NEWS: How abortion bans are undercutting efforts to prevent domestic violence

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Repro Health Watch

How Abortion Bans Are Undercutting Efforts to Prevent Domestic Violence

The 19th, November 13, 2023

As more abortion bans have gone into effect across the country, it has become far more difficult to perform a standard element of gynecological care: screening patients for domestic abuse. Research shows that OB-GYNs are often the first or only doctors to learn if a patient is facing intimate partner violence. While women of all ages experience intimate partner violence, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age, the people most likely to see an OB-GYN. Meanwhile, abortion bans have contributed to reproductive health care providers leaving states, retiring early or declining to practice where the procedure is restricted. There is little data on the trend, but doctors and experts agree that as a result, people experiencing domestic violence are less likely to be appropriately screened – let alone connected to resources or support. The impact is particularly visible in Idaho. Reproductive health specialists were already in short supply in the state before Roe v. Wade fell. And the majority of maternal-fetal medicine physicians – doctors who specialize in complex pregnancies – have left the state over the past year, explicitly linking their departure to the state’s punitive abortion law, which treats provision of abortion as a felony, only allows the procedure if it is necessary to save a patient’s life, and still requires physicians to defend themselves in court for providing such care. So the number of providers who are screening for intimate partner violence is dwindling. And those who remain in the state will be forced to take on larger patient loads, leaving less time for such complex conversations, some physicians fear. “We’re creating conditions in this state where it’s going to be more and more difficult for someone to come forward for help,” said Kelly Miller of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. As Miller explained, the ban has created additional stress on parts of the state that already face barriers to abortion care because of the way they are surrounded by other states with limited access and restrictive laws.

Read more

Where the Republican Presidential Candidates Stand on Abortion

NPR, November 16, 2023

Perhaps no issue is thornier for the 2024 Republican presidential primary candidates than abortion. Republicans widely cheered the 2022 Supreme Court decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, that overturned Roe v. Wade. But since then, they have found that going too far on abortion restrictions can be a political liability. The Dobbs decision and subsequent state-level laws restricting abortion access galvanized voters who support abortion rights. Every state ballot measure on abortion rights since Dobbs has come out in favor of abortion rights, even in red states like Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio. On top of that, the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights has been blamed for Republican underperformance in the 2022 midterms, and November’s elections in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio. As a result, Republican presidential candidates are attempting a balancing act: how to appeal to a party base that, to varying degrees, opposes abortion rights, without alienating moderates, independents and general election voters who favor fewer restrictions. The result has been many broad statements about “protecting life,” without a whole lot of specifics about exactly what restrictions candidates favor. For example, former President Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, has dodged the question of whether he supports a federal abortion ban, not to mention what kind of gestational limits he supports. Meanwhile, Democrats see protecting abortion rights not only as a moral imperative but as a way to drive voters to the polls in 2024. Abortion rights advocates are working to put measures protecting access to the procedure onto ballots in 2024 in several swing states, in the hopes of energizing voters. President Biden has never been a passionate crusader for abortion rights. But since Dobbs, he has been more willing to campaign on the issue. The question is how much it continues to drive voters in 2024, and to what degree other issues – concerns about the economy, Biden and Trump’s age, foreign conflicts – take over the conversation.

Read more

House Republicans Grapple With Abortion Messaging and Policies After Election Losses

