Sep 20 • 16M

Abortion Every Day (9.19.22)

Texas maternal mortality data won’t be ready before midterms

Upgrade to listen

Appears in this episode

Jessica Valenti
Daily audio updates & commentary on abortion in the United States.
Episode details

In the states…

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the state’s abortion ban into law on Friday: Abortion in the state is now entirely illegal, with narrow exceptions for rape and incest if the procedure is sought within early weeks of pregnancy and the attack is reported to law enforcement. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lashed out on the campaign trail over abortion, saying, “There's been a lot of lies and mistruths told about what our legislation does. I would urge Georgians to make sure and get the truth.” Okay, Brian, here’s the truth: Most Georgia voters don’t approve of the state’s abortion ban, which only has rape and incest exceptions when a police report is filed. The language of the law is deliberately vague, which means that doctors in the state are fearful even over the most basic procedures: like treating miscarriages.

Donate to Stacey Abrams here.

I told you last week how Utah Republicans were harassing abortion providers by threatening them with cease and desist letters claiming that “abortion is still a crime” in the state. (The trigger law is currently blocked while being battled out in the courts.) Well now those Republicans claim the letters were just “our opinion” and not “a legal analysis.” What a bunch of assholes.

Support Abortion, Every Day

In Texas, abortion is top of mind for voters—especially when it comes to who will be attorney general. Here are voters’ choices: The current AG Ken Paxton, who sued the Biden administration over the state’s right not to provide life-saving abortions; or his Democratic opponent Rochelle Garza, a civil rights immigration lawyer who made national headlines after helping a teenage migrant obtain an abortion even as Texas tried to stop her.

Speaking of Texas: In what I’m sure is absolute and total coincidence, the state’s maternal mortality numbers won’t be ready before the midterms. This is the first time that the Department of State Health Services will be late with the numbers. From Democratic State Rep. Jasmine Crockett:

Meanwhile, the maternal health crisis in Oklahoma is only getting worse now that abortion has been banned. (If you want to know how much the state cares about mothers, consider that Oklahoma has the lowest rate of health insurance coverage for expecting mothers, 70 percent, in the nation.)

The Chief Justice of Florida’s Supreme Court is under fire for giving an anti-abortion group a private tour of the courthouse earlier this year. Some context: The state Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to block Florida’s 15-week ban—and it’s not looking good. Just as important: Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody, who is anti-abortion, wants the state Supreme Court to reverse an old decision that ruled the state constitution’s privacy clause protects abortion rights. (This clause is why there’s still abortion in Florida before 15 weeks.)

All of which is to say: It is very fucking important to the people of Florida whether the now-Chief Justice of the state supreme court is giving special consideration to anti-abortion groups. This is especially interesting: A anonymous court employee told this Florida politics blog, “I was told all the people [on the tour] are members of the anti-abortion group who came to see the place where abortion would soon be abolished in Florida.” [Emphasis mine]

In Ohio, Democratic candidate for governor (and former mayor of Dayton) Nan Whaley talks about how anger over abortion bans are impacting voters:

“Does it help me? Yes. Am I happy that it helps me? No. This is a really terrible moment for women, with what’s happening for Ohio and the fight for them to protect their rights and their freedoms that are at stake. And we’ve never had a race like this before, at least since I’ve been alive.”

Teen Vogue has an interview with Whaley here. Also in Ohio, clinics have resumed providing abortions while the state’s abortion ban is temporarily blocked. (One clinic saw a 50% increase in calls.)

The Republican running for Senate in New Hampshire, Don Bolduc, said his opponent, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan should just “get over it” on abortion. Charming. And Oregon has launched a website to explain the state’s abortion laws—it’s a fine start, but pro-choice states should be looking to California’s new abortion resource website as the current gold-standard. 

And in Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s lawsuit against St. Louis—for using federal funds to support abortion access—is being sent back to the state courts.

