Aug 15 • 21M

Abortion, Every Day (8.15.22)

Google Maps directing people to crisis pregnancy centers

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Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
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It’s Monday, you know what that means: A shitload of news. So buckle in.

The Supreme Court in Idaho ruled that the state’s sweeping abortion ban can go into effect later this month. (The Department of Justice, which is suing the state over their law, tried to get a judge to pause the enforcement until the legal battle was settled. No such luck.)

The state Supreme Court in Louisiana also allowed their abortion ban to stand—which means ending a pregnancy in the state is currently illegal with no exceptions for rape or incest. (A reminder that The New York Times has a good map that tracks state abortion laws.)

If you’ve been keeping up with Abortion, Every Day, you know that there’s been a lot of confusion over Michigan’s legal battle over abortion rights. The Detroit Free Press gets into the latest, and warns that the state likely won’t have any clarity until the end of the year after the midterm elections. 

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Arizona is also dealing with massive confusion over abortion rights—and the legal back and forth has shut down the state’s largest provider, Planned Parenthood Arizona. Chief executive Brittany Fonteno said, “What we’re talking about here is a risk of criminalization—it’s mandatory prison time, up to five years. And so, that was not a risk that we could take.”

A Texas high school senior wrote a piece for the Houston Chronicle about what it means to apply for college post-Roe:

“My sights have always been set on the Ivies: Columbia, Harvard, Yale, but I’m not perfect and I need my backups. My ‘safety’ schools were all in Texas, my home state. Now, my safety schools no longer feel very safe.”

More on young people in Texas: Last week, I told you that the state Supreme Court was going to reexamine parental notification laws—well, this weekend, NPR published a piece on how abortion bans impact minors in Texas and beyond. One Louisiana activist who provides legal help to young people seeking abortions says, “For most of the young people that we work with, going out of state is not going to be an option.”

In Oklahoma, doctors are seeing record numbers of patients who want to be sterilized in the wake of the state’s abortion ban: “I will usually do one of these a month and now I’m getting one or two people a week that are asking about this.” And who can fucking blame them?

There’s been a lot of debate over ballot measures on abortion these days; here’s an oped in The San Francisco Chronicle that says putting California’s well-established right to abortion to a vote only opens it up to be weakened. Speaking of ballot measures: A Kansas woman is footing the bill for the state to recount their August 2nd vote by hand, despite the overwhelming pro-choice victory. 

Doctors across the country have been speaking up about how dangerous (and terrifying) outlawing abortion is. In Ohio, two pediatricians wrote an op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch about the danger abortion bans pose to children:

“Every year in Ohio and in this country, girls and adolescents are victims of sexual crimes and suffer mental anguish, trauma, sexually transmitted infections, and for some, pregnancy. They deserve compassion, privacy, and the opportunity to make their own decisions…”

And in The Salt Lake Tribune, dozens of medical professionals in Utah—from OBGYNs and critical care physicians to pediatricians, psychiatrists and nurse midwives—signed onto a letter supporting abortion rights. Also in The Salt Lake Tribune, a Utah OBGYN wrote about the impossible situation the law has put patients and doctors in:

“If I treat the patient according to the accepted standard of care, I may be committing a felony. If I follow the law, I may be committing malpractice. Can the patient’s best interests really be served by a doctor who must begin by making amateur legal decisions?”

I told you last week that Delaware’s attorney general launched a helpline to ensure folks had good advice about reproductive health resources and the law—well, it turns out anyone who lives in any state can use it. Questions and referrals are handled both by the ACLU of Delaware and the Department of Justice: You can reach them at (302) 992-8096 or toll-free at (877) 312-2366. 

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Indiana Sen. Todd Young joins the ranks of Republicans trying to hide their anti-abortion extremism. In the past, Sen. Young has been vocal and proud about supporting a total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest, yet when asked recently about the issue by a constituent, he dodged: “People of Indiana have weighed in. I have great confidence in their ability collectively to make decisions about how our state should be led.” They’re running scared.

