Aug 5 • 17M

Abortion, Every Day (8.5.22)

The anti-abortion movement is co-opting feminist language

25
3
Upgrade to listen
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
Episode details
3 comments

I’ve written about this here before, but today The New York Times has a piece looking at how the vote in Kansas has Republicans really worried—especially those in tight elections. They point out some of those key races where GOP politicians are watering down their anti-abortion views, while their opponents highlight that extremism. (For something a bit lighter on Kansas, here’s a video roundup of reactions from late night hosts on the results.)

NPR is also looking at Kansas and its impact on other states—Kentucky is voting on a similar constitutional amendment in November, for example, and pro-choicers there are looking to Kansas for lessons. A representative from the ACLU of Kentucky said, “We're in a lucky position where we can learn from allies in other states at this point.” And a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan—another state where there will be a ballot measure—said, “The results in Kansas are reflective of what we're seeing nationwide and here in Michigan: Voters are energized and motivated to fight back to protect their health and rights following the elimination of the federal constitutional right to abortion.” 

Pennsylvania might also vote on a constitutional amendment, but pro-choice organizers there are worried because the proposed amendment also could target birth control. Sue Frietsche from the Women’s Law Project said, “The very people who are promoting this constitutional amendment think that many common forms of birth control and emergency contraception are abortifacients.  They think those things are abortions.”

In Georgia, Stacey Abrams has released a new ad attacking her opponent Gov. Brian Kemp on abortion:

And the Indiana House voted yesterday to keep rape and incest exceptions in their abortion ban (how generous). Related: This weekend the state is hosting GameCon, the largest tabletop game convention in North America—they responded to the abortion bill there by releasing a statement in support of reproductive rights. I mention this because in the coming months there are going to be lots of conferences in lots of states where abortion is illegal—and I’m really hoping that organizations will do the right thing and not give business to places where women aren’t free.

Speaking of companies not supporting abortion-hostile states: California governor Gavin Newsom wants Hollywood to stop doing business in places where abortion is illegal. He’s offering tax credits for those filming in California, and released a statement saying, “Today more than ever, you have a responsibility to take stock of your values — and those of your employees — when doing business in those states.” (Related: Sundance Film Festival being awfully quiet right now.)

The speaker of the Nebraska legislature wants to hold a special session to restrict abortions. Pro-choice Democrat Sen. Megan Hunt tweeted out that Mike Hilgers was phoning members, asking them to sign onto a letter calling for the session to support a 12-week abortion ban. Without a special session, abortion legislation won’t be introduced until politicians convene in January.

Support Feminist Media

Abortion providers in Louisiana are asking for a block on the state’s abortion law to be reinstated—the block has gone back and forth over the last month, leaving doctors and providers in a state of confusion and limbo. (Right now, abortion is illegal in Louisiana.)

St. Louis Public Radio has a story on abortion providers looking to set up in Carbondale, Illinois, because of its proximity to Southern states—but how the city isn’t necessarily the most progressive on abortion. Jennifer Pepper, the chief executive at the Memphis-based clinic, CHOICES—who is considering making the move to Carbondale—said: “Being surrounded by hostility is not new to us. It’s something we manage and deal with because our patients need access to abortion, and we’re committed to providing that.” Honestly, just in awe of these people, who are so much braver than they should have to be. 

Like so many Republicans right now, the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, Kari Lake, is being evasive on what she really thinks about abortion laws. Lake’s campaign sent a note to The Arizona Republic saying, “Kari is pro-life but supports exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother,” but the candidate has also said “we have great laws on the books.” (Arizona has no exceptions for rape or incest.) So far, she’s refused to elaborate on the contradiction.

Clinics in North Carolina are being flooded with patients from states where abortion is illegal; and in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Tampa’s prosecutor after he said he would not use the power of his office to go after people who provide or obtain abortions. Desantis accused Andrew Warren of “neglect of duty,” and said “to take a position that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is untenable.” In response, Warren said the governor was "trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County."

In Minnesota, a county attorney is trying to appeal a judge’s order that blocks the state’s abortion ban from going into effect. Related: Here’s a really good investigation of two dozen crisis pregnancy centers in the state—some of them state-funded—that are peddling misinformation, including the lie that you can reverse medication abortion. (More on the ‘abortion reversal’ lie from Salon here.)

This is par for the course for crisis pregnancy centers, but I just wanted to highlight this quote from the director of one CPC to show how the anti-choice movement is co-opting feminist language: “A woman should have the right to withdraw her consent for an abortion she no longer wants.” (This is a growing trend: Check out this piece from an anti-choice publication with the headline “Gaslighted,” and a quote from an activist who says, “The American people have been gaslighted by the abortion industry.”)

I wrote yesterday about the Idaho abortion ban (going into effect Aug 25) being argued in the Supreme Court; here’s a piece that gives you a more in-depth look on how that went. And as expected, abortion clinics are being targeted with harassment and violence: Yesterday a Michigan man was charged with arson after setting fire to a Planned Parenthood, and in Orlando, a man in a city vehicle used the car to block access to a clinic and harassed volunteers. 

During a city council meeting in San Marcos, Texas, a woman shared that she was “still bleeding from an illegal abortion I had.” She cried while telling council members she was afraid to seek medical care for fear she’d be arrested. 

In less horrifying news, public colleges in Massachusetts are now required to provide access to medication abortion.

I’ve written a lot about the way that cities—those in states with and without abortion bans—are trying to protect abortion rights. Here’s a good roundup of different cities and the resolutions they’re passing. And wanted to highlight one city in particular today: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the city will give $500,000 in funding to the Abortion Liberation Fund of PA (ALF-PA), are group that gives financial assistance to those who couldn’t otherwise afford abortions. Thank you, Philly!

I told you yesterday about the uptick in American women going to Mexico for abortion care; today The Texas Tribune looks at that trend and how volunteer-run organizations in Mexico are using the acompañamiento model to help. “Accompaniment” refers to a broad set of activism, but the short version is that it’s mostly women volunteers who help anyone who needs an abortion get one:

“Network volunteers distribute pills, give instructions on how to take them and offer medical guidance informed by doctors. They counsel individuals throughout a series of phone calls, video chats or texts. Sometimes they even offer up their own homes as temporary lodging...They are unregulated, though their work does overlap with the medical establishment, which often provides them with donated medication.”

If you want a frequently updated resource on the current status of abortion laws in each state, The New York Times has a good interactive map you should check out.

NBC looks at the way that Latinas are increasingly targeted by anti-abortion activism and misinformation; The Nation gets into Jewish law and abortion.

And a new survey shows, unsurprisingly, that abortion is an issue top of mind for young voters. Which is why it’s not a surprise that young aides in the White House have been less than thrilled with President Biden’s response on Roe being overturned: “How can this be our reaction? It doesn’t meet the moment!” 

Employees of the Department of Justice have sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland asking they ensure federal workers’ health care coverage includes paid leave and reimbursement for out-of-state travel expenses should they need to get an abortion.

And to leave you with some positive news: I want to flag a new group trying to help in this nightmare moment. We Are Jane in Illinois will be working in neighboring anti-choice states to find and help people who need access to abortion. Definitely check them out.

Thanks, as always, for reading and supporting the work here. Hit me up if I missed anything. -J

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to All in Her Head by Jessica Valenti to listen to this episode and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.