NEWS: Abortion bans affect Latinas the most

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Repro Health Watch

Abortion Bans Affect Latinas the Most Among Women of Color, New Report Finds

NBC News, November 1, 2022

Latinas are the largest group of women of color affected by current and future state abortion bans and restrictions: More than 4 in 10 Latinas of reproductive age live in the nearly two dozen states where officials are working to make abortion inaccessible. A new analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, first shared with NBC News, found that close to 6.5 million Latinas (42% of all Latinas ages 15-49) live in 26 states that have banned or are likely to ban abortions after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade this summer. “This community is really facing the brunt of the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” a co-author of the analysis, Candace Gibson, the director of government relations at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, said in an interview. Both groups support abortion access. Three-quarters of the Latinas who live in states with abortion bans or restrictions are concentrated in Texas, Florida and Arizona. Texas, where abortions are banned, is home to 2.9 million Latinas of reproductive age. Florida and Arizona, where abortions are restricted, are home to 1.4 million and 587,600 Latinas of reproductive age, respectively. Roe’s repeal opened the door for 13 states, most of them in the South and the Midwest, to implement abortion bans. Six states have restricted or are looking to restrict access to abortions, and pending bans could go into effect in seven states later in the year. “Anyone who is capable of getting pregnant at some point may need abortion care,” said another co-author of the analysis, Shaina Goodman, the director for reproductive health and rights at the National Partnership for Women & Families. Nearly 3.1 million Latinas affected by current and future abortion bans in the 26 states are already mothers. About 28% of them have children under age 3. The analysis found that nearly 3 million Latinas in the 26 states where efforts are underway to make abortion inaccessible were “economically insecure” or living in families below 200% of the federal poverty line. “The breakdown of the data is really about telling a story about who is harmed. It’s moms, it’s moms with young kids, it’s people who are struggling to make ends meet,” Goodman said. Research shows that mothers who are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies and their children are four times more likely to live below the federal poverty line, according to The Turnaway Study, a University of California San Francisco research project that examined women who had abortions compared with those who were denied them over a 10-year period.

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The 19th Explains: Abortion Initiatives on the Ballot in 2022

The 19th, November 2, 2022

Voters in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont are weighing in on abortion ballot measures — a total that, when combined with this summer’s vote in Kansas, sets a record for the most abortion initiatives in a single election year. After a decided victory for abortion rights in Kansas this summer, these midterms preview more measures that could come in the next few years, as state lawmakers navigate what limits — or protections — they can place on abortion, and what must be put to voters. The surge in abortion measures comes after the Supreme Court ruled this summer to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating federal abortion protections and letting states decide the procedure’s legality. Almost all of them are asking voters to weigh in on state constitutions, which have taken on heightened significance since Roe was overturned: Every challenge to an abortion ban — including several that have temporarily blocked restrictions on the procedure — has been based on arguments over what is protected in individual state constitutions…“People were recognizing the importance of state constitutions,” said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state policy at the Guttmacher Institute, a leading abortion policy research organization. “People were seeing the writing on the wall with the Supreme Court and wanted to either protect or deny rights in their state constitutions.” Abortion initiatives are likely to remain a major election issue in the coming years. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are proposing a constitutional amendment next year that would clarify the state does not protect abortion rights. Iowa lawmakers are eyeing a similar vote in 2024. Meanwhile, reproductive rights organizations are trying to bring abortion rights constitutional amendments to 2024 elections in Oklahoma and South Dakota. Abortion is illegal in both states. California is poised to pass an amendment that would enshrine the right to “reproductive freedom,” which includes abortion and contraception protections…Michigan’s amendment is arguably among the most consequential among all five of the ballot initiatives, Nash said…In Kentucky, voters will be tasked with a similar measure to the one shot down in Kansas, a proposed constitutional amendment that would specify the state’s constitution does not protect the right to an abortion…In Montana, where abortion rights are protected by a 1999 state Supreme Court ruling, voters will weigh in on a different, more confusing type of measure: a law requiring medical care be given to “infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method.”…Vermont’s constitutional amendment would enshrine the right to “reproductive autonomy.”

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Travel Time to Abortion Facilities Grew Significantly After Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade

