Abortion was once common practice in America. A small group of doctors changed that

January 19, 2023
Rund Abdelfatah
6-Minute Listen with Transcript

The 50th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision is Jan. 22. NPR's podcast Throughline examines the debate about abortion, which wasn't always controversial.

This week, it'll mark 50 years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutionally protected right - at least for 49 years. In U.S. history, though, abortion wasn't always controversial. In fact, in colonial America, it was considered a fairly common practice, a private decision made by women and aided mostly by midwives. But in the mid-1800s, a small group of physicians set out to change that. Led by a zealous young doctor named Horatio Storer, they launched a campaign to make abortion illegal in every state. Here are hosts Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah from our history podcast Throughline.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/2023/01/19/1149924325/abortion-was-once-common-practice-in-america-a-small-group-of-doctors-changed-th

Reversing abortion drug’s approval would harm public interest, U.S. FDA says

By Brendan Pierson
Jan 17, 2023

(Reuters) - President Joe Biden's administration is urging a judge to reject a request by abortion opponents for a court order withdrawing federal approval for the drug used in medication abortions - which account for more than half of U.S. abortions - citing potential dangers to women seeking to end their pregnancies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's filing to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, made available online on Tuesday, came in a lawsuit in Texas by anti-abortion groups challenging the agency's approval of the drug mifepristone in 2000 for medication abortion.

Continued: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/reversing-abortion-drugs-approval-would-harm-public-interest-us-fda-says-2023-01-17/

USA – Biden’s efforts to protect abortion access hit roadblocks

The Biden administration is actively searching for ways to safeguard abortion access for millions of women

By AMANDA SEITZ and COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press
December 6, 2022

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration is still actively searching for ways to safeguard abortion access for millions of women, even as it bumps up against a complex web of strict new state laws enacted in the months after the Supreme Court stripped the constitutional right.

Looking to seize on momentum following a midterm election where voters widely rebuked tougher abortion restrictions, there’s a renewed push at the White House to find ways to help women in states that have virtually outlawed or limited the treatment, and to keep the issue top of mind for voters.

Continued: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/bidens-efforts-protect-abortion-access-hit-roadblocks-94545376

USA – Doctors who would like to defy abortion laws say it’s too risky

November 22, 2022
Selena Simmons-Duffin

Doctors in states with abortion bans can face prison time and lose their licenses if they violate the laws. Some are calling on doctors to openly defy the bans.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: It's been five months since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and now 13 states have laws banning abortion with limited exceptions for medical emergencies. Doctors who violate these laws could face felony charges, prison time and the loss of their medical license. Surveys, news reports and court affidavits show the fear of these laws has caused some doctors to delay or deny abortions, including in emergencies. Some doctors are asking themselves a tough question - when they are forced to choose between their ethical obligations to patients and the law, should they defy the law? NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin reports.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/2022/11/22/1138558392/doctors-who-would-like-to-defy-abortion-laws-say-its-too-risky

USA – Doctors Should Break the Law to Offer Abortions Sometimes, Says New Guidance From Medical Leaders

“Attempting to comply with reckless government interference…is dangerous to the health of our patients,” argues the American Medical Association.

Abigail Weinberg
Nov 20, 2022

The people who write laws banning abortion are usually not doctors. As a result, medical providers in states that have restricted abortion access after the fall of Roe v. Wade have been left in the dark about when the termination of a pregnancy is legally permitted. One particular point of confusion: How close must a woman be to dying to qualify for an abortion exemption to “save the life of the mother”?

In new guidance, the American Medical Association tried to clear things up, advising that medical providers should act in the interest of their patients’ well-being—even if it means violating the law.

Continued: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/11/abortion-rights-american-medical-association-guidance-

USA – Abortion bans are barring people from life-saving pregnancy care, medical groups warn

In a report shared first with The 19th, major medical organizations uniformly told lawmakers that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will also worsen racial inequality and create barriers to critical medical treatment.

Shefali Luthra, Health Reporter
November 1, 2022

Major medical groups say that the loss of federal abortion protections has diminished access to pregnancy care such as treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. The groups are sounding the alarm that racial gaps in pregnancy-related deaths will be exacerbated, according to a new Senate report first shared with The 19th.

The analysis comes on the heels of preliminary data suggesting that in the first two months since the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — a case that eliminated federal abortion rights and opened the door for states to ban abortions entirely — abortions fell by about 6 percent, or about 10,000 abortions, across the country.

Continued: https://19thnews.org/2022/11/abortion-bans-restrict-critical-pregnancy-care-senate-report/

When It Comes To Abortion Rights, Canada Can’t Save You

As long as Americans are fighting, again, for their right to choose, they should fight for better than what we have in Canada. Trust me.

Oct. 27, 2022

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that Americans are welcome to use the Canadian health care system, and the abortions it provides, I scoffed.

Offering the Canadian health care system to American abortion seekers is a nice sentiment from someone whose country decriminalized abortion in 1988, but the reality is that much of Canadian health care is currently in shambles. As a Canadian woman who has covered the issue, and experienced it personally, I know that abortion care in this country is uneven at best.

Continued: https://www.romper.com/life/midwives-abortion-roe-canada-america

USA – Patients face barriers to routine care as doctors warn of ripple effects from broad abortion bans

Medical groups say the new laws are delaying patient access to a range of treatments.


seeking drugs to treat everything from arthritis to acne at Walgreens and CVS
pharmacies in the dozen-plus states with near-total abortion bans must show
extra documentation to prove that they’re not using the drugs to end a
pregnancy, the companies confirmed to POLITICO. Those who can’t are, in some
cases, being turned away.

The chronic illness advocacy group Global Healthy Living Foundation said its
members in Tennessee, Texas and other states with abortion restrictions have
been refused prescriptions for methotrexate — a drug for patients with lupus
and other illnesses that also can be used to induce an abortion in the case of
an ectopic pregnancy — and they’re lobbying those states’ governors and local
officials to intervene.

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/28/abortion-bans-medication-pharmacy-prescriptions-00059228

USA – Medical Impact of Roe Reversal Goes Well Beyond Abortion Clinics, Doctors Say

State abortion bans carry narrow but sometimes vague exceptions, and years of prison time. That’s forcing doctors to think like lawyers, and hospitals to create new protocols.

By Kate Zernike
Sept. 10, 2022

In Wisconsin, a group of doctors and lawyers is trying to come up with guidelines on how to comply with a newly revived 173-year-old law that prohibits abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman. They face the daunting task of defining all the emergencies and conditions that might result in a pregnant woman’s death, and the fact that doctors could be punished with six years in prison if a prosecutor disagrees that abortion was necessary.

A similar task force at an Arizona hospital recommends having a lawyer on call to help doctors determine whether a woman’s condition threatens her life enough to justify an abortion. Already, the hospital has added questions to its electronic medical forms so they can be used to argue that patients who had abortions would have died without them.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/10/us/abortion-bans-medical-care-women.html

USA – White coats in the state capital: OB-GYNs become political force in abortion wars

As lawmakers debate how much to restrict access to abortion, doctors are becoming increasingly vocal.


Red state lawmakers rushing to pass new abortion restrictions are being stymied
by an unexpected political force — OB-GYNs.

These physicians — many of whom have never before mobilized politically — are
banding together in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade,
lobbying state lawmakers, testifying before committees, forming PACs, and
launching online campaigns against proposed abortion restrictions. Legislators
who are themselves physicians are using their medical backgrounds to persuade
colleagues to scale back some of the more restrictive and punitive portions of
anti-abortion laws being considered.

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/22/doctors-abortion-state-capitals-00052946