Here's what happened in abortion news + takes this week.
Welcome back to Hard to Believe It’s Only Tuesday, my weekly roundup of the top headlines, tweets, takes, and more in abortion news. I regret to inform you that you will not be able to finish reading this edition of Hard to Believe without learning that there is a person on earth who believes abortions generate electricity for street lights.
The Top Headlines
“Oklahoma Legislature passes nation’s most restrictive abortion law” (The Oklahoman) — Just two weeks after Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a six-week abortion ban into law, the state legislature has gone even further and passed a law that would ban abortion after “fertilization,” a thing that is not a thing. (Scroll down to the tweets section to hear more on why from an actual doctor.) The state has another law set to go into effect in August that will ban all abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person and will criminalize abortion providers. More in the NYT if you can stomach it.
“Religious backers of abortion rights say God’s on their side” (AP) — While white evangelical/protestant voices dominate media narratives on abortion, they don’t actually have the exclusive on how God, or Jesus, and other Christians feel about abortion care — as is evidenced by this piece profiling the mostly Black, “deeply faithful” Christian staff at the West Alabama Women’s Center.
“Abortion in the Founders’ era: Violent, chaotic, and unregulated” (WaPo) — You aren’t going to believe this, but Justice Alito’s SCOTUS-draft-leak pontifications on abortion history used justify overturning Roe v. Wade lack context, nuance, and even the barest understanding of the provision of abortion care today in the year of our fuck off 2022.
“Pelosi banned from receiving communion in San Francisco archdiocese over her position on abortion” (CNN) — American bishops defy the fucking Pope on this issue, again and again.
“What self-managed abortion looks like now — and how an end to Roe v. Wade could change it” (The 19th) — Thanks to the availability of medication abortion, self-managed care needn’t involve self-harm; the risks are legal, not physical.
“Self-managed abortion is a nightmare in the surveillance age” (VICE) — Steph Black looks at the surveillance state landscape and digital security threats to people who self-manage their care or help someone else to do so. (Terrified? Interested? Scroll down to the action items section for an upcoming webinar on protecting your digital information.)
Scalawag Race & Place Editor Ko Bragg facilitates a very fucking honest conversation about media coverage of abortion, abortion doula+support work, and what it’s like to provide care in the South with Laurie Bertram Roberts, Robin Marty, Nzingha Hall, and Ash Williams on Twitter Spaces. Just one key quote of many, listen to the whole thing: “I’m constantly like, yelling into the void to try to get media to cover us when it’s not a crisis, and then suddenly it’s a crisis and everybody descends upon us like vultures on to a dead carcass to pick apart our traumas and feast upon, especially Black and Brown trauma.” — Laurie Bertram Roberts
Dr. Leah Torres in Slate: “Medical providers who treat pregnancy-related issues in red states exist in a constant state of fear of performing any procedure that can be classified as an abortion—even while the procedures remain legal. We know that we face the risk of being prosecuted, having our licenses revoked, or even being thrown in jail if we fail to precisely follow every regulation, no matter how arcane or medically unnecessary it is. (We can be cited if the clinic’s janitor’s closet isn’t the size deemed appropriate by the state, for example.)”
Mona Eltahawy contemplates the new film Happening, about a woman who gets an abortion in 1963 France — when abortion care is illegal: “I had an ‘illegal’ abortion in Egypt in 1996 and a ‘legal’ abortion in the U.S. in 2000. I feel like I straddle a surreal ‘before’ and ‘after’ that is about to go into effect but in reverse in the U.S. as the Supreme Court stands poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade case which legalized abortion. Happening opened to limited release in the U.S. just as the country comes dangerously close to an ‘after’ and ‘before.’ I use inverted commas around ‘illegal’ and ‘legal’ because I reject the State’s attempt to control my uterus. I reject its power to declare what is ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ when it comes to my abortions. The State–and the Supreme Court–can fuck off with its opinions about what I can and can’t do with my uterus. That control belongs to me.”
Irin Carmon on the literal humanity of pregnant people: “I too, have taken on the human form in all relevant respects, although I couldn’t find mention of it in Alito’s draft opinion. At five or six weeks’ gestation of this pregnancy, my second, my heart began to pump an extra 40 or 50 percent blood volume, leaving me dizzy and breathless; at eight weeks, the waves of nausea were near-unbearable, though I wasn’t among those whose illness requires them to be hospitalized for IV fluids; at ten weeks, I, too, had fingernails, but they were breaking thanks to gushing hormones; at 11 weeks, I was still short of breath and gripped by a fatigue that felt like a hand pressing down on my chest. So far, I am having an easy pregnancy, and I chose it.”
Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi tweets a series of good/informative/terrifying thoughts about the bad/non-science of “fertilization” following Oklahoma’s latest abortion ban: “Fertilization is not a measurable point. Fertilization also happens before pregnancy. Let that sink in.”
Renee Bracey Sherman tweets the receipts: Yes, an anti-abortion “expert witness” really did tell Congress this week that aborted babies power street lamps in Washington, D.C.
The Fuck Are We Supposed To Do About It?
Anywhere: Sign up for an online training on OpSec/digital security from the Digital Defense Fund on Monday, 5/23: “The creep of criminalization is moving online and deputizing private actors to be its eyes and ears, and moving into public health to become a site of enforcing ‘good womanhood,’ whether the policed are women or not. This webinar explores these trends, asks how these movements are inextricably intertwined, and what we can learn about strategies for resistance.”
Anywhere: Sign up to learn about self-managed abortion (that means abortion care that happens with limited or no clinical supervision) in the “How to Be an SMA Buddy” training on May 21 from Plan C, feat. the M+A Hotline and If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.
Anywhere: Phone bank for Jessica Cisneros, the pro-abortion-rights South Texas Democrat running against Henry Cuellar, the last anti-abortion Democrat in Congress.
Texas: Register for the Texas Abortion Access Network Academy, a series of virtual trainings which give “participants the tools they need to be leaders in the ongoing fight to protect abortion access throughout Texas.”
North Texas: the Texas Equal Access Fund is hosting an abortion kit drive! Drop off supplies or help put kits together on Saturday, 5/28. Register for location details.
Denton, Texas: Chalk up some sidewalks! The Texas Equal Access Fund is co-hosting “Big Pride in Lil’ D: Chalk & Chill” with PriDenton on Saturday, 6/25.
Austin, Texas: Head to the Butterfly Bar on Tuesday 5/24 for a pub quiz night benefiting Texas abortion funds, sponsored by the Austin DSA.
That’s all for this week! I’m sure I’ve missed something you’d like to see featured in this roundup, for I am but one woman with a computer and an abortion-news-induced drinking problem. Holler at me — firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM me on Twitter, and I’ll try to add follow-ups as I’m able.