Hard to Believe It's Only Tuesday: Dud Dems Week
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. If you’re just emerging from a long sabbatical at the center of the earth — first of all, congratulations, that sounds amazing — clinical abortion care is about to banned in 26 of these United States of big freedom and personal liberty. But don’t worry — the Democrats are really going to start taking this abortion stuff seriously come November!
The Top Headlines
“Senate Democrats’ bill to keep abortion legal nationwide falls to GOP-led filibuster.” (NBC News) — The U.S. Senate failed to pass a suite of protections for abortion rights and access on Wednesday, with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, ostensibly a Democrat, joining Republicans to oppose the abortion rights bill.
“Louisiana lawmakers withdraw bill declaring abortion homicide” (Reuters) — Anti-abortion groups in the state said they disagreed on whether imprisoning pregnant people for having abortions was a good idea; a more politically palatable version of the bill, which would jail abortion providers but not pregnant people, was proposed before they scrapped the whole shebang.
“Outside Kavanaugh’s home, a neighbor rallies for abortion rights.” (WaPo) — May this man never know a moment’s peace. Oh, wait — Senate Democrats couldn’t figure out a way to protect abortion access nationwide in the last two weeks/fifty years but they did find time to shield this chucklefuck from, uh, democracy.
“Rep. Henry Cuellar tried to discredit a staffer he fired at 28 weeks pregnant.” (Jezebel) — Cuellar, from Texas, is the last anti-abortion Democrat in the U.S. House. National Dem leadership is backing his campaign — even though there’s a pro-abortion-rights candidate, Jessica Cisneros, running for the seat. In a word:🖕.
“In segment on abortion protests, ABC News features Infowars host on trial for January 6.” (Media Matters) — ABC World News Tonight re-ran an interview from a local Austin affiliate that treated an Infowars host/domestic terrorist (he’s being prosecuted for participating in the January 6th insurrection) as if he were just another earnest anti-abortion guy trying to protect the baybees. Let this be your reminder that everybody — journalists included — needs to step it up on our media literacy and hygiene when it comes to abortion. A whole lot of people who’ve never covered the issue before are being told to go out there and get a story, and it’s resulting in a hell of a lot of nonsense.
“Economy, abortion top voters’ concerns heading into midterms: survey" (The Hill) and “The end of Roe will mean more children living in poverty” (Vox) — Strap yourself tf in for this big-ass surprise: abortion and the economy are not separate issues but in fact deeply and powerfully related to each other, because forcing people to stay pregnant has a massive fucking impact on their ability to work and support their families.
“‘I became the abortion lady of Mississippi’: the mother of seven who devoted her life to the pro-choice cause” (The Guardian) I don’t know how else to put it: Laurie Bertram Roberts saves lives.
“Why Roe v. Wade must be defended” (The Lancet)
“The Turnaway Study: What the Research Says About Abortion” (NPR) — The Turnaway Study is a grim and groundbreaking look at what happens to people who are denied abortion care.
“Abortion’s Last Stand in the South: A Post-Roe Future Is Already Happening in Florida” (Reveal)
How about some rays of sunshine? Students all over the U.S. have been staging walk-outs for abortion rights and access: Wichita, KS / Virginia / Kentucky / Wisconsin / Texas / Colorado / Oklahoma / Iowa (middle schoolers!!!!)
Renee Bracey Sherman in TIME: “… Black women are asking for abortion access and there’s no plan to be found. Democrats have failed again and again to protect voting rights during the first two years of the Biden Administration, so the one solution they have to offer is the one that is actively being suppressed, gerrymandered, and rigged. And there’s no plan to fix that either.”
Erika Christensen (you might know her as @RHAVote on Twitter) talks to Jezebel about making news in 2016 for talking about having an abortion at 32 weeks, and her journey as an abortion access advocate — especially for later abortion care — in the years since. What stands out to me about this interview is Christensen’s honesty about the ways she’s grown and adapted her politics + worldviews since her interview went viral all those years ago. It’s okay to not start at 100000% perfect on everything; it’s okay to accept that stuff you said years ago won’t fly now. It’s okay to update and evolve. It’s more than okay — it’s necessary.
