NEWS: Americans don’t trust politicians on abortion and gender-affirming care, poll finds

| Sep 21, 2023

Americans Don’t Trust Politicians on Abortion and Gender-Affirming Care, Poll Finds

The 19th, September 18, 2023

The vast majority of Americans — 7 in 10 — think that politicians are not informed enough about abortion and gender-affirming care to create fair policies, new polling by The 19th and SurveyMonkey found. Partisan battles over both issues are expected in races up and down ballots in 2024. Republicans at all levels of government are pushing to restrict access to abortion and gender-affirming care, and the polling indicates that these efforts likely appeal only to the party’s most fervent base voters. GOP White House contenders are already talking abortion and gender identity as they tussle over the nomination, and as the battles to control Congress, statehouses and governors’ mansions take shape, Republican candidates’ early rhetoric about restricting access to abortion and gender-affirming care could become a liability in the general elections. When asked whether “politicians are informed enough about abortion to create fair policies,” a sizable majority of voters from both parties said they strongly or somewhat disagreed. Seventy-six percent of Democrats disagreed, followed by 68 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independents. This majority held across men, women and nonbinary Americans, as well as across races and ethnicities.When asked the same question about gender-affirming health care for minors, 77 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independents strongly or somewhat disagreed that politicians have enough information to create fair policy. This majority was also consistent across genders, ethnicities and races. In the year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal right to abortion access, Republican politicians at the state level have pressed to restrict abortion. In the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, candidates are staking out their positions on the point in pregnancy at which abortion should be mostly or entirely banned. Republicans in Congress are already strategizing about how to curb the electoral losses they suffered in the 2022 midterms related to abortion restrictions even as other members of their party double down. Republican elected officials at the state level have also been busy introducing and enacting laws to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

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No, It’s Not True That People in Abortion Ban States Have ‘No Options’

Ms. Magazine, September 18, 2023

People are getting abortions. A new Guttmacher report suggests there were thousands more abortions in the states where abortion remained legal in the first half of 2023, than there were nationwide during a comparable period in 2020. This makes stories like the TIME profile of a 13-year-old rape survivor who was not able to obtain an abortion even more heartbreaking. The teen—whom TIME referred to as Ashley (a pseudonym)—was failed by broken systems at several points. Her experience shows the stark reality of how people with money and privilege get access to the healthcare they need while those without means—especially young people and people of color—do not. Ashley lives in Mississippi, where abortion has been banned since last summer after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Ashley and her mother asked a doctor at the local hospital “if there was any way to terminate [her] pregnancy.” The doctor said the closest abortion provider was in Chicago, which would have been a nine-hour trip. Ashley’s mother knew she couldn’t come up with the funds to cover the procedure and gas, food and a place to stay in Illinois. So, as the story explains, “Ashley did what girls with no other options do: She did nothing.” And she was forced to continue the pregnancy. While it’s true that Ashley had no options with the information she and her mother were given—there were options available to them. The reality is that there are abortion providers closer to Ashley’s home than in Chicago, including in Carbondale and southwestern Illinois that are a shorter drive from Ashley’s home in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Resources like the National Abortion Hotline and other abortion funds could have helped Ashley and her mother understand their options, plan their travel and even cover the costs of gas, food and a place to stay during the trip. In this case, the National Abortion Hotline very likely could have covered Ashley and her mother’s travel expenses to make the trip. But Ashley’s doctor isn’t to blame for the incorrect and insufficient information given to Ashley and her mother—anti-abortion lawmakers and extremists are.