The Hill, November 13, 2023

House Republicans are digesting the glaring warning signs from Tuesday’s elections that saw key wins for Democrats who capitalized on abortion messaging – and battling internally over abortion-related policy riders on funding bills before the next election cycle gets into full swing. Democratic wins in the Kentucky gubernatorial race, Virginia legislative races, and an Ohio constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights came as Democrats campaigned heavily on abortion. “The American people are telling us very clearly, they don’t want Washington, D.C., meddling in their abortion rights. That’s clear. And we’re trying to make sure we can deliver on that,” said Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.), who represents a district President Biden won in 2020. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) said he is “very much so” worried about what the Tuesday results mean for 2024. Democrats need to flip a net of five seats to win control of the House. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who has a very socially conservative policy background and is against abortion, said on “Fox News Sunday” on Nov. 5 that social issues like abortion “are not issues that are on the front of the agenda.” There is no indication that Republicans could bring up a federal abortion ban measure in this Congress – breaking with the trend of Republicans passing 20-week abortion ban measures three times in the past when they held the House majority. But the risk that comes with abortion is nonetheless affecting House Republicans as they battle over internal strategy on how to address the issue. House GOP leadership punted a scheduled floor vote on a funding bill Thursday due in part to objections from swing-district Republicans like Duarte over language that would bar Washington from enforcing a law prohibiting employer discrimination based on reproductive health choices. And earlier this year, Republicans scuttled a different funding bill in part over moderates’ opposition to a provision that aimed to nullify a Biden administration rule allowing mifepristone, an abortion pill, to be sold in retail pharmacies and by mail with prescriptions from a certified health care provider.

Read more

Florida’s Legal Showdown Over Viability Could Threaten Future Abortion Advocacy

Rewire News Group, November 14, 2023

Every single time that abortion has appeared on a ballot since the overturn of Roe v. Wade last year, voters have decided in favor of abortion rights. Thanks to this winning record, advocates have embraced ballot measures as one of the most direct paths to protecting or restoring abortion rights. In Florida, a coalition known as Floridians Protecting Freedom, consisting of the ACLU of Florida, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition, and other groups, hopes to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024. The amendment would have to capture 60 percent of the vote – a high bar – to succeed and become part of the state constitution. Last month, the proposed amendment reached the threshold of 400,000 signatures required to get a state supreme court review of the language. But Republican Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is attempting to block it and has asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in, arguing that the amendment is too vague. Specifically, Moody has taken issue with the amendment’s reliance on the concept of fetal viability. Some patient advocates and medical providers tell Rewire News Group they worry that the resulting attempt to save the Florida ballot measure could come at the expense of abortion rights advocacy for decades to come. The Florida amendment essentially seeks to restore Roe within the state. So what’s the problem? It comes down to what many see as a fatal flaw that doomed abortion rights from the moment the 1973 Roe decision was handed down: the slippery subject of viability. The text of the proposed amendment reads, “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s health-care provider.” This hearkens back to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which held that states couldn’t interfere with abortion care in the first trimester of pregnancy, but could impose some health-based restrictions in the second trimester, and could ban abortion after the point of fetal viability, with exceptions in place for the life and health of the pregnant person.

Read more

Emboldened By Success in Other Red States, Effort Launched to Protect Abortion Rights in Nebraska

AP News, November 15, 2023

An effort to enshrine abortion rights in the Nebraska Constitution is being launched, following on the heels of successful efforts in other red states where Republicans had enacted or sought abortion restrictions. Protect Our Rights, the coalition behind the effort, submitted proposed petition language to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office late last month. That language was kept under wraps until Wednesday, when the state’s top elections office released it. Organizers plan to hold a news conference Thursday to kick off the effort, in which they will need to collect around 125,000 valid signatures by next summer to get the measure on the ballot in 2024. “We’re confident in this effort, and we’re energized,” said Ashlei Spivey, founder and executive director of I Be Black Girl, an Omaha-based reproductive rights group that makes up part of the coalition. Other members include Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Women’s Fund. The proposed amendment would declare a fundamental right to abortion until fetal viability, or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient. Under the petition language, the patient’s health care practitioner would determine fetal viability. The group relied, in part, on polling it says shows a majority of Nebraskans favoring abortion access, Spivey said. That’s proving consistent in other states where voters have backed abortion rights – including in Ohio, where voters last week resoundingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to protect abortion access. “Ohio was definitely a proof point for us,” Spivey said. “Ohio shows that voters are going to protect their rights.” Now, advocates in at least a dozen states are looking to take abortion questions to voters in 2024. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had protected abortion rights nationally, voters in all seven states that held a statewide vote have backed access. That includes neighboring conservative Kansas, where voters resoundingly rejected last year a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright.

Read more

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It



We respect your privacy. Read our policy.

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.