights protections for minors;

  • Anti-abortion extremists continue to come out in force in Maine, where a package of pro-choice bills—including one allowing abortion after 24 weeks with a doctor’s recommendation—is advancing;

  • And Ms. magazine on Idaho’s ‘abortion trafficking’ law and how it hurts actual trafficking victims.

In the Nation

We’ve been paying close attention to the shield laws being passed in pro-choice states across the country: legislation that protects abortion patients and providers from out-of-state prosecution and litigation. Vox has an explainer on the laws today, which cover both abortion and gender-affirming care.

Arli Christian of the ACLU tells Vox, “These fights are linked by a really simple belief that each of us are the rightful authors of our own life stories, each of us has the freedom to determine our path in life, each of us has the right to make decisions about our medical care and our bodies without government interference.”

Love this: A 17 year-old high school student in Texas has written an op-ed for USA Today in support of over-the-counter birth control without age restrictions. Maia Lopez writes:

“Birth control shouldn’t be something that’s only available to people who live in certain states or whose parents happen to be open to it. It is essential health care that every single one of us deserves, no matter our age, race, income or life circumstance.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has been blocking military nominations and promotions for months in opposition to the DoD’s abortion policy. The Associated Press reports that there was a proposal for a Senate debate over the policy—a move that senators hoped would stop the blocks—but that Tuberville’s office was opposed to it. Tuberville has delayed the promotions of hundreds of military service members.

And over at ReWire, reporter Garnet Henderson has a must-read piece on the link between clinic violence, fascism and the anti-abortion movement’s ties to white supremacists. It’s an incredibly important piece that looks at what’s happening outside of abortion clinics right now, as harassment and violence have ramped up post-Roe.

Henderson also reports on the way that the FACE Act—meant to protect reproductive health clinics from violence—is being used to not just target anti-abortion harassers, but those who vandalize anti-abortion centers. (I’ve written a bit about this before: The government is going after people who graffiti fake clinics in an effort to seem ‘objective’, and I find it pretty ridiculous.)

Quick hits:

  • The Conversation on how television depictions of abortion have changed since Roe was overturned;

  • A new study says that abortion bans will cause up to 15 deaths per year (I think, sadly, that number seems low);

  • And in international news, a UK woman has been sentenced to 28 months in prison after taking abortion medication later than the law allows, and a Polish woman has died as a result of the country’s abortion ban.

Care Denied

If you’re a regular AED reader, you know I write a lot about how abortion exceptions aren’t real. They’re not usable—which is the point. Republicans get to keep their laws as extreme as possible while pretending as if they’re offering exemptions. It’s a crock of shit. And I’m sorry to say that the story I’m sharing today proves just how fake exceptions really are.

A Louisiana woman has come forward about being denied an abortion despite her fetus having fatal abnormality that is specifically listed in the state’s abortion ban exception for “medically futile” pregnancies. Brittany Vidrine was 16 weeks pregnant when she found out her fetus was developing without a skull—it had anencephaly, a neural tube defect that is almost always fatal.

And though Louisiana’s abortion ban has a supposed ‘exception’ for pregnancies like Vidrine’s, it also threatens doctors jail time and loss of their license—and so she couldn’t find a single physician in her home state willing to give her care.

Michelle Erenberg of the abortion rights organization Lift Louisiana told The Acadiana Advocate, “Physicians are terrified that their decision or provision of care to their patients could be second-guessed and they could be criminally prosecuted.”

That meant that this mother-of-two, just given perhaps the worst news of her life, had to drive to Colorado for an abortion. “To have to make this choice and then have to go through everything on top of it was just hurt added to the pile of already hurt we were experiencing,” she said.

If that wasn’t horrific enough, please check out what the executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, Benjamin Clapper, said about exceptions for fatal abnormalities: “We recognize the deep suffering families experience after receiving grave diagnoses. With this being said, all persons, including those with disabilities or terminal illnesses, have the right to life.”

Abortion ban ‘exceptions’ were never meant to be used. The anti-abortion organizations who hold so much power in these states make sure of that. These are their laws, and they’re working exactly the way they want them to.

If you missed yesterday’s story of a 21-year old in Texas who was denied an abortion despite a fatal fetal abnormality, please take the time to read it. I’m so grateful to ‘Terry’ for trusting me with her story, and for the community here who has shared the piece and raised the alarm about the real-life suffering these bans are causing:


Well this is interesting: Republican presidential candidate and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie says that when it comes to the possibility of a federal abortion ban, “I don’t think we should be worried about that now.” Um, I think we are worried about it. Right now.

I also think that Christie’s comments reveal a lot more than you might think. In his CNN town hall last night, Christie said that he believed that abortion should be an issue decided by each state and that “the federal government should not be involved unless and until there’s a consensus around the country.” Interesting that he chose the word ‘consensus’! In fact, he used the word several times:

“I want to see that consensus, and then as president, I want to build off that consensus. Let’s leave it to the states and if a consensus emerges, we’ll know it.”

I’ve been talking about the term ‘consensus’ for a while now—it’s the new preferred language of anti-abortion groups who don’t want to use the word ‘ban.’ Instead of calling for federal ban, activists say that they are pushing for a ‘national consensus’. The point is to distract people from the fact that Republicans are passing abortion bans against voters’ wishes—and to make it seem as if restrictions are something that all Americans want.

So when Christie, or any presidential candidate starts talking about a consensus on abortion, I know exactly what they mean.

More 2024 news…

Listen Up

The latest episode of Reveal’s podcast features two abortion rights reporters on what they’ve covered and seen in the year since Roe was overturned:

What Conservatives Are Saying

We know that one of conservatives’ favorite anti-abortion talking points is the idea that Democrats support abortion “up until birth.” It’s a myth meant to infuriate—one that completely ignores the truth about abortion later in pregnancy. (A topic that AED researcher Grace is working on a piece about right now!)

This attack has especially ramped up as it relates to 2024: Conservative publications like the Washington Examiner and the Daily Signal are pushing hard on the notion that Biden supports “no limits” abortion. (I wish!) Conservatives know that Americans are horrified by their bans, and so they’re working hard to make Democrats seem like the radical ones. It’s always projection with these people.

Keep an Eye On

The folks at Media Matters suffered through Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit so we didn’t have to. The extremist conservative group held a women’s conference where the audience of high school and college girls were told to “ditch hormonal birth control.”

Alex Clark, who hosts the organization’s podcasts and was the face of the conference told women that they should stop taking hormonal birth control, calling it one of the feminist movement’s “lies.” She went on to blame the feminist movement for “fracturing” American families by pushing for daycares, and and “coercing” women “outside of their natural roles as mothers into the workforce.” Please remember, this is a woman who is a pundit, podcast host, and conservative speaker—not exactly an at-home gig!

We’ve already seen the insidious cultural campaign against hormonal birth control take root on social media and among ‘wellness’ influencers, now I guess they’re going to turn to childcare next. Good times!

AED in the News:

I spoke with Jessica Mason Pieklo at Boom! Lawyered about the work we’re doing here at Abortion, Every Day and the general hellscape that is American reproductive rights. This is a terrific podcast, so if you’re not already listening you should be!

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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