Punishable by death—how the US anti-abortion movement ended up proposing the death penalty

These proposals are unlikely to succeed but remind Americans what is at stake, writes Rebecca Kluchin

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p711
Published 24 March 2023
Rebecca Kluchin, professor

In January 2023, 24 Republican legislators in the US state of South Carolina sponsored the South Carolina Equal Protection Act of 2023, a bill designed to extend constitutional rights to embryos and fetuses at all stages of development, granting them equality with women already born.1 The bill makes women and pregnant people who undergo abortion subject to the state’s homicide laws and punishments, including the death penalty. It allows exceptions if they face “imminent death or great bodily injury,” as well as to save the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.

The anti-abortion movement celebrated a huge victory last summer when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. With the ruling for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court threw abortion policy back to the judgment of individual states, making access to abortion care contingent on where one lives. Since then, 14 states have criminalised abortion.2 South Carolina legislators attempted to ban the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, but the state supreme court ruled that effort unconstitutional in January. The Equal Protection Act is one of several legislative efforts to ban the procedure again.

Continued: https://www.bmj.com/content/380/bmj.p711

The Abortion Pill’s Secret Money Men

The untold story of the private equity investors behind Mifeprex—and their escalating legal battle to cash in post-Dobbs.

Mother Jones, MARCH+APRIL 2023 ISSUE

In 1993, a group of activists rented a warehouse in suburban Westchester County, New York. It was smaller than they’d hoped and had limited ventilation, but the two other locations they’d tried to rent belonged to universities and required jumping through too many bureaucratic hoops—the exact sort of paper trail this group was trying to avoid.

Led by renowned pro-choice activist Lawrence Lader, their goal was to replicate RU-486, the revolutionary abortion pill developed in the 1980s by French manufacturer Roussel-­Uclaf—which was unwilling to navigate American abortion politics to bring the pill stateside.

Continued: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/01/abortion-pill-mifepristone-mifeprex-roe-dobbs-private-equity/

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

Today in History: Arrest of Dr Willy Peers for performing 200 abortions

Sunday, 15 January 2023

On this day, in 1973, Doctor Willy Peers was arrested and prosecuted for performing over 200 abortions in Namur. The ensuing public outrage marked the beginning of a historic societal shift in favour of abortion in the country.

In 1973, Belgium was one of the last countries in Europe where voluntary interruption of pregnancy was still prohibited by law, due to the influence of the Catholic Church.

Continued: https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/352913/today-in-history-arrest-of-dr-willy-peers-for-performing-200-abortions

How abortion was decriminalised in Australia

The Context | ABC News
Dec 31, 2022 
Video:  3:50 minutes

Did you know that up until late 1960s, abortion was banned unless pregnancy posed a risk to life? John Barron explores the history of the decriminalisation of abortion in Australia.

Continued: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDeRQHRD_lg

For most of history, we haven’t had abortion laws, and we don’t need them now

Let's leave abortion out of the legal system entirely, writes contributor Ainsley Hawthorn

Ainsley Hawthorn · for CBC News
Dec 28, 2022

According to a new study from Angus Reid, three out of five Canadians believe Canada needs a law to guarantee access to abortion.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world without any abortion law on the books. Instead, abortion is treated like other medical procedures and regulated by provincial and territorial health authorities.

Continued: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-history-abortion-1.6694080

‘More American than football’: Retired history professor recounts abortion fight

The Canadian Press
Published Dec. 3, 2022

Betsy Jameson found a yellow piece of paper in 2017 when she cleaned out her office after retiring from the history department at the University of Calgary.

The paper, faded and slightly stained, had the names and phone numbers of three doctors in New York and New Jersey. It was from the summer of 1967 when she was a 20-year-old student training to be a hall adviser at a college residence in Ohio. The names were doctors who would perform abortions at a time when it was illegal in most states.

Continued: https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/more-american-than-football-retired-history-professor-recounts-abortion-fight-1.6179920

California governor pardons abortion activist from 1940s

Gov. Gavin Newsom has posthumously pardoned an abortion activist from the 1930s and 1940s
By DON THOMPSON Associated Press
November 4, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday posthumously pardoned an abortion activist from the 1930s and 1940s, acting days before Californians finish voting on whether to enshrine increased protections in the state Constitution in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Laura Miner was convicted in 1949 of abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion. She was sentenced to four years in prison on the twin felonies, and died in 1976.

Continued: https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/california-governor-pardons-abortion-activist-1940s-92686167

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

A Lost Great Yiddish Abortion Play

After sitting in a drawer for a century, a newly unearthed piece of theater is finally having its moment

OCTOBER 13, 2022

Around 2010, Jeffrey Michael Brown was cleaning out the Long Island home of his late father, David, when he came across a school notebook with bands of inky Yiddish script. As he could not read Yiddish, he sought out a translator. He could already assume, however, that the notebook belonged not to either of his parents, but to his grandmother Lena Brown who had arrived in the United States in the late 19th century and had lived in an apartment on President Street in Brooklyn until she died sometime in the 1940s. Jeffrey’s father, David, had brought Lena’s things with him to Hempstead when he moved into his home there in 1951. David had placed the notebook in a desk drawer and there it lay until Jeffrey dusted it off 60 years later. What has turned out to be one of the most powerful Yiddish plays of the 20th century—one of only a small number of Yiddish plays written by women, and one that expresses honest and difficult sentiments about marriage, motherhood, and reproductive rights—sat silently in a drawer for about a century only to have its moment now as we contemplate American women’s newly curtailed reproductive freedoms.

Continued: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/history/articles/lost-great-yiddish-abortion-play