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I want to be careful in framing my question, but looking for how limitations in access to abortion are considered bans when we were fine with limitations that were included in the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. If I understand that language correctly, there were limitations to abortion access in that decision. I completely disagree with the new positioning of these new anti-abortion activists and forcing compliance with their views. I'm also staunchly pro-choice and support any person's right to exercise their own reproductive freedom and access to healthcare. I am sincerely wondering how limitation is a ban today when it was (relatively) acceptable in Roe.

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The anti-abortion movement's campaign to ban the media from using "ban" when reporting on anti-ab messaging is an addition to the anti-abortion myths that I detailed in my article, "Evidence-based Responses to Antiabortion Myths." I will resend it to you and hope that you can make use of it in some way. And I so appreciate your brilliant work on this brutal attack on women! Rebecca Chalker, beckychalker@gmail.com.

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What I meant to say was respond to any author who uses a euphemism for ban by sending Jessica’s essay today. I have bookmarked it.

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founding

Yeah, that’s right.

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Have their been any studies showing how many abortions are granted/denied under the 'exceptions' in anti-choice states? I'm not at all contradicting what AED has talked about many times, how these are exceptions in name only. I'm just wondering if there have been any attempts to quantify this.

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I’m pretty sure the number in Texas is a grand total of ZERO

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It’s too soon, even in states where bans have gone into effect. My guess is they aren’t tracking denials.

Plus, they’re busily telling the press that if a woman is denied, it’s the doctor’s fault for not interpreting the law correctly.

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Good question, and I wish reporters would try to dig into this, but how can they? Most rapes aren't even reported, so how on earth does an exception work...? It's nonsense and the press and politicians should call it out for what it is -- *the state sanctioning of a crime.*

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Not to mention only 4% of rapists are convicted even when they are reported and it takes months in court to get one. Long after the window to get an abortion.

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founding

One difficulty is that it's not necessarily that the state is denying permission for an abortion that's supposed to be on the exception list, it's that the patient can't find anyone willing to perform it (because they're afraid of the risk created by the law). It's important because the anti-abortion states will claim they're not refusing any abortions but the result is the same. So any research has to be well designed with this in mind.

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Every time they try to push someone for using “ban” the response should be- so a law banning individuals from possessing guns, except for a few exceptions, isn’t a ban? They are so full of shit.

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Other than using "ban," every chance I get, I use "pro-subjugation," "the state ownership of our uteruses," and of course "forced birth."

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Please Jessica, SOON, tackle the issue of polls about abortion views. Polls record what people think they believe about abortion. Anyone who has worked on abortion services knows that when folks are faced with the reality of an unwanted pregnancy (their own, a family member's, a friend's, etc), their actions frequently are not aligned with what they told the pollster.

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Jessica has written about polls & specifically about how the answer the pollster gets varies widely depending on how the question is worded or framed. I think she said you get the highest percentage of people saying they are against bans if you ask: Do you think govt should be involved in pregnancy? About 80% would answer No to that question.

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Polls are based on the quality of the methodology--wording of questions, sampling issues, ability to reach the appropriate cross-section of respondents. Beliefs/opinions can change and theoretically the shift will be captured in future surveys.

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founding

That's true. But polls measure what people think they believe about abortion at any given time. They include people who have personal experience with abortion as well as people who do not. Obviously we don't think popular opinion should determine human rights, but it's useful to know what the public is thinking, particular in a democracy, when they have the ability to cast votes that will elect the people who write and enforce the laws and public policy. As confident as we may be how they would react if the situation were personal, we're probably more interested in how their thinking might affect their voting, activism, charitable activity, etc. and measuring progress on our own efforts to persuade people of the justice of the cause.

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How did the anti-abortion movement succeed in getting journalists to label them "pro life"? That is a totally inappropriate label, which journalists should be pressured to stop using.

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I’ll start my messaging & emailing campaign on that asap.

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founding

I worked at newspapers my whole working life and would constantly bring up language, with only occasional success. I think the most economic way to address language is to appeal to the Associated Press. Their stylebook is the universal guide used at most publications dealing with current events. If we focused on changing the AP Stylebook, we could change usage on a grander scale.

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founding

Very good point.

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founding

I never worked for AP but over the years I got the impression that they tried to accommodate how various factions wanted to be known. The GOP has always excelled at language. When they’re deceptive, like labeling the legislation known as The Heartbeat Bill, some stories explained in parenthetical phrases the absurdity of that name because at the early stage of pregnancy the bill addressed, there is no heartbeat because there is no heart. But it takes space and word count and over time, for expediency I guess the explanation gets dropped. It shouldn’t, but it does. It’s hoped that the message sent in earlier coverage sticks with the reader. Another reference I always argued against was the label “abortion doctor”. That seemed an ignorant and demeaning label for a gynecologist or obstetrician or surgeon giving health care to a patient. But it’s used too often in my opinion.

