NEWS: Midterms Bring Major Constitutional Wins for Abortion Rights

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Repro Health Watch

Midterms Bring Major Constitutional Wins for Abortion Rights

Axios, November 10, 2022

The first major election of the post-Roe era yielded new protections for abortion rights, as voters in three states approved measures to add constitutional protections guaranteeing access to the procedure…California, Michigan and Vermont backed ballot measures that effectively make it impossible for state lawmakers to enact bans. Kentucky voters rejected a proposed amendment that said a constitutional right to an abortion does not exist in the state, the Associated Press reported, delivering a surprise win for abortion rights in the red stronghold…The projected results send a “powerful and positive statement” that the public believes “this health care service should remain legal and accessible,” said Elisabeth Smith, director for state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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Judge Overturns Georgia’s Ban on Abortion Around 6 Weeks

NPR, November 15, 2022

A judge overturned Georgia’s ban on abortion starting around six weeks into a pregnancy, ruling Tuesday that it violated the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent when it was enacted three years ago and was therefore void. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney’s ruling took effect immediately statewide, though the state attorney general’s office said it filed an appeal. The ban had been in effect since July. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which represented doctors and advocacy groups that had asked McBurney to throw out the law, said it expects abortions past six weeks of pregnancy to resume Wednesday at some clinics. Their lawsuit, filed in July, sought to strike down the ban on multiple grounds, including that it violates the Georgia Constitution’s right to privacy and liberty by forcing pregnancy and childbirth on women in the state. McBurney did not rule on that claim. Instead, his decision agreed with a different argument made in the lawsuit — that the ban was invalid because when it was signed into law in 2019, U.S. Supreme Court precedent under Roe. v. Wade and another ruling allowed abortion well past six weeks.

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‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ Are Deceptive, Why Aren’t There More Alternatives?

Rewire News Group, November 15, 2022

Soon after giving birth to her sixth child, Laurie Bertram Roberts suspected she was pregnant again. She needed a test to confirm the pregnancy and couldn’t get in to see a doctor, so she went to a crisis pregnancy center for a free one. Bertram Roberts wasn’t considering abortion—if she was pregnant, she planned to continue the pregnancy, and told the center’s volunteers as much. Still, she was made to watch an anti-abortion propaganda video while waiting for her results and was later shamed for not being married despite disclosing she was trying to leave an abusive relationship, Bertram Roberts said. When the “counselor” finally told her the pregnancy test was positive, Bertram Roberts asked for help getting a crib—exactly the type of item that these centers often claim to provide in their advertisements. What she received instead was an information sheet listing activities she could do to “earn” one, including going to church and watching more videos. Though the primary purpose of a “crisis pregnancy center” (CPC) is to dissuade people from having abortions—often using misinformation and other deceptive tactics—research finds that many people who visit them do know they are religiously affiliated and not real medical facilities. But CPCs are often the only organizations in a community advertising free services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and baby supplies. Many CPC clients aren’t seeking abortions at all—they’re looking for help with a continuing pregnancy.

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Many Hospitals Refuse to Provide Reproductive Care, Even in States Where Abortion Remains Legal

Health Affairs, November 16, 2022

Voter approval of ballot measures protecting abortion rights in three states on Election Day was an important first step toward addressing the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Since that ruling, at least 13 states have implemented restrictions rendering access to abortion almost nonexistent. Still more states have applied extreme limits. People seeking abortion care are being forced to travel to other states, or figure out how to obtain medication abortion through the mail (which may not be their preference). Health providers are struggling to determine what pregnancy emergency care they can provide without violating newly-enacted abortion bans. Too many are unable to overcome these hurdles to get the care they need. This dire situation is made even worse – in all fifty states — by many hospitals’ policies of refusing to provide comprehensive reproductive and pregnancy care. Their refusals to provide patients with requested contraception and sterilizations leave patients at risk of unintended pregnancies in states where abortion is banned or restricted. But even in states where abortion remains legal, and voters have supported abortion rights ballot initiatives or rejected ballot proposals to ban abortion, reproductive care is being restricted in geographic regions dominated by hospitals with refusal policies. As a result of systemic racism, the people disproportionately affected by this situation are Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian American and other people of color, and those with low incomes. In other words, such policies stand in the way of advancing health equity.

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US Catholic Bishops Elect Leaders for Anti-Abortion Fight

The New York Times, November 15, 2022

A week after bruising losses for anti-abortion forces in the midterm elections, America’s Roman Catholic bishops rededicated themselves to ending abortion and elected a slate of new leaders to support that goal during their annual meeting on Tuesday. The job ahead is “perhaps even more massive than we thought,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who has chaired the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “We have to engage in this with mind and heart and soul.” The bishops chose Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, as their new president. Archbishop Lori, the runner-up for the presidency, will serve as vice president. Both men have taken strong positions against abortion and are expected to continue the conservative leanings of the hierarchy on an array of social issues.

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