‘This is a blueprint’: abortion rights ballot proposal takes off in Michigan. Campaigners feel groundswell of support for proposal to stop a 1931 abortion ban from going into effect Nowhere near enough abortion clinics despite a liberal law since 1996
In the spring of this year, Julie’s 20-year-old son walked into a fraternity party filled with about 50 of his peers, holding a stack of petitions. They were for a campaign to protect abortion. “Who wants to be a dad?” he yelled. Like a park-goer throwing bread to pigeons, he chucked the forms around the room and watched as dozens of young men swarmed to sign them…
The campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution was already under way here even before Roe fell, and it has become an embittered battle in Michigan – to keep a 90-year-old abortion ban off the books… One woman, aged 60, travelled from Los Angeles to campaign for the ballot in Detroit, where she grew up. [One man], who was a Republican party strategist for more than 30 years, says statewide abortion bans are turning people off the party… “The Republicans have used abortion for decades as a means to motivate their pro-life religious base. And for most everybody who was engaged in that rhetoric, it was always theoretical. They never really had to worry about real-life consequences – and now they do,” he says.
A 44 year old lifelong Republican who lives in Grand Rapids will be voting for the proposal, which also enshrines contraception rights and IVF. “I have always been a pro-choice Republican,” she says, a community outreach director for the Michigan child protection registry. “Since I’ve become a mother, I’m more pro-choice than ever.”
Men are also actively supporting the proposal. “I don’t really think it’s appropriate to control people’s choices about that,” said one. “I mean, it’s healthcare, it’s rather straightforward,” said another.
An organiser of the pro-choice petition described a middle-aged man she saw on the day the Supreme Court decision leaked. She went out to set up her petition stand to get abortion on the ballot at a farmer’s market in downtown Ann Arbor – only someone got there before her. “I said, ‘You’re first in line for the concert tickets!’” she jokes. “And he tells me his mom died in a back alley abortion, protecting him and his siblings before Roe was passed – because she knew she could not support another child. To honour her memory, he wanted to be first to sign the petition.”
Abortion foes largely lose $2.4 million appeal over filming Planned Parenthood employees
An anti-abortion group, its founder and others lost most of their challenge to a $2.4 million judgment entered against them after a jury found they had broken the law by secretly recording Planned Parenthood employees.
SOURCE: Reuters, by Brendan Pierson, 21 October 2022
“They see that it’s really in our hands now”: Young women work to get out the vote in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling
Young women are at times registering to vote at higher rates than young men and older voters, and some are organizing get-out-the-vote efforts on their college campuses. For weeks ahead of the Texas state’s October 11 registration deadline, Maya encouraged classmates at her Texas university to register to vote. Now, she’s organizing other programming aimed at getting young people to the polls.
SOURCE: 19th News, by Barbara Rodriguez, 21 October 2022
A look at abortion and reproductive activism: a retrospective on half a century of change
In the 1960s, the women of Pembroke College [then a women’s college] were subject to strict rules. They adhered to curfews and conformed to dress codes under the parietal rules enforced at the time. But in 1965, one doctor in University health services made waves by doing what was unthinkable at the time — prescribing birth control pills to unmarried women.
In an open letter, 700 Tennessee healthcare providers call on Legislature to ‘reconsider’ abortion ban
More than 700 Tennessee doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are calling on the state’s GOP-super majority Legislature to revisit an abortion ban that criminalizes the procedure with no exceptions and subjects doctors who perform it to prosecution, fines and jail time.
SOURCE: Tennessee Lookout, by Anita Wadhwani, 10 October 2022 + PHOTO: John Partipilo
Candidate for governor Josh Shapiro, accompanied by
doctors and nurses discussed protecting abortion access,
during a news conference, Philadelphia, 29 June 2022
Physicians across Pennsylvania, motivated by abortion and concerns about their profession, have been campaigning in unprecedented ways a month before the mid-term elections, making the case that the abortion restrictions proposed by Republicans would threaten one of the state’s most important economic sectors.
SOURCE: Politico, by Alice Miranda Ollstein, 10 October 2022 ; PHOTO: Matt Rourke/AP
The US Supreme Court’s rejection of Roe v Wade in June 2022 put the matter of regulating abortion in the hands of the individual states. In its August primary, Kansas was the first state to give voters the right to vote on a new abortion law. A strong majority chose to reject a state constitutional amendment that would have allowed state lawmakers to enact a more restrictive law.
On 10 November 2022, voters will see ballot initiatives on the future of abortion in these states: California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont.
