The story I unearthed this week about a Nebraska teenager and her mother who were charged over what the state says was an illegal abortion has since gone viral: It’s been covered everywhere from The Guardian and the Associated Press to Forbes and VICE (who also published the court records related to the case). There’s been a particular focus—and outcry—over how police built their case by going through the teen’s Facebook messages.
Meta isn’t so thrilled by the PR nightmare that comes along with aiding law enforcement in prosecuting abortion: Yesterday, policy communications director Andy Stone tweeted that the warrants the company received didn’t mention abortion—just a crime related to stillbirth. The attempt to distance themselves falls flat for me, though; if social media companies don’t want to cooperate with anti-choice prosecutions, they need to be aware of the language law enforcement uses to go after women. I’ll keep sending out updates about this case as I get them.
If you want to know more about the way that abortion is often prosecuted, the organization If/When/How has a new report out looking at dozens of cases from 2000 to 2020 where someone was investigated for ending a pregnancy. The lead author of the report Laura Huss, was interviewed about her research on NPR yesterday and it’s definitely worth listening to.
Remember when I wrote a column last month about the journalists who suggested a 10 year-old rape victim’s story was fabricated? Well, an investigation found that The Washington Post fact-checker who wrote about the case lied about his reporting—reporting that helped fuel attacks against Indiana abortion provider Dr. Caitlin Bernard. (Dr. Bernard treated the Ohio 10 year-old who had been raped and impregnated.)
Related: NPR has a piece interviewing a group of OBGYNs who were mentored by Dr. Bernard, and how they’re considering leaving the state out of fear and frustration. Essentially, watching their mentor get relentlessly attacked has taken a toll, but they also feel guilty about the idea of leaving. It’s just awful all around. Also in Indiana: Abortion clinics there are beginning to shut their doors in anticipation of the state’s ban going into effect next month.
Doctors in Oklahoma are facing similar hurdles, they say there is “no way to safely practice medicine” in the face of the state’s vague and dangerous law. And in Florida, clergy who are suing over the state’s abortion ban have added additional plaintiffs to their case, including religious leaders and an abortion provider.
The man who tried to run over pro-choice protesters in Iowa has been detained. Fifty-three year old David Huston hit and hospitalized several women; he’s been charged with assault using a deadly weapon. Fuck that guy.
In Wyoming, a judge is set to decide today whether to extend the block keeping the state’s abortion ban from going into effect. Meanwhile, Montana’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that abortion bans passed in 2021 will remain blocked; the state constitution protects abortion rights, but Republicans are trying to overturn the case that put that protection in place.
The race for prosecutor in Maricopa county, Arizona is shaping up to be very much about abortion. We’re going to see this in plenty of red states; whoever gets to decide if abortion is prosecuted will hold the future of that state’s women in their hands.
People who can’t get abortions in Texas are increasingly seeking care in New Mexico, and The Texas Tribune has a piece looking at how anti-abortion protesters are coming along with them. From New Mexico state Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena:
“Now people are coming from across the country — at great stress, great exhaustion, great trauma — to arrive in our community, where likely they will be met by a handful of angry protesters, so that they can access health care.”
These kind of targeted protests are happening in pro-choice havens across the country. One anti-abortion extremist who used to protest in Tennessee, for example, says he’s redoubling his efforts in places like Washington and Oregon, where abortion is legal. “The Northwest is going to be an abortion hot spot,” he said.
The Department of Justice, who is suing Idaho over their abortion ban, has asked a federal judge to stop the state from enforcing the ban until the lawsuit is settled. (Idaho is also fighting three other cases related to their abortion laws in the state Supreme Court.)
And the fight for abortion rights in Kansas isn’t necessarily over: HuffPo points out that the man who won the GOP primary for state attorney general, Kris Kobach, is an anti-abortion extremist who will prioritize restricting reproductive rights.
In Michigan, the Republican nominee for governor, Tudor Dixon, refuses to say whether she would suspend prosecutors who won’t go after abortion cases (as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did). And another one for the Republicans-don’t-know-shit-about-abortion file: South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott sent out an email claiming that Democrats want to legalize abortion up until 52 weeks, which is about 12 weeks longer than pregnancy actually lasts.
You can add Pennsylvania to the list of pro-choice states being inundated with out-of-state patients; the Planned Parenthood there says they’re seeing people from Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan, and expect the number of patients to further increase in the coming months.
Alaska House candidates (including Sarah Palin, ugh) are speaking out about their positions on abortion; Des Moines joins the growing list of cities seeking to decriminalize abortion; and Seattle has made it illegal to discriminate against someone for having had an abortion.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren went on public radio yesterday to talk about abortion rights; also in Massachusetts, lawmakers are pushing legislation that would protect patients and providers from out-of-state prosecution on abortion cases.
A Kentucky psychologist has written an op-ed about how forcing abused children to give birth further compounds their trauma; and the creator of the card game Cards Against Humanity says he’ll donate 100% of the proceeds from games sold in anti-abortion states to abortion funds. More of this please!
Conservatives are pushing safe haven laws as an alternative to abortion but American women almost never use them. (Advocating for safe haven laws is also pretty convenient for Republicans: It requires them to do absolutely nothing to actually support pregnant people or families.)
And here’s a fascinating article on an interfaith group of clergy who helped women access abortion before it became legal in 1973. Called the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, they worked across 30 states and helped tens of thousands get the care they needed.
On the entertainment front: Lady Gaga spoke up for abortion rights at a Washington, DC concert on Monday:
“I would like to dedicate this song to every woman in America. To every woman who now has to worry about her body if she gets pregnant. I pray that this country will speak up and we will not stop until it’s right!”
Lin Manuel Miranda is launching a Hamilton contest to raise money for abortion rights; and hundreds of directors have signed onto a letter demanding abortion protections from networks, studios and streamers, calling the issue an “imminent workplace safety crisis.”
If you’re desperate to see what has become my constant-bitch-face, I spoke with Thom Hartmann yesterday about what’s happening across the country on abortion.
Quite a lot today, I hope you’re not feeling too overwhelmed! As always, hit me up if I’ve missed anything. And stay cool out there. -Jessica
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