An international advocacy group is concerned about “restrictive” abortion laws in the U.S. — so it took action. Women Helped Women launched a website that provides advice for women using the at-home abortion pill to induce abortions.
The group is based in the Netherlands and helps women obtain abortions early in their pregnancy who have illegally obtained the abortion pill.
Obviously this is very controversial. The group is helping women with illegal activity, but I think it raises an interesting question: does something being illegal mean it isn’t a noble cause? This organization is trying to help women around restrictive laws, does that mean they are doing good work? Or should they be punished?
I think as more and more people start to pay attention to this we will see the impact of what this group is doing and if there will be any repercussions.
Photo from Politico
Dr. Willie Parker is a devout Christian — he also provides abortions in the deep south. In this story he writes about a woman in Mississippi coming to him for an abortion who thought she was nine weeks pregnant. The sonogram revealed she was 13 weeks, there is a 24-hour rule in Mississippi at that time of pregnancy, so she would have to find the thousands of dollars it takes to have an abortion overnight.
She returned three weeks later, 16 weeks and one day pregnant. Dr. Parker had to deny her the abortion. In the personal essay, he talks about how hard this was for him and why he wanted to perform the abortion and help this woman, but if he breaks the law even once, he will never be able to help women in the south who need abortions again.
I liked this piece because it allowed the reader to see a new perspective. By allowing the subject to write it the reader gets to really see what he thinks, not just what he said.
President Donald Trump has stopped all U.S. funds to the United Nations Population Fund. The populations fund is an international humanitarian organization that provides reproductive health care while working to end child marriage and female genital cutting in more than 150 countries.
I found this story interesting because I didn’t know about this organization until I read this story, which is pretty sad because it is doing some good work. Trump pulling U.S. funds means UNFPA will lose $76 million, making it even harder for it to do its work.
Some of this work includes family planning and contraception access. UNFPA does not provide or fund abortions.
This week I decided to do something a little different, instead of a current event in reproductive justice I chose to write about a long form piece related to this issue. Author Margaret Talbot recently wrote a piece for The New Yorker called “Why It’s Become So Hard to Get an Abortion.”
Laws to restrict abortion have been proposed and passed sine Roe v. Wade made it legal in 1973.
In the piece, she talks about current abortion policies, the Trump campaign and the new book “About Abortion” by Carol Sanger. She addresses the evolution of some laws and the stigma surrounding abortion. Overall, I found the piece really informative and interesting to read.
I think it is important for people wanting to know what is going on in the world of reproductive justice to keep updated on pieces like this. It provides important history and ties it to current events.
Texas State Capitol Building
On Monday two different pro-life bills made it through the Texas Senate.
The first, Senate Bill 25, is designed to prevent doctors from encouraging abortions. The bill passed 21-9. Those against the bill said it would encourage doctors to withhold information about potential disabilities in the fetus.
The second, Senate Bill 415, bans “dilation and evacuation” abortions. This bill also passed 21-9. This is the most common type of second trimester procedure. Supporters say this will end barbaric abortions.
These bills are expected in the Texas legislative session, this is a state that has been trying to ban abortion as long as it has been practiced. I think it is harder recently for lawmakers though because of the pushback they are getting from pro-choice groups. While Texas will never stop trying to end abortion, it might see more difficulty.
On March 2 the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden hosted a summit to strengthen the “She Decides” funding initiative. This initiative is designed to help those hurt by President Trump’s “Global Gag Rule.”
The rule strips foreign, governmental organizations from receiving any U.S. health funding if they use funds from any source to provide information about abortions, perform abortions or advocate liberalizing U.S. abortion laws.
The new initiative by the Human Rights Watch would help provide funding to those countries affected by the gage rule.
A federal judge blocked Texas from keeping Planned Parenthood from getting funds from Medicaid. Texas wanted to limit Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funds after a video surfaced which anti-choice activists said violated federal law. In the video, people said it looked as if Planned Parenthood was performing unsafe abortion services.
Texas is the sixth state to try and enforce punishment on Planned Parenthood for the video — which proved to be fake. Attorney General Ken Paxton said Texas plans to appeal the ruling.
On Saturday morning at an assisted living facility in Katy, Norma McCorvey was confirmed dead at age 69. McCorvey was the “Roe” of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion. She died of a heart ailment. Her death was confirmed by a journalist who is currently working on a book about Roe v. Wade.
Since the case, McCorvey has dealt with some controversy. Leading up to the case, she said the pregnancy was a result of rape. Years later, McCorvey recanted the statement saying she became pregnant through what she thought was love. While this would not have changed the case, she remained a center of controversy.
Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916
Some conservative members of Congress are concerned Planned Parenthood will continue to receive federal funds, despite the language to defund it, or take away all federal funds, earlier in the year. As Republican lawmakers discuss repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood was intended to be part of that process. GOP leaders like Jim Jordan have asked for an immediate vote on a 2015 budget reconciliation bill. That bill rolled back chunks of the ACA and stripped federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill was vetoed by Obama.
The bill rolled back large parts of the Affordable Care Act and stripped all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Since this has not yet happened, GOP lawmakers are concerned it will not happen at all.
President Donald Trump
This week a copy of a potential executive order of President Donald Trump revealed he could decrease abortion access further with religious views. The draft of the order “people and companies can refuse service to LGBTQ individuals and deny employees access to contraception and abortion if doing so conflicts with their religious convictions.”
This is similar to the Hobby Lobby ruling in 2014 when the Supreme Court said corporations run by employees with religious beliefs have a right to deny people birth control. Now, if this executive order is put in play, people are concerned they won’t be able to access their birth control, contraceptive services or obtain a legal abortion.
This order goes deeper than the Hobby Lobby ruling, because it applies to any person or company who would like to claim religious exemptions, not just corporations.
I find this interesting because there seems to be a lot of similarities between this potential order and the Hobby Lobby ruling. A lot of people had issues with the Hobby Lobby case and I think there will be just as many with this one.