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NEWS: What it means for trans mutual aid groups and abortion funds to work together
What It Means for Trans Mutual Aid Groups and Abortion Funds to Work Together
Rewire News Group, September 25, 2023
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 15 states have banned abortion outright (others restrict abortion after six weeks, before most people know that they’re pregnant). Meanwhile, 49 states have proposed close to 600 anti-trans laws this year alone. The growing tide of anti-trans and anti-abortion laws are inextricably linked, as abortion and trans health care have mobilized the religious right and regulated low-income communities of color. So what’s being done to fight these attacks on bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom? There’s the legal fight, where organizations like the ACLU are suing to overturn and block discriminatory legislation, and the political one, where lawmakers in blue states advocate for greater protections. But as people lose access to health care, they can’t wait for lengthy court battles to determine their fates. That’s why mutual aid groups exist—to redistribute wealth and meet people’s immediate needs by organizing within our own communities. We are both leaders of local abortion funds that help pay for abortions and other medical services. We want to share what the abortion funding landscape looks like, what activists are doing to promote health-care access, and reflect on how our organizations can work more effectively at the intersection of reproductive justice and trans health justice. The abortion funding landscape. After the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned the constitutional right to abortion, the National Network of Abortion Funds (including almost 100 member funds) raised more than $8 million. For context, in fiscal year 2020, member groups received over 80,000 requests for assistance and supported over 40,000 callers. The number of requests (and people traveling for high cost abortions) has only increased. Because most state Medicaid programs do not cover abortion, some funds have higher call volumes and experience more financial precarity than others.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Law to Protect Doctors Who Mail Abortion Pills to Other States
Associated Press, September 27, 2023
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law on Wednesday that aims to stop other states from prosecuting doctors and pharmacists who mail abortion pills to patients in places where the procedure is banned. California already has a law protecting doctors who provide abortions from out-of-state judgements. But that law was designed to protect doctors who treat patients from other states who travel to California. The new law goes further by forbidding authorities from cooperating with out-of-state investigations into doctors who mail abortion pills to patients in other states. It also bans bounty hunters or bail agents from apprehending doctors, pharmacists and patients in California and transporting them to another state to stand trial for providing an abortion. Other states, including New York and Massachusetts, have similar laws. But California’s law also bars state-based social media companies — like Facebook — from complying with out-of-state subpoenas, warrants or other requests for records to discover the identity of patients seeking abortion pills. “Health care providers, physically located in California, will be able to offer a lifeline to people in states that have cut off access to essential care, and be shielded from the draconian laws of those states,” state Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat and author of the bill, said in a statement. The law only protects doctors and pharmacists who reside in California. If a doctor or pharmacist leaves California to provide care to a patient in another state, the law would not protect them. “We will continue to protect women and health care workers who are seeking and providing basic care,” Newsom said in a news release announcing he had signed the law. The California Catholic Conference opposed the law, arguing the state is “engaging in ideological colonization against states and citizens that do not want abortion.”
Abortion Pill Measure Likely Dooms GOP Spending Bill
Axios, September 27, 2023
House Republicans appear to be well short of the votes they need to pass a spending bill for the USDA and FDA due to language that would restrict access to abortion pills. Why it matters: The bill’s failure would further complicate the already difficult path to keeping the government open, with a shutdown by Sept. 30 growing increasingly likely. It’s also the latest sign of GOP divisions on how to handle abortion in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The details: The bill would reverse current FDA regulations that allow the widely used abortion pill mifepristone to be dispensed by mail and at retail pharmacies requiring the pill, so that it could only available in-person. The Ag-FDA bill was previously pulled from the House floor immediately before the August recess due to GOP moderates’ opposition to the abortion pill rider, as well as House Freedom Caucus members wanting more policy concessions. But House Republicans, desperate to pass more appropriations bills before Saturday, included it in a package of four bills that are set to be voted on this week. Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) said the GOP’s goal is simply to have “continued progress, forward motion,” and that “we knew that some of these bills wouldn’t necessarily have the support… to move.” There had been discussions about introducing an amendment to strip out the provision, but that didn’t materialize and the bill will be voted on with the language included. “Leadership knew that this was going to a problem, and yet here we are,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) told Axios, saying that the provision “will be the reason why the bill doesn’t pass.”
The Abortion Myths Republicans Are Recycling to Reframe a Losing Issue
The Guardian, September 27, 2023
The post-Roe v. Wade battle over abortion rights may just torpedo Republicans’ shot at the White House next year, and they know it. Anti-abortion activists lost every abortion-related voter referendum last year, while ire over the fall of Roe has been credited with boosting Democrats in the 2022 midterms. Now, Republicans in the presidential primary are scrambling to figure out how to talk about and legislate abortion. But they’re regurgitating some common anti-abortion myths to make their case. ‘Late-term abortions’: At the last Republican debate, the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley suggested that the United States should ban “late-term abortions”, as a compromise between people who support abortion rights and those who do not. But while Republicans like to throw around the phrase, it’s not exactly clear what they mean – in medicine, “late-term” refers to pregnancies that last beyond 40 weeks, not abortions that occur later on in pregnancy. “‘Late-term abortion’ isn’t a thing,” said Katherine Kraschel, an assistant professor of law and health at Northeastern University. “It’s a term created by people who oppose abortion to spread disinformation and shame people who have abortion. It has no basis in medicine or science.” Moreover, less than 1% of all US abortions are performed at or past 21 weeks of pregnancy, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data. While there isn’t great data on why people seek abortions later on in pregnancy, many of those cases may involve individuals whose pregnancies have been diagnosed with devastating fetal abnormalities – many of which can only be detected past the first trimester. Women may also get abortions later on in pregnancy because it was too difficult to get one earlier. People who work at abortion funds have told the Guardian that, since Roe fell, they have seen an increase in people getting abortions in their second trimester of pregnancy.
Nearly Half of Women With Disabilities Report Experiencing Sexual Harassment or Assault at Work, Poll Finds
The 19th, September 20, 2023
Almost half of women with disabilities have experienced sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, according to a new 19th News/SurveyMonkey poll that is one of the first to explore the issue. The number, 48 percent, compares to 32 percent of women without disabilities who reported experiencing sexual assault or harassment at work. While there is a growing body of research and reporting on the sexual violence faced by people with disabilities, little of it has delved into the workplace. Monika Mitra, director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, said some describe sexual violence against people with disabilities “as a silent epidemic.” Mitra has done research on sexual violence against people with disabilities, but not in the workplace. To her knowledge, no one has. “We know that disabled people, men and women, are significantly more vulnerable to different forms of abuse,” Mitra said. She also noted that there has not been research on the experiences of nonbinary disabled people’s experience of abuse; SurveyMonkey did not reach enough nonbinary people with disabilities to break out in this poll. However, the poll did find elevated rates of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace for disabled men: 23 percent of disabled men reported experiencing sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace, compared with 11 percent of non-disabled men. SurveyMonkey conducted this poll online from August 24 to 31 among a national sample of 20,191 adults, with a modeled error estimate of plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. There were some limitations. Specifically, because the poll was online only, it may not have reached people with intellectual disabilities, who may have limited literacy or struggle with technology. There are no industry-wide standards or best practices around polling on disability, according to Laura Wronski, director of research at SurveyMonkey, The 19th’s polling partner.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
On #WorldContraceptionDay, we’re calling on @POTUS and Congress to take concrete steps to require insurance plans to cover contraceptives whether they’re prescribed or available over the counter! We need equitable access now. Join us ➡️https://t.co/WwfV2UXBXz #FreeThePill— National Partnership (@NPWF) September 26, 2023
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.