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If I were reporting on the issue, I'd say "the erroneously-named Heartbeat Bill."

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founding

Perfect.

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Abortion doctor would be fine, if the GOP hadn’t been allowed to attach shame to the word abortion.

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founding

Yes, we need to be a lot stronger in advocating for our positions. The entire debate has had their framing, their terminology, their incorrect facts (i.e. lies), and on and on. Why? Because they're bullies? Because 'traditional' mindsets get too much deference? Idk but we need to start raising hell.

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founding

'expecting the media to tell the truth about abortion is the absolute bare minimum'

Well, they've failed at that for decades, so I don't have great hope for it to change now. The language is important but honestly what's more important is that they're reporting the correct facts. I don't care as much what we call something. Whatever you call crisis pregnancy centers, say what they actually do. Whatever you call these laws, say what they actually do. Fucking do the reporting and tell the people what's going on instead of just interviewing "both sides" and then passing on the spin. THAT'S the media's failure.

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Jessica Valenti

This is an excellent analysis. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. We should all start pointing this out in our own words.

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author

Thank you!

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Jessica, can you cut this back and turn it into an op-ed for the Times?

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Bookmark this and send to any reporter using a euphemism for the word ban.

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author

You know, that's a really good idea! I've been meaning to reach out to them about another column soon

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They won’t want it because I’m sure someone has written a story about abortion in the last 18 months and so it won’t be news worthy.

Or maybe because you’re not talking about trans rights, that transphobic institution might deign to let you publish it.

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Do it! And if they don't want it, I'd try the other nationally recognized papers...

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Jessica Valenti

Jessica - you are always so on the money. I work for a menstrual equity nonprofit and we are in the throes of crafting a statement in response to the enactment of laws that BAN sex education as well prohibit educators and school nurses from using the word "period" (or "menstruation" or whatever else they decide is unlawful to utter.) We were discussing the importance of using the word "ban" in our staff meeting yesterday. It's powerful, evocative and above all, TRUE. Thank you for this timely take on a very important nuance in language and who gets to say what.

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author

Thank you - and thank you for your work!

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Wow! Can you provide more info on the sex ed ban you mention?

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Jessica Valenti

Florida House Bill 1069 was recently passed and impacts all sorts of discussion and education of reproductive health care https://www.mdlinx.com/article/proposed-florida-bill-would-restrict-discussions-of-menstruation-in-school/79ZQKHleZXdCCHPs2fTl1b

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What the AF ?? is wrong with those people? Neither a teacher nor a school nurse can discuss a normal bodily function….fcs!!!!

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At the risk of being tagged as a naysayer, I read the cited article and the Florida bill is far from enactment. Obviously important to watch and oppose. In a forum that closely tracks legislation, accuracy is important.

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Just wanted to follow up on this @Joeff - here's a link to an article on the enactment of that dreaded bill. https://www.alligator.org/article/2023/07/desantis-k-12-health-education

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Great article, & even though the bill is in effect, there are a couple of positive suggestions for getting around it.

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It’s been passed, and Florida bill 1069 goes into effect today.

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founding

I'm guessing all the red states are doing similar things.

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Another one I keep trying to call out is "the moment of conception" or "the moment of fertilization." Of course, there's the concurrent idea that this "moment" (which doesn't exist) is when pregnancy commences. How many lies can be packed into three or four words?

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Whatever that ‘moment’ is it precedes the expulsion of thousands of ‘post conception unborn babies’ that end up going down the drain every year in Texas. They don’t care about those, clearly,

So they’re not buying their own BS. (Bringing that up to the manipulative person at ‘prolife America’ is what for me blocked.

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🤣🤣

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Thank you for this! Makes so much sense but I didn't notice the language shift on my own.

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I really don't understand how a MINORITY--which is what the anti-choice crowd is--has been so incredibly successful in getting its language adopted by so many others, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE MAJORITY.

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founding

Because they have been insanely focused and dedicated. They have mentally attached the future existence of what they consider their Christian civilization to this cause. The good news is their success may be causing our side to care a lot more about the issue than their side does, the reverse of the situation under Roe.

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And they have been patient. They started working on this 45 years ago, starting at the level of school boards and city councils.

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founding

They could afford to be patient. Since no one is actively hurt by legal abortion.

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I hear you, Zach. But patience is the only way we are going to make this happen. I’m not saying we should sit on our butts and do nothing, but this will be a step by step process, with forward wins and defeats. We can’t give up, even if it takes longer than we would like

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founding

Yeah the political priority right now is to keep the whole federal government from falling to the Republicans or it will be 1933 Germany.

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