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Abortion Rights Group Sees Mission Beyond ‘Pro-Choice,’ So It Has a New Name

The New York Times, September 20, 2023

NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the country’s largest advocacy groups for abortion rights, announced on Wednesday that it had changed its name, a switch that illustrates the issue’s shifting politics after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights. For decades, abortion rights activists cast their mission as a fight over health care and women’s rights. NARAL’s new name — Reproductive Freedom for All — is intended to align the group’s goals with a different argument: In the post-Roe era, the battle for abortion access is a fight for fundamental freedoms. For abortion rights supporters, the term “pro-choice” — once widely used by Democrats — feels particularly dated in a country where abortion laws are now determined by individual states and jurisdictions, leaders of the group said. Pro-choice” does not resonate with the moderate, younger and male voters who have become more engaged since the Supreme Court ended the nationwide right to abortion last year, said Mini Timmaraju, NARAL’s president. The group’s old name also failed, she said, to reflect the work of Black and Hispanic women long on the front lines of the fight for abortion access. “NARAL is incredibly resonant for the political world, but we’re not necessarily in the business anymore of just winning political opinion within elected officials and policymakers,” Ms. Timmaraju said. “We are now in a much bigger fight for the heart and soul of the American people and those are folks who are brand-new to the abortion debate.” Along with the new name, the group plans to increase its focus on state organizing and to adopt a broader approach, joining causes like eliminating the Senate filibuster, supporting voting rights and expanding the Supreme Court. Supporters and opponents of abortion rights have both started to reposition themselves as the contours of the political battle rapidly change. Some Republicans have urged their party to move away from the term “pro-life,” arguing that the label has become politically damaging for their candidates. Others have leaned in: A few weeks before the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, Susan B. Anthony List, the anti-abortion advocacy group, changed its name to Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

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Trump Is the Reason Women Can’t Get Abortions

The Atlantic, September 20, 2023

Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion striking down Roe v. Wade triggered the emergence of an invasive system of surveillance and control targeting women as a class. In Nebraska, a mother and daughter pleaded guilty to charges related to the daughter having an abortion after their Facebook messages about acquiring abortion pills were handed over to authorities. In Texas—where the law grants those who snitch on acquaintances, friends, or loved ones who end a pregnancy financial remuneration—legislators want to outlaw searching for information about the procedure on the internet, and make traveling to get an abortion illegal. Aiming to extend their command over people’s lives into states that Republicans do not control, conservative judges have revived archaic federal laws seeking to ban the delivery of abortion medication all over the country. Every day, the conservative legal movement seeks to discover new ways to extend state domination over people’s private lives in order to prevent women from deciding for themselves whether to have a child. Alito, despite drawing a road map for repealing the 20th century, is not the man primarily responsible for these laws or the other attempts to impose right-wing morality on Americans who do not share conservative principles or premises. The person most responsible for what might be the greatest assault on individual freedom since the mid-20th century is Donald Trump, who appointed fully one-third of the justices on the Supreme Court, hard-core right-wing ideologues who overturned Roe just as he promised they would.

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Indiana AG Accused of Misconduct in Abortion Case

The Hill, September 18, 2023

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) on Monday, alleging his public statements following news of an OB-GYN providing abortion services to a 10-year-old Ohio girl amounted to misconduct. Indiana doctor Caitlin Bernard made national news last year in sharing her story of providing abortion services to a 10-year-old girl who was raped and then denied service in Ohio. Rokita in November alleged Bernard had failed to file the necessary reports required in Indiana and that she violated patient privacy rules. Rokita’s office opened an investigation into Bernard based on several complaints it had received. None of the complaints was filed by patients of Bernard. The disciplinary complaint against Rokita cited an interview on Fox News that he gave soon after opening an investigation into Bernard in which he discussed the case, calling Bernard an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.” The complaint cited rules of conduct for Indiana attorneys which state that a lawyer who is participating in an investigation may not make extrajudicial statements which they know will be “disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjunctive proceeding.” It also pointed to Indiana state law that restricts a person “in the employ of the office of attorney general” from disclosing information about the complaint unless it is required by law, in the interest of advancing the investigation or disclosed to a relevant law enforcement agency. Rokita later filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board against Bernard. Bernard was later found to have violated patient privacy laws, receiving a reprimand and a fine. The complaint accused Rokita of three counts of violating rules of conduct. The commission has requested the attorney general be disciplined “as warranted for professional misconduct” and that he be ordered to pay relevant court fees. In a Monday statement, Rokita pushed back on the allegations, arguing that confidentiality was not warranted when it came to his office’s investigation of Bernard and that his public statements on the matter were a reflection of his commitment to fulfilling the official duties of his office.

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Note: The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.