NEWS: How women at one Arizona clinic are grappling with abortion ruling

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Repro Health Watch

How Women at One Arizona Clinic Are Grappling With the Abortion Ruling

The New York Times, April 14, 2024

Leah found out she was five weeks pregnant on the same day that the Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 law banning nearly all abortions in the state. The law is not expected to take effect until June, but Leah, 29, worried that the state’s abortion clinics might be overwhelmed by an influx of patients or shut down abruptly. And she could not afford to take time off from her job installing bathroom showers to travel to another state for the procedure. So on Saturday morning, she threaded past a handful of protesters waving signs that read “You Shall Not Murder” and checked in at the Acacia Women’s Center in Phoenix. “I might have taken a couple more weeks” to consider her options, she said. “But I kind of felt like my hands were tied.” The court’s ruling last week reinstated a Civil War-era law that outlaws abortion from the moment of conception, which could have far-reaching consequences for women and has the potential to reshape the 2024 election. Inside the lobby of Acacia, the ruling felt deeply personal to Leah and other women, a decision that made them reluctant players in a series of national battles over contraception, in vitro fertilization and women’s health. The ruling set off outrage and political maneuvering. The state’s Democratic lawmakers scrambled, but failed, to repeal the law, and lawyers on both sides are preparing for more battles over whether to implement it. As the patients at Acacia scrolled through their phones and texted friends while waiting for their names to be called this weekend, they said the judges and politicians who supported banning abortion did not understand their lives, or why they had decided to get abortions.

Read more

Up Next for Supreme Court on Abortion: Idaho

The Harvard Gazette, April 15, 2024

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 21 states have enacted laws that strictly limit abortion. Next week, justices will hear arguments over the first and among the most restrictive of those new laws. Idaho’s statute calls for a near-complete ban on abortion and prohibits anyone from performing or assisting one except when the pregnancy is ectopic or molar; a result of rape or incest; or a risk to the life of the mother. The U.S. Department of Justice argues those restrictions conflict with a 1986 federal law requiring hospitals that participate in Medicare to provide stabilizing treatment to emergency room patients regardless of their ability to pay. Both the federal District Court and U.S. Court of Appeals in Idaho sided with the federal government and had blocked the state ban from going into effect. The Supreme Court lifted the injunction in January when it agreed to hear the case. Several other abortion cases are moving through federal and state courts. Notably, Arizona’s top court upheld a Civil War-era law last week criminalizing abortion in all circumstances except to save a pregnant woman’s life. The Gazette spoke with I. Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at HLS, about the legal landscape after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe and what a decision for Idaho might mean for other states.

Read more

With Florida and Arizona Bans Looming, Money’s Getting Tight for Abortion Travel Funders

The 19th, April 15, 2024

With Florida set to enforce a six-week abortion ban as early as May 1 and a near-total prohibition taking effect soon after in Arizona, staffers at abortion funds say they won’t be able to meet the increased demand for help funding out-of-state travel – a development that could lead to more people continuing unintended pregnancies. “I don’t think people quite understand the ramifications,” said Stephanie Loraine Pineiro, the executive director of Florida Access Network, one of the Sunshine State’s abortion funds. These nonprofit organizations help pregnant people cover the cost of terminating a pregnancy. “We’re thinking about the collateral damage. People’s lives are going to be affected.” One state ban alone would have strained the nation’s fragile abortion fund network. But together, the two laws may be too much to bear. After spiking in June 2022, a temporary result of the Supreme Court’s unpopular decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the federal right to an abortion, donations to these funds have steadily declined. In Florida, representatives for the state’s abortion funds said they were already at their limits. Now, they fear the six-week ban will stretch them further. Last year, more than 80,000 abortions were performed in the state, according to the state health department. In Arizona, about 11,500 abortions took place in 2022, the most recent year for which there is complete data from the state’s health department. Though a smaller figure, staffers at Arizona’s sole abortion fund say they will not be able to support sending that many people across state lines. Where are people going to get resources to pay for these abortions to go out of state?” asked Eloisa Lopez, the executive director of the Abortion Fund of Arizona. “It’s not going to be possible for folks.”

Read more

The Abortion Fight Isn’t a ‘War on Women.’ It’s a War on Poor Women

TIME, April 15, 2024

The onslaught of anti-abortion laws and court decisions has led liberals like California Governor Gavin Newsom to assert that the political right has declared “a war on women.” This concept isn’t new, but it actually distorts the history of anti-abortion legislation. Abortion regulations have never applied equally to all doctors or all women. Understanding this history reveals that today – as in the past – abortion bans affect both women and providers differently depending upon factors like their race, class, and social standing. The people impacted most have changed over time, but one thing has remained consistent: abortion restrictions are less a war on women than a war on poor women. Strict abortion bans are more likely to exist in states where a high number of women of childbearing age have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line. Of the five states with the highest levels of poverty among women of childbearing age – Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and New Mexico – all but New Mexico fall into the Guttmacher Institute’s “most restrictive” abortion law category. Poverty strengthens the effects of abortion bans, since poor women can’t afford to miss work, book travel, arrange childcare, and pay out of pocket for procedures if they do not have health insurance. Abortion bans also exacerbate poverty. A University of California San Francisco study found that women denied an abortion saw an increase in poverty for at least four years and were more likely to see drops in their credit scores. These impacts don’t hurt poor women in isolation: abortion bans also put their children, their husbands, and their wider communities at a disadvantage by making the cycle of poverty harder to escape.

Read more

Can Postpartum Medicaid Coverage Solve the Black Maternal Health Crisis?

Columbia News, April 17, 2024

Today marks the last day of Black Maternal Health week, a time to raise awareness about the deplorably high rate of maternal mortality among Black women in the United States. A key policy response has been to extend Pregnancy Medicaid (the type of Medicaid you may only be eligible for when pregnant) from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. Currently 46 states have implemented such legislation, making it one of the single biggest actionable items society has done to address the maternal mortality crisis. Such national consensus is a major accomplishment and should be applauded. While Medicaid extensions are a critical step in the right direction, our research suggests that alone it will do little to solve the Black maternal health crisis in many states. States where Medicaid extension postpartum is unlikely to have a large impact are those which already have relatively generous Medicaid policies – but even many of these states have appalling outcomes when it comes to Black mothers. Take New York, for example, where a recently released maternal mortality review reported that non-Hispanic Black women had a pregnancy-related mortality rate five times that of non-Hispanic White women, and non-Hispanic Black women comprised 42% of pregnancy-related deaths but only 14% of live births. It’s now been nearly a year since New York policymakers passed legislation to prevent postpartum maternal deaths by extending pregnancy Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. New York’s law grants this coverage regardless of immigration status (we discuss later why this is crucial).

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.