The Alabama cop city protesters' bail fund organizers are facing RICO charges. If they're convicted, I guarantee you we'll see identical prosecution of abortion funds and donators once the precedent is set. We'll probably see it even if the charges aren't upheld, because the American right never met a law they wouldn't weaponize for their own ends. In-group that the law protects but doesn't bind, out-group that the law binds but doesn't protect, etc., etc.

I'm so angry about conservatives claiming that doctors who deny clearly-necessary abortions are misinterpreting the law, while also claiming that it's too burdensome for the state or lawmakers to clarify the circumstances that should warrant an exception. If these fucking hypocrites didn't have double standards they'd have no goddamn standards at all. The inconsistency infuriates me on a whole different level.

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I think you are absolutely right here. It is maddening in the extreme.

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Viability seems like a reasonable break point until you realize that anyone asking for an abortion post-viability has a good reason. Messaging has to include education bc people don’t know how bodies work.

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That’s exactly it. We do such a poor job of educating people about human biology and reproduction to start with.

Over the last 45-50 years, with the prochoice movement and Democratic politicians in particular playing defense, there’s been next to no awareness brought to this issue. I think part of it was politics - Dems not wanting to risk their careers, or risk stirring up the forced birthers. But part of it also that the average politician, just like the average citizen, doesn’t have a real understanding of how many things can go wrong during a pregnancy. It’s complicated, and like all complicated things, it doesn’t fit in a ten second sound bite.

Most people don’t have any understanding of embryology to begin with - I regularly talk to people, even pro choice people, who think that a fetus is fully formed by 8 weeks or so, and spends the rest of its time just growing bigger, not actually developing.

We don’t even tell people who are pregnant all that much about pregnancy, unless something comes up that specifically impacts them. I had worked running a research library for Planned Parenthood in my early twenties, and even I was shocked at some of what happened to my own body while I was pregnant. I have always wondered if we don’t talk about this because too much of it is unpleasant, and the culture doesn’t want to discourage childbirth. I didn’t know my ribcage was going to spread, permanently. I didn’t know that in the second trimester, it was fairly normal to have a 12 week long headache that can’t be treated because half a tylenol was the only thing I was allowed to take. I didn’t know that a large fetus could permanently double the size of my uterus (every time I see a new gynecologist, they panic and send me for an ultrasound, thinking there’s something seriously wrong). I didn’t know the impact that anemia during pregnancy could have on me. I didn’t know that a large fetus could create post-natal hemmorhaging that could last for months, because the uterine artery had been so stretched that it wouldn’t close down - and opened up again any time I extorted myself.

That was all in a pregnancy considered pretty run of the mill. I wasn’t high risk, I was in my late twenties and healthy. Every time I raised these issues with my doctor, the response was pretty much “Oh yeah. That’s not really unusual.” My experiences are only one pregnancy’s story (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten other things), and every pregnancy is different. We don’t talk about these things, even to each other. Most people don’t even know that a first trimester surgical abortion is 14 times safer than carrying to term and giving birth.

Now we have to find a way to get people educated, and quickly, on the number of serious complexities and complications that can happen late in a pregnancy. I think we also need to have some numbers, not just on the rarity of third trimester abortions, but when they happen. I’m not aware of anyone who maintains anything other than a general “less than X% happen after Y weeks.” (I usually see Y being 21 weeks.) I don’t think that’s specific enough, but I don’t think anyone collects those numbers. How many abortions, exactly, happen after 30 weeks? 35? We need to show more specifics about how few abortions are done when to counter the claim that we need to ban abortion at a specific time in pregnancy.

When a Democratic politician is confronted with the “you want abortion until the baby is emerging,” answering “It should be between the woman and her doctor” isn’t good enough. Yes, it should, but answering that way sounds to many like a cop out. That’s why we keep hearing Republicans saying they’ll only “answer questions about a national ban if Biden/Harris/other Democrats state after what week they would ban the procedure - otherwise they obviously support abortion until birth.” They need to be able to counter that with things like “X abortions were performed last year at 36 weeks because Y happened, and the only way to save the woman was procedure Z, which unfortunately resulted in the fetus not making it,” or “Last year, there were X terminations done at 38 weeks, because the fetus was not going to survive the birth process, and this hadn’t been discovered earlier because of Y.”

