NEWS: Domestic Violence Calls about ‘Reproductive Coercion’ Doubled After the Overturn of Roe

by | Oct 19, 2023 | Repro Health Watch

Domestic Violence Calls about ‘Reproductive Coercion’ Doubled After the Overturn of Roe

The 19th, October 18, 2023

Reports of abuse involving reproductive coercion – actions that prevent someone from making crucial decisions about their body and reproductive health – nearly doubled in the yearlong period after Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to new data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH). “If you cannot make these decisions, it could mean unfortunately that you have to stay in an abusive situation longer than you want to,” Marium Durrani, the vice president of public policy at the NDVH, told The 19th. “It could impact your escape, it could mean that potentially you’re forced to have a child with someone you don’t want to have a child with.” Durrani explained that reproductive coercion can take the form of any situation in which one partner is exerting power over another in a way that impacts their reproductive health: forcing someone to engage in sexual activity, refusing to use contraception, restricting a partner from seeing a health care provider, telling a partner they are not allowed to receive abortion care.“A lot more people are now citing some sort of reproductive issue as part of their experience [with domestic abuse],” Durrani said. “Dobbs is having a huge impact on not only all individuals around the country, but survivors in particular.”

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Abortion Dominates Response to EEOC’s Pregnant Worker Proposal

Bloomberg Law, October 16, 2023

The EEOC’s proposal to include abortion as a medical condition related to pregnancy that’s protected under the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is the driving force behind the vast majority of the more than 100,000 comments submitted in response. As of noon on Oct. 13, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission posted roughly 98,500 of these comments, which were due Oct. 11. More than 96,100 mentioned abortion, according to a Bloomberg Law review of the comments posted on The EEOC already had sparked debate over its August proposed rule, which takes a broad view of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” The proposed regulation defines the term to encompass current, past, and potential pregnancy; lactation; use of birth control; menstruation; miscarriages; and abortion.

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As Mexico Expands Abortion Access, Activists Support Reproductive Rights at US Border

ABC News, October 13, 2023

It’s Sunday night and Crystal P. Lira is not answering her messages. Inside the headquarters of Colectiva Bloodys y Projects, an organization that has supported reproductive rights near the U.S.-Mexico border since 2016, her only concern is for the woman she has provided with a safe space to get an abortion. Lira, who lives in Tijuana, in northern Mexico, is one among dozens of Mexican “acompañantes” – volunteers who support women wanting to terminate a pregnancy. Located all over the country, most acompañantes offer virtual guidance through an abortion protocol in which no clinics or prescriptions are needed. Developed by activists after decades of facing abortion bans and restrictions in most of Mexico’s 32 states, the protocol encourages women to trust self-managed medication abortions following guidelines established by the World Health Organization. “Accompaniment means that we facilitate information, medications and everything a woman needs to get a safe abortion at home,” Lira said. “But we also provide emotional support and support to fight stigma, religious and cultural barriers.” Mexico’s Supreme Court recently ruled that national laws prohibiting abortions are unconstitutional and violate women’s rights. The ruling, which extended Latin American’s trend of widening abortion access, happened a year after the court’s U.S. counterpart went in the opposite direction.

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Justice Dept. Focuses on Violence by Protesters at Abortion Clinics

Washington Post, October 15, 2023

In August 2020, a group of antiabortion protesters sat in front of the doors to an abortion clinic in Sterling Heights, Mich., singing Christian hymns and refusing police orders to move. They were arrested for trespassing, a misdemeanor. Then, in February, the Justice Department announced a federal indictment in the case that could send some of the protesters to prison for up to 11 years. They were charged under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a 1994 law that Attorney General Merrick Garland has called a key tool in the Biden administration’s efforts to protect reproductive rights in the face of tightening legal restrictions for women seeking abortions. Some conservative groups, Republican lawmakers and defense attorneys have rebuked Garland, accusing the department of going too far in aggressively pursuing members of antiabortion groups who have not necessarily been dangerous. They say authorities are ignoring similar threats and vandalism at Catholic churches and reproductive health centers that counsel women against abortion. But federal authorities and abortion rights groups said harassment, stalking and intimidation at abortion clinics have escalated since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case in June 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade – the court’s 1973 decision recognizing the federal right to an abortion. That behavior, they argue, has made the Justice Department’s push for federal charges that come with harsh prison penalties more urgent.

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Abortion Coverage is Limited or Unavailable at a Quarter of Large Employers, KFF Survey Finds

KFF Health News, October 18, 2023

About a quarter of large U.S. employers heavily restrict coverage of legal abortions or don’t cover them at all under health plans for their workers, according to the latest employer health benefits survey by KFF. The findings demonstrate another realm, beyond state laws, in which access to abortion care varies widely across America since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. More than ever, where someone works and the constraints of their health insurance can determine whether an abortion is possible. Workers without coverage are left to pay out-of-pocket for abortion care and related costs. In 2021, the median costs for people paying out-of-pocket in the first trimester were $568 for a medication abortion and $625 for an abortion procedure, according to a report from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California-San Francisco. By the second trimester, the cost increased to $775 for abortion procedures. KFF’s 2023 annual survey found that 10% of large employers – defined as those with at least 200 workers – don’t cover legal abortion care under their largest job-based health plan. An additional 18% said legal abortions are covered only in limited circumstances, such as when a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or endangers a person’s life or health.

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