SOURCES: CNN, by Veronica Stracqualursi, 5 September 2022 ; The Guardian, by Poppy Noor ,11 October 2022
Kansans doing their best to help people from out of state seeking abortions
The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade triggered abortion bans and restrictions in states across the country, but not in Kansas. Voters there recently rejected an amendment that could have led to an abortion ban. Now it’s hard for providers in Kansas to keep up as people from other states seek services there. Demand at the clinic has increased as nearby states have implemented bans. During the first six months of 2021, the clinic did less than 800 abortions. That number jumped to more than 1,300 during the same period this year, with the number of out-of-state patients increasing sevenfold. Staff say people coming from farther away tend to be further along in their pregnancies and need more involved procedures. Because of the rise, the clinic director says they’re having to turn people away. But Planned Parenthood Great Plains has opened two new clinics in different parts of Kansas, so that will help a lot.
Kansas still has some law restrictions, however, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and a ban after 22 weeks, except in rare cases. Getting abortion pills via telemedicine is also prohibited. So more groups are also working to expand access in other ways. In Colorado, telehealth provider JustThePill opened a new mobile clinic out of a van. Kansans can drive over the state line and obtain abortion pills there. A new non-profit called Elevated Access has recruited some 800 volunteer pilots to fly patients to appointments on private planes. And abortion funds like Midwest Access Coalition are doing their part, especially those that help with travel, hotels and childcare.
Governor Newsom signed abortion protections into law in September
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of 12 bills at the end of September, establishing some of the strongest abortion protections in the nation — a direct reaction to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion guarantees earlier this year. Collectively, the new laws aim to improve access and protect patients and clinicians by strengthening privacy safeguards, ensuring providers and patients cannot be sued or prosecuted and funding procedures and travel costs for low-income individuals. They also seek to shore up the state’s network of abortion clinics as more patients from states where abortion is now severely limited or banned seek abortion services in California.
SOURCE: CalMatters, by Kristen Hwang, 27 September 2022
Doubts sown about Arizona abortion law, and clinics re-opened
Rachel Mitchell said she “will not prosecute women” who undergo abortions in light of an Arizona judge’s decision to reinstate a near-total ban on abortion, first enacted in 1864. She argued that the ban conflicts with existing state laws, and she said she’d seek a court’s “guidance” before prosecuting a case. “I know this is a highly emotionally charged subject, and I want the community to know that I will not prosecute women for having abortions and no statute even suggests a woman will be prosecuted for her decision,” she added. “Likewise, I will not victimize victims of rape, incest or molestation.”
Apparently, not everyone seems to trust Rachel Mitchell as her stance has changed since she decided to run for office and has seen how many people support access to abortion. Be that as it may, at the end of October, Planned Parenthood of Arizona resumed abortion services at all of its four clinics in the state and were booking appointments for abortion services throughout the state while a decision goes up the appeal ladder towards the Arizona Supreme Court about which law on abortion, if any, applies in the state. Another law, passed this year, which bans abortions after 15 weeks, is also on the books. The two sources referenced here do not provide a clear stance on that law.
SOURCES: MSNBC, by Ja’han Jones, 28 September 2022 ; abc15, 27 October 2022
How one unmarked van is quietly delivering abortion pills on Colorado’s border
An unmarked mobile clinic is parking at various places along Colorado’s border, where women from out-of-state can go to pick up abortion pills for themselves. “It doesn’t have any signage on it,” the medical director of Just The Pill, said. “We’re not trying to tell people what we’re doing, to keep patients safe, because we know that even in more protected states like Colorado, there are still lots of people that don’t agree with what we’re doing.”
Just The Pill works with patients across the West and Midwest USA. Everyone starts with a telehealth consultation, some joining the appointment from a hotel or car if this process is prohibited in their home state. Then medications are mailed or picked up by hand in Colorado. The van tries to get to as close to the patient as possible, depending on what means of transport they are using to reach the van.
Just the Pill has worked with thousands of women via telehealth so far this year. The mobile clinic, which goes out on the road approximately every two weeks, has served around 100 women since it launched in August. Planned Parenthood plans to launch a similar mobile operation later this year in Illinois. Just The Pill is fundraising for another mobile clinic, just like the one parked in Colorado. That unit too will operate in Illinois.
During the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration temporarily lifted the requirement that women obtain abortion pills from a provider in person, allowing them to be mailed instead. In December, the FDA made the change permanent. Still, many states prohibit telemedicine visits.
New Hampshire is a must-win state for Democrats in their campaign to keep control of the US Senate. Sen. Maggie Hassan narrowly won her last race in 2016 by 1,017 votes. Recent polls show her ahead in the contest against the Republican nominee, who is a retired Army brigadier general. Yet, Hassan and her allies expect a tight race in the final two weeks.
Many voters across the political spectrum say rising costs — on home heating, groceries, gas and housing — are a top issue. But access to abortion is animating the Democratic base and a sizable chunk of independents.
The Republican Party candidate won the primary in September, echoing former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged. The day after the primary win, however, he reversed himself and said Biden won. But since then, he has made conflicting public comments. including on abortion, although he insists he would vote no on a federal abortion ban if one was proposed by his party.
SOURCE: KUNC, by Deidre Walsh, Justine Yan, 25 October 2022