Also in Indiana: An economics professor explains how the abortion ban will damage the state’s economy and future; and abortion providers prepare for how to best help patients once the ban goes into effect next month. 

On the national level:

The New York Times covers something I’ve written about a lot here: How Democrats running for office are leaning heavily on their opponents’ anti-abortion stances. (As they should.) The Times also ran a piece on why Americans are flocking to feminist-minded media right now—you may recognize one of the people quoted. ;)

The Military Times sheds some light on the rights of pregnant service members stationed in anti-choice states: Essentially, military treatment centers will offer the same care they always have (which in terms of abortion, is very limited). Federal funds can only be used for abortion in cases of rape or incest, so victims can get abortion care on a military base in those circumstances—even if their state’s law bans abortion with no exceptions.

Bloomberg found that Google Maps regularly directs people seeking abortion clinics to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers: “When users type the words ‘abortion clinic’ into the Maps search bar, crisis pregnancy centers account for about a quarter of the top 10 search results.” If you know anything about crisis pregnancy centers, you know how wildly inappropriate—and dangerous—that is.

I’ve talked a lot about the problem of ‘both sides’ journalism when it comes to abortion; well, now more than 600 medical and pro-choice professionals have weighed in. Abortion providers, nurses, social workers and more penned an open letter published on Jezebel. It reads, in part:

“We are asking for a commitment from the community of media outlets reporting on abortion to keep in mind the true danger that you present when interviewing anti-abortion extremists. You are giving the opportunity for dangerous lies to spread. You are, by way of asking them questions, legitimizing their answers. You are allowing hateful, dangerous harassers to build a base that encourages protesting at clinics, stalking and harming clinic staff and abortion providers, and online and in-person abuse of people who have abortions and those who support them in getting that care.”

The letter was organized by Physicians for Reproductive Health. 

Speaking of dangerous ‘both sides’ journalism, check out this headline from The Seattle Times: “Can you reverse abortions? Some say yes; others call the treatment unethical, possibly dangerous.” What the actual fuck. (I can’t believe I have to say this, but no, you cannot reverse abortions.)

A few more reads: Elizabeth Estrada of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice spoke to NPR about the way the Latino community is targeted by abortion misinformation; ABC News examines privacy laws in the wake of abortion bans; and MSNBC looks at one of many connections between the anti-abortion movement and white supremacist extremism.

From the arts world: American Theater asks what role theater can play in pro-choice activism; the ​​SAG-AFTRA Health Plan will now cover travel and lodging for those who live or work in anti-choice states but need an abortion; and Lionsgate’s CEO promises the same.

The Texas Tribune explains why adoption isn’t a solution for those who want abortions. From Malinda Seymore, a law professor at Texas A&M University School of Law:

“Adoption doesn’t do what abortion does. It does not end a pregnancy, it does not relieve the burden of pregnancy, it does not avoid the health risks of pregnancy, it does not alleviate the psycho-social harm of relinquishing for adoption. It is not at all a substitute for abortion.”

And a survey of more than 500 startup founders found that 42 percent said they plan to limit employee recruitment in states that ban abortions. Another interesting takeaway: 75% of respondents said they were afraid that taking a stance on abortion would impact their company’s reputation. Hmm. 

Something to keep an eye on: Anti-choice groups are taking aim at organizations that help people find medication abortion. That absolutely can’t happen. We know, from experience, that abortion bans won’t stop people from ending their pregnancies. But medication abortion makes illegal abortion in post-Roe America a whole lot safer than it was in pre-Roe America. So the more limited the abortion pill is, the more dangerous it is for women and their health. ‘Pro-life’ organizations don’t seem to care about that, though.

As always, thanks for reading/listening and shout out if I’ve missed anything. To new subscribers: Welcome! I promise the updates aren’t usually this long; Mondays are just in a class of their own. -Jessica

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