We are sending politicians out there with one hand tied behind their backs, because they don’t have enough solid facts to counter the emotionalism of “You want to murder babies at birth.” People have zero understanding of why anyone would need an abortion beyond mid-pregnancy, and they do not know anything about why any abortion would happen after 30-34 weeks. They need not only to understand the rarity of these procedures, they need to understand *why* those procedures happen.

We need to get busy figuring out how to collect this data, and how to explain what goes wrong in these pregnancies. We have to switch the focus from “you just want abortions until birth, you’re a monster” to a real understanding of the issues at play when abortions occur in the third trimester, particularly that handful that happen post-“viability.” I put viability in quotes here because so few of those pregnancies would result in the birth of an infant which would live more than a few painful, dying hours.

We have to get busy.

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I agree and would also like to see local sex education get better which imo has been strongly influenced by anti-abortionists for decades. If you own the messaging... eeeeee... there was a study recently suggesting that younger ages are more likely to think birth control is dangerous and could permanently affect fertility. Like, what?! Boomers know better?

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Yes, it’s incredibly bizarre that sex education isn’t a requirement in all states, and where it is mandated, it’s rarely complete. Some places still teach “abstinence only” to students (who have a higher rate of unintended pregnancy as a result). Some places also seem to spread as much misinformation as they do actual fact.

Even really good sex education can be undercut when it’s not taught in a neutral manner, without judgement or personal morals sneaking in. To be really comprehensive, sex ed needs to include not just the mechanics of reproduction, all forms of contraception, abortion, pregnancy, STIs, etc., but also not ignore women’s genitals. Most instruction includes teaching about ejaculation, because of its connection to pregnancy, but never have I heard the word clitoris in a sex education class.

I had the typical late 60s fifth/sixth grade, gender separated one day class with a film about menstruation. No discussion of sex, but as opposed to earlier generations, we were told it was ok to exercise while menstruating (except for swimming of course - we were not taught about tampons, only pads). There was nothing else until Health class in high school. I don’t recall much about that, but I doubt that contraception was covered in the mid 70s, even in liberal Massachusetts.

But accessing contraception was easier then than it is now for a lot of teens. There was a hospital-associated clinic a couple of towns over that provided contraception on a sliding scale, and for most of us, it was free. You had to bring note from your parents ha-ha. Which is exactly how the clinic described it when you’d call. They were fully aware that the notes we all used were forged, but their butts were legally covered, so they didn’t care. It was more important to ensure that young women had access to contraception. (Side note - many years later, having recently moved back to the area, and newly pregnant, I asked a doctor for an Ob/Gyn referral. Imagine my surprise when the doctor was the same one I’d seen at the clinic as a teen!)

We also need comprehensive education about human reproduction, including at least basic factual information about embryonic development. Whether that’s done in a comprehensive sex ed class, or in biology class, kids need to understand more about the process than “egg + sperm = baby.”

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Absolutely. Politicians on our side should be seeking out this information, but reproductive rights groups should also have briefings ready to go. And doctors, who are under attack, must see the need to educate the public at this moment. Medical expert to reproductive rights group to politician to voter.

To your other points - where to start? I think it's a combination of misogyny, taboos, and yes not wanting to discourage childbirth. Some people don't want to know, some people don't want others to know, but then how much do those who do know share what they know? For example, how much does a mother tell her grown daughter about pregnancy (the assumption being a healthy mother-daughter relationship). One can and should learn from many sources and many people, but you'd think your own mother might be where a conversation might start?

We can't have a healthy population if we aren't educated about things as fundamental as reproduction, pregnancy, and childbirth.

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Agreed. There’s a lot about women’s bodies that was, until very recently, taboo to discuss openly. We are just now getting to the point where women don’t feel the need to hide a tampon up their sleeve on the way to the ladies’ room.

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This is such an important point. You can’t legislate around all the ways a pregnancy can go wrong. Abortion should be available throughout pregnancy.

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I've been saying for years that Democrats need to get out from under the corner the "pro-life" movement put them in. The defensive adoption of "pro-choice" kept Dems from going on the offensive, grabbing the moral high ground. If they can't understand this now, we're doomed. Shame on Dems who think it's enough to declare that they're pro-choice. And unless they are listening to activists and advocates who have their ears to the ground, shame on them! That's still throwing women and girls under the bus.

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