Elie Mystal in The Nation: “But every time I or anybody else makes arguments for strong executive action to protect people from Republicans, somebody, often a liberal or Democrat, says that the Hyde Amendment prevents the federal government from funding abortions. Anybody who lived through the Trump administration should know that the law rarely outright ‘prevents’ things, and ‘funding’ is a matter of interpretation, but Twitter is awash in so many Hyde takes you’d think it was the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. I have come to believe that, as Voltaire might say, if the Hyde Amendment did not exist, it would be necessary for Democrats to invent it. There are a lot of people invested in the idea that there are secret codes of law that, when you read them under a black light with a Cap’n Crunch Decoder Ring, say ‘Democrats cannot wield power, ever.’”
Lauren Rankin in DAME: “The Democrats have simultaneously controlled Congress and the White House more than once since the passage of the FACE Act, including from 2008 to 2010, and, most obviously, right now. And yet, they have done nothing to pass even a token acknowledgement, let alone meaningful legislation, to support the right to safe and legal abortion. That’s not to say that every Democrat has been meek on this issue. The full-throated embrace of abortion rights, including ending the Hyde Amendment, that we’ve seen from Democratic congresswomen like Barbara Lee, Cori Bush, and Pramila Jayapal, is the kind of energy that we need. But that’s recent. For much of the 1990s and the 2000s, even while the Republicans enacted a draconian ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure and the Supreme Court, with two Bush appointees, upheld it, Democrats still couldn’t, as a party, embrace this issue.”
Lisa Needham in DAME: “Without the right to privacy, all the dominoes fall. No privacy means no bodily autonomy. That’s about the most terrifying future imaginable for millions of people. It doesn’t just unwind our existing privacy rights. It unwinds the entire concept of privacy as a constitutional protection going forward.”
Alabama OBGYN and abortion provider Dr. Leah Torres tweets about the connections between the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes + maternal mortality + poverty + uninsurance in Alabama: “When I first moved here, I thought doctors in this and neighboring states were bad at medicine. Turns out they’re afraid of being arrested.”
Austin OBGYN Dr. Natalie Crawford tweets a thread on the ripple effects of abortion bans, starting with: “In case you think abortion laws don’t matter: last week a pharmacist declined to fill a prescription for a patient of mine with an ectopic pregnancy citing SB8 restrictions. The same medicine that saved my life in 2013 when I had my own ectopic pregnancy.”
Journalist and repro legal expert Imani Gandy tweets about those Handmaid’s Tale get-ups at abortion rights events: “Once again I am asking white women to read another book. Literally any other book at this point.”
Writer Lauren Rankin (see her take above, plus her new book on clinic escorting is called Bodies on the Line, read it immediately) gave me a good chuckle with this little snapshot from her time doing clinic defense work. I won’t spoil the punchline here.
The Fuck Are We Supposed to Do About It?
Anywhere: Phone bank for Jessica Cisneros, the pro-abortion-rights South Texas Democrat running against Henry Cuellar, the last anti-abortion Democrat in Congress. (See the “top headlines” section above for more on the race.)
Nationwide: national reproductive rights groups are organizing “Bans Off Our Bodies” rallies this Saturday, May 14th. Find one near you.
Anywhere: educate yourself on how to talk about abortion rights thoughtfully and in ways that actually support the work on the ground. Update your language! Evolve! Do the thing!
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: watch this short Instagram live convo about self-managed abortion and the law from If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.
Austin, Texas: Head to Long Play Lounge (East) on Wednesday, 5/18 for a comedy show + music night benefiting Texas abortion funds.
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 — email@example.com, or DM me on Twitter, and I’ll try to add follow-ups as I’m able.