President of Arizona’s Planned Parenthood, Brittany Fonteno, talked to a local station about what’s happening with abortion rights in the state—including what might happen this week when a judge makes a ruling on the state’s trigger ban.

NPR also has a short 3-minute segment on the fight for abortion rights in Arizona if you want to take a listen.

Abortion is legal in Montana, but that hasn’t stopped Republican legislators from attacking reproductive rights. Montana Public Radio reports that Republicans have been scouring through Medicaid-funded abortions over the last ten years, looking for ways to target the medical care of the most vulnerable. Federally, Medicaid patients can have their abortions covered in cases of rape, incest or if their life is in danger. But in Montana, they can also have abortions covered if they’re deemed ‘medically necessary’. And so the director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services—appointed by anti-abortion wacko Gov. Greg Gianforte—looked at thousands of Medicaid-covered abortions, and now says 221 of the cases lack adequate documentation to prove the abortions were medically necessary. To be clear: This doesn’t mean the abortions weren’t medically necessary, just that the paperwork might not have been done correctly. This is what Republicans are spending money on.

In the nation…

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Illinois to talk about protecting abortion rights:

“We have a midterm coming up in 53 days. Who your governor is matters. Whether they’re going to protect these rights, and support these rights, to freedom and liberty, it matters. Who’s your attorney general matters, whether they are going to protect and defend the principles ingrained in the Constitution of the United States. That matters.”

VP Harris also spoke about the recent win in Kansas, saying that Democrats have momentum going for them, and that “we know that we stand with the majority of Americans in saying that we need to stand up for that basic, fundamental right.”

And as Americans’ trust in the Supreme Court fades post-Roe, some justices are speaking out about the danger of the highest court being seen as political rather than objective. From Justice Elena Kagan last week:

“When courts become extensions of the political process, when people see them as extensions of the political process, when people see them as just trying to impose personal preferences on society, irrespective of the law, that’s when there’s a problem.”

Also last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said “there’s going to be some question about the court’s legitimacy” if Americans think the justices are making decisions based on politics.

On the entertainment front, it looks like Law & Order is going to get into Roe being overturned. Here’s hoping they handle it well. We know abortion bans disproportionately impact Black women and young women; here’s how some HBCUs are thinking about the issue. And The Washingtonian interviews a clinic escort who used to be anti-abortion.

The Associated Press shares stories of women who had to end wanted pregnancies because of tragic diagnoses. You should read them all, but I wanted to highlight this one quote—a sentiment you hear often in these kinds of experiences: “The choice that I made was out of compassion for my daughter.” 

A new poll from NBC finds that thanks to the anger over abortion bans, Democrats are now even with Republicans in advance of the midterms. The 19th also gets into how public opinion is shifting on abortion post-Roe, and ABC News has a video segment on the midterm battle over abortion:

The Atlantic reports that the two-pill regiment for medication abortion may be one pill too many. Generally, people who want to end a pregnancy first take mifepristone (which blocks a hormone necessary for a pregnancy to continue) and then take misoprostol (which brings on uterine contractions). But new studies show that taking just misoprostol can be 99 percent effective—information that’s incredibly useful for women who might need to get abortion medication illegally.

The Guardian reports on the increase of women’s voter registrations, and the uptick in registrations from younger Americans, as well—sparked by fury over abortion bans. One 18 year-old from Minnesota said, “I am ready to put these politicians in their place. We’re tired of the older guys in office telling us what to do with our bodies.”

And if you want to know more about some of the prosecutors taking a stand against abortion bans, the Vera Institute has interviewed a few of them. From District Attorney Sherry Boston of DeKalb County, Georgia:

“Criminalizing abortion undermines public safety and public trust. Further, it threatens the lives, health, and well-being of marginalized individuals whose access to safe abortion procedures will be restricted greater than others. It is my job as DA to make sure that the laws I prosecute are enforced in a fair and equitable manner without inflicting unnecessary public harm.”

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to Abortion, Every Day by Jessica Valenti to listen to this episode and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.