The Abortion Bans
Fault Lines examines early abortion bans passed in the US, how women are resisting, and whether the laws will stand.
(25 minute video)
13 Nov 2019
In 2019, nine US states passed laws effectively banning abortion in the earliest stages of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.
Fault Lines travelled to Alabama and Georgia, two states that passed the most extreme bans, to meet architects of the bills and legislators, clinics and patients on the front lines, and reproductive justice advocates fighting the bans in court.
Abortion After the Clinic
As Republican lawmakers try to legislate it out of existence, the future of reproductive healthcare may be at home.
By Irin Carmon
Nov 11, 2019
When Leana Wen introduced herself to America as the new president of Planned Parenthood last fall, she had a story she liked to tell — one that showed exactly why abortion access mattered. It was a sad tale of “a young woman lying on a stretcher, pulseless and unresponsive, because of a home abortion.” Wen, an emergency physician who had been plucked from Baltimore’s Health Department to take over the century-old institution, said the young woman had arrived at her ER in “a pool of blood” because “she didn’t have access to health care, so she had her cousin attempt an abortion on her at home. We did everything we could to resuscitate her, but she died.”
Wen was talking about a time when abortion was technically legal, yet the story rhymed with the pre-Roe era, when doctors and lawyers spoke of being radicalized by women filling their wards with blood and desperation, the same nightmare the familiar pro-choice rhetoric warns will soon be upon us. Behind the scenes, however, a vanguard of the abortion-rights movement implored Wen, directly and through intermediaries, to stop talking about “home abortion” in such dire terms.
How Abortion Pills Will Shape Our Future
The Supreme Court may make it harder to get to an abortion clinic, but thanks to drugs, coat hangers can remain a thing of the past.
By Katha Pollitt
Oct 10, 2019
The news that the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case since Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy has prompted many to wonder whether Roe v. Wade will finally, unfortunately, be overturned. The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, challenges a Louisiana law requiring clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Sound familiar? In 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the court struck down a Texas law over a similar requirement. You’d think that would have settled the matter, but no. The case is essentially the same, but the court is not.
Bans on public coverage for abortion are unjustified by science and outright harmful
By Katie Woodruff, opinion contributor
With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to take up its first abortion case since Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and consider a Louisiana law designed to shut down abortion clinics in the state, it’s important to remember that low-income people in Louisiana and across the country already struggle to afford legal abortion care.
Last year, the Federal Reserve noted that almost half of U.S. households did not have $400 cash on hand to cover an unexpected emergency. When I heard that news, I thought of women who discover they are pregnant when they do not want to be. On top of the challenge of sorting through their options and deciding what to do in this situation, those who choose abortion often have to scramble and stress to gather cash to pay for their procedure.
Planned Parenthood Plans to Spend a Huge Amount of Money to Defeat Anti-Abortion Candidates in 2020
They want to mobilize communities who have the most to lose.
Oct 9, 2019
As abortion rights continue to be under attack by the Trump administration and in states across the country, Planned Parenthood announced a new campaign on Wednesday focused on the 2020 elections. In their most ambitious electoral push ever, the organization plans to spend $45 million backing 2020 candidates in local, state and national elections. This is $4 million more than nation’s largest anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List pledged to spend in the 2020 cycle back in June and $15 million more than it deployed during the 2016 elections.
How U.S. abortion rights could take a hit as the Supreme Court term begins
By Lawrence Hurley, Reuters
September 26, 2019
WASHINGTON — With new abortion cases on a fast track to the U.S. Supreme Court, the nine justices will get an opportunity within weeks to take up legal fights over Republican-backed laws that could lead to rulings curbing a woman’s ability to obtain the procedure.
The big question is not so much whether the court, with its 5-4 conservative majority that includes two justices appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, will take up an appeal that could permit new restrictions on abortion rights, but when it will do so, according to legal experts.
Margaret Atwood Thinks Roe v. Wade Will Be Overturned—and There Will Be the 'Most Horrific Backlash'
By Chantal Da Silva
As states across America continue to usher in new laws imposing restrictions on abortion, Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale has become increasingly relevant in its depiction of a totalitarian regime that sees women's bodies as properties of the state.
And now, as Atwood releases The Testaments, her much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, the Canadian author has also offered a premonition for the future of abortion laws in the U.S.
Why anti-abortion groups are backing away from abortion bans
Debate around a Tennessee bill shows a big shift in anti-abortion strategy.
By Anna North
Aug 22, 2019
When legislators in Tennessee debated a bill earlier this month that would ban abortion as soon as a pregnancy can be detected, opposition came from a surprising place: anti-abortion groups.
Though the groups National Right to Life and Tennessee Right to Life oppose abortion, they also oppose the Tennessee ban, because they believe it would never stand up in court. If such a ban were to make it to the Supreme Court, the groups worry it would fail: “There is no objective evidence that we have more than one vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said James Bopp, general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization,” in testimony against the bill.
Domestic political alliances with conservative forces in the US is costing women their health at home and abroad
August 19, 2019
The Trump administration’s ideological commitment to the domestic anti-abortion lobby is endangering women across the Americas, say Hani Serag et al
The history of the “Global Gag Rule” is one of tragic irony and misguided energy from conservative foreign policy elements within the United States. The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, restricts the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing countries that receive USAID family planning from engaging in abortion-related activities, including advocacy, regardless of the funding source for these activities. It is even more ironic that abortion rates increase where the Global Gag Rule disrupts family planning services.  Inability to access safe abortions does little to prevent women from seeking unsafe abortions which harm the wellbeing of women.  Although this is well-documented, one of the first things that Donald Trump did when he became President was to sign an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule. In March 2019, the Trump administration expanded the rule. Previously it only applied to family planning assistance ($575 million in FY2016) but the expanded law includes all “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies”— an estimated $9.5 billion or 16-fold increase in restricted funding.  A recent report shows the impact of this rule and the detrimental effect that it is having on women and girls.
Abortion Rights in Peril — What Clinicians Need to Know
Elizabeth Nash, M.P.P.
August 8, 2019
N Engl J Med 2019; 381:497-499
This year, 2019, has become a critical time for abortion rights, with an unprecedented surge of abortion bans sweeping across the United States. Through June 1, some 26 abortion bans have been enacted in 12 states, and many more have been introduced by state legislators.
Yet state efforts to undermine abortion rights and access have been under way since the 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. During that time, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the right to abortion while also modifying the legal framework that shapes access to care.