Aug 16, 2022 • 12M

Abortion, Every Day (8.16.22)

The post-Roe horror stories won't stop

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Jessica Valenti
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
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Some devastating news: In light of last week’s ruling that allowed Louisiana’s abortion ban to remain in effect, the state’s remaining three clinics are leaving—relocating to other states where abortion is legal. This will be the first time Louisiana hasn’t had an abortion clinic since 1974. Women in the state are already suffering:

A woman from Baton Rouge is 13-weeks pregnant with a fetus who has acrania—the top of her baby’s head and skull is missing. Babies with this condition won’t survive long after birth, but the state still won’t let Nancy Davis get an abortion. Davis now has to decide whether to cross state lines to end the pregnancy, or carry her doomed fetus to term. Just monstrous.

Another horror story: In Florida, a 16-year old girl is being forced to remain pregnant after a state court found that she was not mature enough to make a decision about abortion. 

I’ve told you that West Virginia Democrats have been pushing for a state vote on abortion; well, Gov. Jim Justice is not having it, saying, “This is the responsibility of our Legislature and our Attorney General.” So much for returning the issue to what the people of the state want!

Indiana OBGYNs are looking to leave thanks to the state’s abortion ban; NPR talks with a few of them here. In Georgia, a judge has refused to block the state’s abortion ban; and here’s an explainer about the state constitutional amendment that might make it onto Michigan’s November ballot.

In Oklahoma, where abortion is illegal, anyone who “aids and abets” abortion could face civil and criminal penalties. (Other states have similar laws, but Oklahoma’s is the only one currently in effect.) As a result, it’s not just doctors who are terrified; anyone from social workers and clergy members to librarians and Uber drivers could be held responsible under the vaguely-worded law. Emily Wales, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said, “We’ve heard from providers who aren’t sure if they can make referrals, if they can even tell people to go to Planned Parenthood’s website or” (CBS News has more on free speech as it relates to abortion & digital privacy.)

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Twenty-one attorneys general have signed onto a ‘friend of the court’ brief in support of the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Idaho over their abortion ban. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson points out that this isn’t just about reproductive rights, but the way that Idaho’s ban will impact other states: 

“Emergency rooms in Oregon and Washington will inevitably need to absorb the out-of-state patient need for care that Idaho’s law will cause, at a time when the states continue to wrestle with an ongoing global pandemic and new public health crises.”

Texas Monthly asked 99 state legislators, “When does the life of a pregnant Texan count under the state’s new abortion ban?” Ninety-eight refused to answer. The one lawmaker who did grant an interview said the ban “wasn’t focused on exceptions.” Clearly. Also in Texas: A woman describes what it was like to self-manage an illegal abortion at home. 

Alabama’s bid to have U.S. Space Command move from Colorado to Huntsville may be in jeopardy because of the state’s abortion ban. Military leaders are worried about recruitment and retention and how it relates to reproductive health care, but Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (his state is also being considered as the operation’s new home) dismissed the concern as “wokeism.” 

I told you yesterday that doctors in Oklahoma are seeing an increase in patients who want to be sterilized—a North Carolina doctor is noticing the same thing: 

“I am hearing women who are afraid of having something bad happen to them during a pregnancy to the point where they are willing to sacrifice their desire for future children, even if they aren't sure.”

Arizona Republican Blake Masters, running against Sen. Mark Kelly, has said some...interesting things about abortion, calling it “a religious sacrifice to these people...I think it's demonic.” Very cool, normal stuff. 

(If you’re interested, here are some new statistics about abortion in the state.)

Anti-choicers in Kansas are raising money for a recount of the state’s vote on abortion; doctors in Colorado are seeing an expected influx of patients while state abortion funds cover the cost caused by out-of-state bans; and one Florida abortion provider reports the number of patients she’s seeing has doubled due to bans in nearby states. 

South Carolina Republicans want to pass a total abortion ban, with only one exception to save a pregnant person’s life. From Democrat Rep. Spencer Wetmore: 

“[The bill would leave] doctors scared to practice; women scared to start families because they are worried this state will criminalize them if they have a miscarriage or worse leave them bleeding out in an emergency room while a hospital's attorney decides whether the doctors can help." 

Last week, I told you that a bill in California would allow physician assistants, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners to perform abortions without the oversight of a physician. We’re going to see—and need to see—more of this in pro-choice states as demand increases for abortion. Connecticut, which passed similar legislation in May, has already started to train medical professionals other than doctors—which providers will hope will help with the current long wait times for abortions in the state.

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Young people care about abortion. A new survey shows that 76% of women under 40 and 74% of men under 40 are more likely to want to work for a company if they’re pro-choice. The research also shows that 34% of both men and women are considering switching jobs to work somewhere that has better abortion-related benefits or publicly supports abortion.

Speaking of young people: College students across the country, especially those in anti-choice states, are organizing in support of abortion access. Activists are giving out Plan B and information about where students can seek care—and their numbers are growing by the day. The organization Advocates for Youth, which trains young people in abortion advocacy, reports that hundreds of students have joined up since Roe was overturned. And they’re all doing this despite the legal risks. Nimisha Srikanth, a senior at Texas A&M University said, “We’re doing our best to still help the community, empower the community but not get ourselves or maybe those who may be seeking help prosecuted.”

The White House is mapping out a new strategy on their response to abortion bans, which includes trying to replicate the success of the Kansas vote in other states, and broadening out their messaging to reach men. The Biden administration is compiling research about the impact of denying people abortions, and Reuters says the messaging will specifically target men, “asking them to consider how their sisters, nieces, cousins could be affected if abortions were unavailable, and to think about the costs related to supporting an unplanned pregnancy.” I have never been a fan of the ‘as the father of daughters’ strategy when it comes to convincing men that women are people, so I’ll probably write a bit more about this soon... 

NPR examines the threat to birth control; The Verge has more on Google Maps directing people to crisis pregnancy centers; and new research from The Washington Post shows that pro-choice Americans are more likely to be politically active than those who oppose abortion (which is good news for any states that might put abortion on the ballot). 

And here’s the trailer for Call Jane, a movie about the Jane Collective, and a woman who needs an illegal abortion to save her life:

As always, thanks for reading or listening—shout out if there’s anything I missed. I hope you’re holding up, and finding a way to enjoy these last days of summer. -J

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