CNN, November 1, 2022

The average travel time to an abortion facility increased significantly for women in the United States after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked the federal right to an abortion, according to a new study published Tuesday in JAMA. More than a dozen states enacted complete or partial bans on abortion after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, and researchers considered abortion facilities in those states to be inactive – cutting the number of active facilities by a tenth. This drop in active facilities means a third of women of reproductive age in the US live more than an hour from the closest abortion facility – more than double the share before the bans were enacted. And the average travel time to get an abortion more than tripled, from less than half an hour to more than an hour and a half. “No one should have to travel outside their community to get the health care services that they need,” said Rachel Hardeman, a researcher and professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health who focuses on reproductive health equity but who was not directly involved in the research. “Certainly the complexity that comes with having to travel even an hour away from your home to get health care is a significant burden.” For women in Texas and Louisiana, average travel times to the nearest abortion facility were seven hours longer, adding nearly a full workday in travel time to get an abortion. “When the Dobbs decision came down, I think many people thought ‘Oh, they can just go to another state to get an abortion.’ I don’t think people on the coasts really understand the vast distances involved and the barriers that people have in their daily lives to travel to make these very long trips,” said Ushma Upadhyay, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Barriers like extra time off of work, arranging for child care, costs of travel and for the procedure could be “insurmountable,” she said. “It means that abortion care will be impossible for many people.” Overall, the Supreme Court decision adds the most significant barriers to access for Black, Hispanic and American Indian women. With more inactive facilities, an additional 1 in 4 Black women and 1 in 5 Hispanic and American Indian women has to travel more than an hour to an active abortion facility. Uninsured women and those with lower incomes also continue to have low access to abortion facilities, according to the study.

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The New Abortion Landscape: Women in States With Abortion Bans Are Turning to Telemedicine

The New York Times, November 2, 2022

Just two years ago, about 250,000 people had abortions in the U.S. states where the procedure is now banned or severely restricted, or probably soon will be. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, allowing those prohibitions to take effect, where have women in these states turned? They’re increasingly using telemedicine to get abortion pills. Because of access to the pills, a gray zone for providing abortions has emerged in the months since the court’s decision. The method is safe and effective, though in states with bans, the delivery mechanism is not legal. Only one telemedicine service, Aid Access, openly provides pills in states with abortion bans. In the months preceding a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s decision, Aid Access received an average of about 83 requests a day from people seeking abortion pills in 30 states, new research found. In 27 of those states, abortion is now banned, likely to be banned or allowed only during the first six weeks of pregnancy. For comparison’s sake, the study also included three states where the procedure is still widely available. Across the 30 states, requests to Aid Access for pills has risen to about 218 a day since the court released its decision at the end of June through September. The largest increases in queries came from states that enacted total abortion bans, as this chart shows…This shift accompanies another one in how people get abortions. In states that have banned or restricted access, clinic-based procedures fell in July and August, according to other new research. As a result, women are carrying pregnancies they didn’t plan or want. The increase in women seeking pills, however, mostly offset the drop, The Times reported. (Most, though not all, requests for pills to Aid Access end up being filled.) Clinics in states like Colorado, Illinois and New York have also seen more patients as women travel out of state for abortions. But the shift to telemedicine makes sense for practical reasons. First, having an abortion with pills at home, which has the physical effects of miscarrying, is as safe and effective in the first trimester as going to a clinic. Second, a quarter of women of childbearing age in the United States live — or will soon live — at least 200 miles from an abortion clinic. That distance is likely to pose an insurmountable obstacle for a significant number of people, especially those with low incomes. The telemedicine option is far cheaper than traveling. Aid Access asks patients for $105 to $150 and will accept less or nothing from people who can’t afford to pay.

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Hardline Abortion Laws Are Growing More Unpopular — Even on the Right

The Washington Post, October 27, 2022

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer has changed the abortion debate in many ways. Mostly, Republicans have struggled to account for their hard-line positions now that they have the ability to enact them, and have retreated from those stances. And perhaps the epitome of that dynamic is the sudden decline of the no-exceptions abortion opponent. The Public Religion Research Institute came out Thursday with its regular American Values Survey, which is an extensive, frequent review of where Americans stand on a host of issues. It thus allows us a more complete window into how various issues change over time. The findings on abortion are particularly striking. Last decade, the number of Americans overall who said abortion should be illegal in all cases topped out at nearly 2 in every 10 Americans. But today, it’s down to just 8 percent. Among Republicans, that number has dropped from as high as one-quarter all the way down to 11 percent today. And if you look at the chart, you’ll see when the sharp decline began: in June of this year. That survey was conducted immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That 11 percent of Republicans who say abortion should be illegal in all cases is now the same as the percentage of Republicans who say abortion should be legal in all cases: 11 percent. The findings come even as many red states have instituted abortion bans — many of them passed as “trigger laws” for the day when Roe was overturned — that do not have rape and incest exceptions. Nine states have abortion bans in effect with no exceptions for rape and incest. The poll question did not specifically ask about rape and incest exceptions. It’s likely some who oppose a total ban want only an exception for the life of the mother, or the health of the mother. For instance, a poll this month from NBC News showed 24 percent of Republicans opposed rape and incest exceptions, and only 14 percent oppose exceptions for when the mother’s health is seriously endangered. But polling has repeatedly shown the vast majority of Republicans support those exceptions, too — even as the party’s legislators have declined to include them in their abortion bans. And the decline on the no-exceptions contingent in the GOP demonstrates how buyer’s remorse could be creeping in for GOP legislators who passed more extreme trigger laws back when this issue was still in the realm of the hypothetical.

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