RePro Roe-D-O; 31Aug2023

August 31, 2023

Longhorn uterus morph

Voters continue to push for abortion rights, but red state supreme courts and legislatures push back. The GOP candidates say the quiet part out loud – national abortion ban – coming to a state near you! Grab the reigns for another roundup of reproductive rights in the hell-scape that has become post-Roe ‘Merica.

Ohio GOP Have Set Back to Their Abortion Restriction Scheme

Good news out of Ohio as the voters continue to stand up for abortion rights.

Earlier this year, Democrats were successful in putting a November ballot measure to protect abortion rights in the state constitution. Ohioans favor abortion by ~57% in a recent poll, so it is likely to pass.

In response, Republicans scheduled a special election in August to increase the threshold to amend the state constitution to 60%. 

Well, that didn’t go too well, since Ohio voters rejected the measure earlier this month!

This now sets up a November election to protect abortion rights in the state constitution.

It’s a good thing Issue 1 lost! The final result (57-43) is remarkably close to the abortion rights approval poll for the likely measure this November.  So, if a 57-43 vote happens this November, then abortion protections will be codified into law into the state constitution.  Thanks to the rejection of the Issue 1 measure, and the rejection of the GOP’s sneaky scheme..

State Supreme Courts in S. Carolina & Indiana uphold abortion bans

State Supreme Courts in Red states aren’t doing us any favors..

South Carolina’s newly all-male Supreme Court reversed course on abortion

In the mother of all flip flops, the Court reversed a previous decision from just January against the ban. You see, back in January there was a woman on the court, Justice Kaye Hearn, but she reached mandatory retirement.

A male justice replaced her, and the new court moved quickly.

They quickly moved to reverse their previous position and allow the abortion ban to become law.

The latest ban takes effect immediately! 

Now abortion is illegal in the state except in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

However, there may be a loophole and some hope for residents of the state.. When they upheld the abortion ban, they also repealed their criminal statute on self-managed abortion. So now self-managed abortion is legal again in South Carolina! for now.. 

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds State Abortion Ban 

Indiana’s near-total abortion ban is now in effect. The state Supreme Court denied the ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood a rehearing of their case.

They stated that the plaintiffs “cannot show a reasonable likelihood of success” with their challenge to halt abortion restrictions.

The ruling certifies their June 30 decision that the abortion ban does not violate the state’s constitution.

This decision comes over a year after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the law in 2022.

Now the state attorneys and abortion rights activists are regrouping for further challenges and lobbying of the state assembly members. We’ll never give up!

Mifepristone Restrictions Approved by Appeals Court

A federal appeals court mostly upheld the previous ruling curtailing access to mifepristone in the United States.

Agreeing with Judge Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, TX, the court said the Food and Drug Administration had overstepped its authority.

Specifically, they objected to prescriptions being filled by mail.

This is a huge blow for people in restrictive states who have limited reproductive options at healthcare facilities.

Mifepristone prescription tablet box and sample tablet.

No Changes to Mifepristone Access for Now

The Supreme Court issued a stay in April on Kacsmaryk’s decision while the case played out in lower courts. This short-term “stay” maintained the status quo from before the lawsuit was filed and is still in effect. It will not lift until the expected appeal to the Supreme Court is resolved.

So, there’s still time to stockpile the drug since we know SCOTUS won’t protect us.. Phew for now..

Texas Abortion Ban Lawsuit – Plaintiffs Win!

The Texas judge ruled for the plaintiffs in the Zurawski lawsuit! The decision stated that SB-8, the state’s abortion ban is too restrictive for women with serious pregnancy complications. The law must allow for exceptions without doctors fearing the threat of criminal charges. 

The ruling delivers a major victory to abortion rights supporters, and people in Texas especially.

The case could also be used as an example to weaken restrictions in other red states.

However, the injunction was immediately blocked by an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

Spokesperson Paige Willey said in an email “The trial court’s injunction is ineffective, and the status quo remains in effect”. So, there’s still a lot of confusion in Texas over reproductive healthcare in life-threatening situations.

GOP Candidates Want National Abortion Ban

At the debate they said the quiet part out loud, and we learned they won’t stop with Dobbs. 

A majority of Americans support legal abortion in most cases. In every state where the issue has been on the ballot since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, voters have elected to protect abortion rights and/or repeal bans and restrictions. 

“Leave it to the states”, they said. State-led government has long been the rallying cry of the GOP. But now we know the truth!

In the Republican presidential debate several of the candidates ran to the right on the issue.

They cater to the party’s anti-choice zealots who want a national ban.

Gone are the days when we were complacent and didn’t think this could happen. We know better now. These wanna-be fascists will not stop until they control every uterus in the land. They want us all to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, and don’t ever forget it!

Idaho Judge Rules in Favor of Travelers

Abortion seekers can travel out of state to get reproductive healthcare.  This news seems more appropriate for “The Onion” (i.e. satire): people can now leave the state of Idaho.

A federal judge has rejected the state attorney general’s interpretation of Idaho’s abortion ban.

The judge ruled that it would violate medical providers’ free speech rights to sanction them for referring patients out-of-state.

Idaho’s law makes it illegal to perform an abortion, a crime punishable by two to five years in prison.

It also makes it unlawful for medical professionals to assist in the provision of abortion. Professionals who violate the law could have their medical license suspended or revoked.

Fortunately this federal judge realizes the oppressive nature of this law and has stricken it down. People are now free to leave Idaho again for any reason!

Montana voters overruled by Governor

In November, 2022, Montanans voted to reject an abortion ban that would criminalize providing the procedure in the state. But then the GOP Governor Greg Gianforte signed a very similar law, thwarting the will of the people. 

With this, Montana became the only state to pass a law that conflicts with the voters’ will.

Abortion providers risk incarceration up to 20 years under the “new” law.

How did this happen? While 53% of Montana voters rejected the so-called “born-alive” measure, they also expanded big GOP majorities in the state legislature.

The new law is different than the ballot initiative in two respects. First, it reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, the criminal penalties against providers. It also adds a provision where if the newborn is likely to die soon, the parents can deny life-saving measures.

These “differences” are so minor compared to the initiative rejected last November. It will be interesting to see if the same voters reject the lawmakers in a future election.

Illinois Crisis Pregnancy Center Law Blocked by Federal Judge

Gov. Pritzker signed the bill outlawing deception by so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’. The new law made it illegal for pregnancy resource centers to engage in misinformation about abortion.

After a lengthy hearing, Judge Iain Johnston said the law violated the First Amendment.

Thus, the new law is on hold after a federal judge granted an injunction to anti-abortion advocates.

So-called ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ are facilities that lure in naive pregnant people to tell them lies about abortion and pregnancy.

They are typically run by religious organizations and use coercive tactics to try to persuade people to keep their pregnancy.

CPCs drastically outnumber actual abortion clinics in the US, so they are a big problem.

It could come down to the issue of free speech. All eyes on Illinois in this case, as if they can successfully stop CPCs from misleading people, it could set an example for other states.

Keep up the fight!

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