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NEWS: Abortions Increased the Year After Roe was Overturned

by | Oct 26, 2023 | Repro Health Watch

Abortions Increased the Year After Roe was Overturned

Axios, October 24, 2023

The number of legal abortions in the United States increased in the year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But they decreased sharply in states with total bans or strict limits on the procedure. Why it matters: A string of state bans and restrictions on abortion hasn’t lowered the overall abortion rate, according to a new report from the Society of Family Planning, a group that supports abortion rights. That could soon change because of newly enacted restrictions in states that border others with heavy abortion restrictions. By the numbers: In states where it’s legal after six weeks, there were nearly 117,000 more abortions reported between July 2022 and June 2023 compared to baseline data from April and May 2022, according to the report. Meanwhile, there were about 115,000 fewer procedures in states that ban or restrict abortions after six weeks. The states with the largest increases were Illinois (21,500), Florida (20,460), North Carolina (11,830), California (8,810) and New Mexico (8,640). States with the largest declines include Texas (36,970), Georgia (19,660), Tennessee (13,930), Louisiana (9,110) and Alabama (7,620).

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Georgia’s 6-Week Abortion Ban Stays For Now, State Supreme Court Rules

The Washington Post, October 24, 2023

Georgia’s six-week abortion ban will remain in place after the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the law is valid — a move that leaves abortion largely inaccessible in the South. Tuesday’s ruling reverses a lower court decision from 2022 that struck down the law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional when the state legislature passed it in 2019. At the time, Roe v. Wade, which barred states from prohibiting abortion before viability, was still the law of the land. Doctors, abortion providers and other advocacy groups argued that the law was not only unenforceable because it was “void ab initio” — void from the start — but that it violates due process, equal protection and other rights inherent in Georgia’s Constitution. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument about the law’s timing. He determined in his 2022 decision that key parts of it “were plainly unconstitutional when drafted, voted upon, and enacted.” The majority in Georgia’s Supreme Court, however, disagreed.

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New House Speaker Mike Johnson Thinks Abortion Access Costs the Economy ‘Able-Bodied Workers.’ Here’s Why He’s Wrong

Fast Company, October 25, 2023

On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected Speaker of the House following a contentious race to replace former speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted by a faction of House Republicans earlier this month. Until now, Johnson might have been best known as one of the key people behind the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. But Johnson has also been one of the most vocal proponents of a federal abortion ban and has supported abortion restrictions—including cosponsoring a 20-week abortion ban—without exceptions. Johnson has gone so far as to say that without the federal right to abortion, there would be more workers contributing to the economy—and, in turn, funding public benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare. In a clip circulating from a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Johnson said that “Roe v. Wade gave constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America.” He went on to discuss the supposed implications of not having “all those able-bodied workers in the economy.” What Johnson fails to consider is that the people who are denied abortions and forced to have children are workers, too. And as many abortion advocates have long argued, the data on this is clear: Access to abortion care actually empowers more people—mainly women—to remain in the workforce.

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Medical Exceptions to Abortion Bans Often Exclude Mental Health Conditions

The 19th, October 24, 2023

More than a dozen states now have near-total abortion bans following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with limited medical exceptions meant to protect the patient’s health or life. But among those states, only Alabama explicitly includes “serious mental illness” as an allowable exception. Meanwhile, 10 states with near-total abortion bans (Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming) explicitly exclude mental health conditions as legal exceptions, according to an analysis from KFF, a health policy research organization. Abortion rights advocates and mental health experts say those laws could put lives at risk. A report released last year by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzing maternal deaths between 2017 and 2019 found that that pregnant and postpartum people were more likely to die from mental health-related issues, including suicides and overdoses from substance use disorders, than any other cause. Mental health conditions in total accounted for 23 percent of pregnancy-related deaths with an identified cause.

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Planned Parenthood Must Face Trial Over Texas Medicaid Fraud Claims

Reuters, October 24, 2023

Planned Parenthood must face a trial in a $1.8 billion lawsuit by Texas accusing the organization of defrauding the Republican-led state’s Medicaid health insurance program, a federal judge ruled on Monday. At issue is billing by Planned Parenthood after Texas announced its decision to terminate the organization as a provider under its Medicaid insurance programs for low-income people. Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and a variety of other healthcare services, and Texas both had asked U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, in Amarillo, to rule in their respective favor rather than having the case go to trial. But Kacsmaryk declined to do so, and scheduled a trial to begin next April. In an order that is now sealed but was briefly posted on the public court docket, the judge ruled against Planned Parenthood on a key legal issue, finding that it was obligated to return some funds to Texas and to Louisiana, which is not taking part in the case. However, he did not rule on exactly how much it must return, or whether Planned Parenthood knowingly broke the law.

Whether Planned Parenthood is found to have knowingly committed fraud will be key to the outcome. The lawsuit accuses the organization of overbilling by about $17 million, but the legal penalties for fraud are potentially many times that. Planned Parenthood general counsel Susan Manning in a statement called the case “baseless.”

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