Hard to Believe It's Only Tuesday: When Abortion Ban Exceptions Aren't
Here's what happened in abortion news + takes this week.
Here’s another edition of Hard to Believe It’s Only Tuesday, a weekly roundup of the top headlines, tweets, takes, and more in abortion news.
This week’s big takeaway: news reports from around the country show that so-called “exceptions” to abortion bans are not, in practice, treated as such, and there are major systemic issues with hospitals and other large medical entities playing CYA with their legal teams instead of allowing their employees to provide the care they know is best.
Abortion bans create a culture of fear and intimidation deliberately meant to terrorize medical professionals out of providing the best, and best-indicated, care to pregnant people, and to terrorize pregnant people out of seeking medical care. (Some of you will notice I’m not linking to the story out of Indiana; this is deliberate, as I find even the ~ correct ~ takes exploitative by now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, good.)
The Top Headlines
Shot: “Texas sues after Biden Administration issues guidance saying doctors can perform abortions in emergencies” (Texas Tribune) Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden Administration over federal guidance that says Texas has to obey its own statutory obligation to ensure abortion care to save the life of a pregnant person. Jezebel has … more plain-spoken coverage.
Chaser: “Texas hospitals fearing abortion law delay pregnant women’s care, medical association says” (Dallas Morning News) It’s not theoretical: medical providers are being actively directed not to provide ethically and statutorily obligatory abortion care to pregnant people out of extreme legal caution over the state’s abortion ban.
“Hospital systems reverse reproductive health restrictions” (American Prospect) — Hospitals have tremendous influence over when and whether abortion and other reproductive care can or will be provided under bans and restrictions, and many are acting out of fear, rather than the best interests of their patients.
“District court rules many Minnesota abortion restrictions unconstitutional” (Star-Tribune) — Finally, some good news.
“Post-Roe, many autoimmune patients lose access to ‘gold standard’ drug” (LA Times) — Methotrexate is an anti-rheumatic that can also be used to treat ectopic pregnancy. In the wake of abortion bans, patients are having trouble getting prescriptions filled, even if their need isn’t pregnancy-related. (Here’s a Reuters report in case you’re paywalled out of the LAT).
“Her ex-husband is suing a clinic over the abortion she had four years ago” (ProPublica) — An Arizona man is using Florida’s probate system to harass his former wife for having an abortion years ago. It’s a novel legal tactic that could create real and terrifying precedent for fetal (embryonic?) personhood, and will likely inspire abusers to play copycat.
“Abortion providers ask for protection as they prepare for post-Roe harassment and violence” (Reveal) — Missed this one from a few weeks ago. Abortion providers work under constant threat of (sometimes deadly) violence, and — sit down for this one — law enforcement and legislators are not super interested in protecting them and their patients.
ANSIRH director and abortion provider Dr. Daniel Grossman tweets a thread on the ridiculousness of the New York Times hosting an anti-abortion “bioethicist from England lecture us about abortion & pregnancy-related mortality in the US.”
Watch what Rep. Ayanna Pressley called a “masterclass” testimony from Berkeley law professor and anthropologist Khiara Bridges, who refused to entertain Josh Hawley’s transphobia during a Senate hearing on abortion.
Academic and abortion funder Derek P. Siegel in Rewire on how abortion bans impact trans and nonbinary folks, and the importance of shared struggle: “As the Supreme Court threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade, exacerbating current barriers to abortion, activists must consider how restrictions impact different social groups, including trans men and nonbinary individuals. Anti-abortion and anti-trans legislation reinforce one another and extend the reach of the state in its effort to regulate disadvantaged families. By acknowledging and organizing around this intersection, activists create opportunities for coalition building and resistance. We are stronger when we work together.”
Regina Mahone in The Nation: “Self-managed abortion isn’t the only solution in this post-Roe environment. Clinics are essential to communities, and there are cases in which an in-clinic abortion is the only option for a patient, including for those facing incomplete miscarriages, as we saw in Malta recently. But it’s clear that not enough people are aware of the safety of medication abortion, which now accounts for more than half of all abortions in the United States, where the majority of abortions occur within the FDA-approved window for abortion-inducing drugs (up to 70 days of pregnancy). So while we donate to abortion funds and support clinics, we must also defend self-managed abortion, both the principle and the practice.”
Rebecca Traister in The Cut: “A Politico story published on Monday suggests that the administration’s timidity stems from fears that acting aggressively will draw lawsuits from the right and ultimately end in defeat in the hands of courts. Well … yes. That is, as they say, the point. A fascistic opposition party has seized control of the institutions and gone all in on supporting an armed insurrection in order to ensure minority rule. That’s how they’re fighting, and the right’s willingness to keep at it, even in periods in which they were losing, is how we landed here. The fact that Biden can’t seem to discern this, in the context of the appallingly flaccid response to Dobbs, has prompted me to think a lot about the writer Jia Tolentino’s dawning suspicion, for the first time in her life, ‘that, actually, the Democrats are not interested at all in protecting the right to abortion.’”
I’ve feared to speak on this issue because I have often existed in a liminal space that opens one up to criticism on either side. I can imagine what some who knew me when I was younger might think as they read this: “What a shame that she’s become ‘of this world’ by rejecting God.” “She’s too tempted by sex outside of marriage and so is now anti-life to make that feasible.” “She’s alright with babies being murdered!” “She’s just ‘going with the crowd’ of the woke liberals she surrounds herself with.” Or, somehow worst of all, “I’m praying for you that you’ll see the light.” This is something I have constantly feared—am I just participating in self-delusion, a sort of internal preference falsification to fit in? The messages that punished me for questioning and making my own determinations still have a sting.”
The Fuck Are We Supposed to Do About It?
St. Paul: March with UnRestrict Minnesota on July 17th.
Anywhere: get a kickass skeleton-tat-inspired "abortion is healthcare” shirt designed by Nat Power (who FUN FACT did this colorful kitty tat on my forearm!). Proceeds benefit Just The Pill.
Anywhere: Saturday, July 17th is a full day of online abortion activist training from Operation Save Abortion, featuring abortion funders, providers, experts, and more.
Anywhere: REPRO Rising Virginia has a positive, and positively thorough, guide to updating your protest signs to make sure you’re using the most forward-thinking, respectful, and impactful language around abortion.
Anywhere: familiarize yourself with this Digital Defense Fund guide to keeping your abortion private and secure, and share it widely.
Texas: sign and share Avow Texas’ petition demanding county district attorneys pledge not to prosecute people for providing abortions, or because of a pregnancy outcome.
For lawyers: National Advocates for Pregnant Women is hosting a CLE webinar on pregnancy criminalization and the law on July 20th.
From your wallet: Donate to support abortion funds; this link distributes your donation to 90+ funds around the country.
From your wallet: Donate to support independent abortion providers.
Anywhere: Buy one of @PrisonCulture’s shirts supporting the West Alabama Women’s Center.
Anywhere: Request a copy of Rosie’s Zine to learn more about Rosie Jimenez, the Texan, college student, and single mom who died in 1977 after having an unsafe abortion when she wasn’t able to afford clinical care thanks to bans on abortion coverage. The zine supports efforts to expand insurance coverage for abortion care.
Texas: Join the Texas Abortion Hype Squad
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.
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