Aug 9 • 13M

Abortion, Every Day (8.9.22)

Republicans are running away from abortion

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Jessica Valenti
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
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I told you yesterday about a Nebraska teenager who is being charged as an adult for having what the state says was an illegal abortion. Her mother is also being charged with helping procure the medication to end the pregnancy. You can read more about the case here, and the role that Facebook played in their arrest (and on digital privacy & abortion, more broadly). I’ll pass along more information as I get it.

The trend of Republicans playing down their enthusiasm for abortion bans continues, this time in South Carolina. When Roe was overturned, the GOP called for a special session in order to push a total abortion ban with just an exception for a woman’s life. But after Kansas—and watching the chaos among Republicans in Indiana—some South Carolina legislators aren’t so eager to enter the fray. Republican Rep. Tom Davis said, “It’s like you are playing with live ammunition right now,” and Rep. Bill Taylor sent an email out to constituents with the headline, “WHAT’S THE RUSH.” He says the state should wait a few years to see how their 6-week ban goes before enacting a total ban. Funny how quickly their tune has changed!

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A refresher on a few other Republicans suddenly walking back their extremism (publicly, at least): South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who said on the day that Roe was overturned that she would call a special session on abortion, now claims it isn’t necessary because South Dakota is already “the most pro-life state in the nation.” (Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said the same thing about the decision to not debate abortion in their special session.) 

In North Carolina, four different Republicans seeking congressional seats who have been vocal about banning abortion have left abortion off their websites entirely—one candidate even scrubbed his page of his previous anti-abortion statement. 

Wait, there’s more: After previously only supporting abortion to save a person’s life, Minnesota’s Republican candidate for governor, Scott Jensen, now says he’d be okay with rape and incest exceptions. Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, is running away from questions about the state’s ban with no exceptions for rape or incest; and Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, also running for governor, went from calling banning abortion his “number one issue” to insisting governors don’t dictate abortion policy. 

We know why so many Republicans are running scared—it’s not just the polls, but all the awful stories coming out about women being denied vital health care: In Wisconsin, Melissa Janssen was 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke just a few days after Roe was overturned. Janssen was already showing symptoms of an infection, but her physician couldn’t offer her abortion right away because of the state ban. Dr. Jordan Crow said: 

“To be a doctor in that position, then to be in this situation where you’re uncertain, you think, will the hospital let me do this? Will the DA go after me and I end up fined or in jail? It’s this feeling of helplessness and utter confusion for everyone involved.”

Also in Wisconsin, Democrats have released a new ad attacking two-term Republican Sen. Ron Johnson: 

I told you yesterday about two major employers in Indiana—Eli Lilly and Cummins—who spoke out about the state’s abortion ban. Well, The Indianapolis Star points out that the companies had plenty of time to make their voices heard before the legislation passed, but declined to make statements or sign on to two different open letters opposing the legislation. And Eli Lilly, who said they’d seek growth outside of Indiana because of the ban, actually announced a 2 billion dollar project in the state after the decision about Roe was leaked and it was clear Indiana would restrict abortion as a result. 

More on the hypocritical front out of Indiana: I mentioned a while back that GameCon—a huge tabletop gaming conference—criticized the state’s abortion ban, saying they support reproductive rights. Well, they’re taking their conference, and all the money that comes with it, back to Indiana next year. So much for solidarity.

In related news, Illinois is trying to woo some of those businesses in states where abortion is banned to come set up shop with them. Also in Illinois, abortion providers are seeing a huge influx of patients from other states: Planned Parenthood in the state says that they went from seeing 100 patients in the average month, to now seeing 800 since Roe was overturned. They’re expecting that number to go up even more when Indiana’s ban goes into effect next month.

In Texas, abortion funds have largely stopped their work giving money to those who need care, because the state law could criminalize any ‘aiding and abetting’. But some better news out of the state: El Paso county passed a resolution to protect those seeking abortions by urging law enforcement not to take action on abortion-related cases, among other actions. 

In Michigan, pro-choicers are hard at work trying to win over women who might not usually vote Democrat, but are worried about the erosion of abortion rights; Nebraska didn’t have the votes to pass a 12-week abortion ban; and in Colorado, a ballot initiative to ban abortion in the state failed to get enough signatures to get it on November slate. 

Some more good news: A fundraiser for a North Dakota clinic that needs to move across the border to Minnesota has raised over 1 million dollars. 

This profile of an abortion clinic in Arizona is pretty great; I especially liked what one nurse said about their mission: “We set women free all day long.” 

In Florida, the prosecutor who was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis after saying he wouldn’t pursue abortion cases, says he’s planning on taking legal action. 

The Austin American-Statesman looks at how college enrollment might be impacted in Texas post-Roe, and talks to some college students who started school before it was overturned. PBS looks at hurdles for Asian Americans seeking abortions, while Bloomberg reports on hospitals who are worrying about staff retention in the face of abortion bans—which is reasonable considering the hurdles doctors are facing giving basic care to patients. 

Vice President Kamala Harris met with college presidents to talk about their concerns over abortion rights and how bans will impact higher education. One issue that got raised was what would constitute aiding and abetting for colleges that support students who are seeking abortions in states where it’s illegal. 

Your random fact of the day: Did you know that Sims characters could get abortions? I didn’t!

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