Alabama case over mistaken pregnancy highlights risks in a post-Roe world

By Hassan Kanu
December 6, 2022

(Reuters) - An ongoing lawsuit in Alabama typifies the far-reaching criminalization of women enabled by some anti-abortion ideology and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

A ruling in the matter, which involves a woman merely suspected of being pregnant, could be a bellwether for various cases relitigating women’s rights in the wake of the high court’s decision.


Woman faces Texas murder charge after self-induced abortion

Authorities say a 26-year-old woman has been charged with murder in Texas after causing “the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”

9 April 2022

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas -- A 26-year-old woman has been charged with murder in Texas after authorities said she caused “the death of an individual by self-induced abortion,” in a state that has the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.

It’s unclear whether Lizelle Herrera is accused of having an abortion or whether she helped someone else get an abortion.


USA – This Is the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Next Big Move

Anti-abortion activists are already pushing for a world where a fetus has more rights than pregnant people.

Mar 10, 2022
Caroline Reilly, Rewire News

For decades, anti-abortion lawmakers have operated under the false pretense that their only target was abortion providers. Pregnant people, depicted mostly as victims of the predatory abortion industrial complex—or some other unhinged, alarmist framework—were safe from their wrath.

But their tone has shifted as of late. The concept of fetal “personhood,” which defines life as beginning at conception, has become mainstream, and those advocates are pushing for the laws around abortion to reflect that.


USA – Anti-abortion movement’s big plan: Supercharged “crisis pregnancy centers” and data harvesting

Anti-choice activists roll out bold new strategy to register and track abortion-seekers. Why do they want to know?


Oklahoma state Sen. George Burns, a Republican, introduced a new bill this month that would require anyone seeking an abortion in the state to call a designated hotline to receive counseling from "care agents" about abortion alternatives, and also to be screened for the possibility that they are victims of abuse, human trafficking or abortion coercion. The bill, SB 1167 or the "Every Mother Matters Act" (EMMA), is couched as an offer of resources, from housing to employment assistance, to provide "compassionate options for those faced with unexpected pregnancies," as Burns said in a press release. He acknowledges, however, that his "ultimate goal is ending abortion altogether."

So far, generally so familiar. But there's an important new twist here that looks to be the tip of a national iceberg: The Oklahoma bill also provides for the state Department of Health to assign each abortion-seeker who calls the hotline a "unique identifying number." Abortion providers would be required to obtain and record that number, which would also be registered in a DHS database.


‘Her Heart Was Beating Too’: The Women Who Died After Abortion Bans

Nov. 29, 2021
By Sarah Wildman

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old married dentist, appeared at Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying. According to Dr. Halappanavar’s husband, hospital staff said that there was no saving the pregnancy, but they refused to intercede because her fetus still had a heartbeat. She was told her only option was to wait.

Dr. Halappanavar became feverish. By the time the fetal heartbeat faded away, she was in organ failure. Two and a half days later, she was dead.


What will US’s future look like if abortion becomes a crime again?

As Roe v Wade faces a direct challenge, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, local judges and cops begin to lay out what it would look like to criminalize abortion

by Jessica Glenza, Graphics by Zala Šeško
Mon 29 Nov 2021

In the early 1970s, law enforcement leaders in Chicago decided the practice of illegal abortion was intolerable in their city and, in a mostly forgotten chapter of history, undertook a campaign to root out those who performed the procedure in secret.

On a tip, police turned their attention to “Call Jane”, a feminist collective of young women who, since 1965, had provided safe but illegal abortions to roughly 3,000 Chicagoans per year. The collective was raided after two Catholic women told police their sister-in-law planned to have an abortion performed by the group.


USA – Constitutional Rights for the “Unborn” Would Force Women to Forfeit Theirs

If the unborn have 14th Amendment rights, any loss of pregnancy, whether intentional or not, will become the basis for arrest and prosecution.

Ms. Magazine

Ross Douthat’s recent op-ed “What Has the Pro-Life Movement Won?” in the New York Times addresses the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court, now dominated by justices who oppose abortion, may, in the next abortion case, not merely impose further limits on that right, but more radically outlaw abortion altogether by recognizing that “unborn human beings deserve protections under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” He then suggests “pro-life” advocates will have to support expansion of government programs for the children poor women would be forced to have.

More than minimizing the harm done by outlawing abortions and forced childbearing, the op-ed reinforces the very big lie that the only thing that would be impacted by recognizing constitutional rights for the “unborn” is abortion. The fact is, it would fundamentally change the legal rights and status of all pregnant women.


Pregnant People of Color are Bearing the Brunt of the War on Drugs

‘Fetal protection’ laws are criminalizing pregnant people who use drugs or alcohol, rather than approaching this as a public-health issue.

by Eleanor J. Bader
January 13, 2021

When Chelsea Becker was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, she delivered a stillborn baby. An autopsy found high levels of methamphetamine in its system, and Becker, then twenty-five, was subsequently charged with first-degree murder. Bail was initially set at $5 million, then lowered to an equally out-of-reach $2 million. As a result, Becker has been in pre-trial detention at the King County Jail in Hanford, California, since November 2019.

Becker is not an anomaly. In fact, over the past five decades, hundreds of people—71 percent of them low-income, and 59 percent people of color—have been locked up, sometimes in mental hospitals and sometimes in prison or mandatory treatment programs, for drug or alcohol use during pregnancy.


In ‘Personhood,’ Seattle filmmakers document the human cost of giving legal rights to embryos

Aug. 5, 2020
By Megan Burbank, Seattle Times features reporter

“Did you feel they treated you like a person?” The question is posed near the end of the new documentary “Personhood” to Tamara Loertscher, a Wisconsin woman who was imprisoned in 2014 while pregnant after disclosing prior drug use to her doctor; tests showed traces of methamphetamine in her body.

Loertscher and her attorneys have maintained that she stopped using drugs when she found out she was pregnant, but as the case unfolded, her history of drug use and Wisconsin’s “Unborn Child Protection Act” became the state’s justification for giving her fetus more legal rights than she had. Loertscher’s fetus was appointed an attorney; she, initially, was not. When Loertscher refused drug treatment, she was jailed, which effectively cut off the prenatal care she had sought.


USA – Self-Managed Abortion Is Medically Very Safe. But Is It Legally Safe?

Self-Managed Abortion Is Medically Very Safe. But Is It Legally Safe?

by Carrie N. Baker

Between 1969 and 1973, feminists in Chicago with no formal medical training formed an underground abortion service called Jane that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions.

Today, as many states increasingly restrict medical professionals’ ability to offer abortion, women are once again finding ways to access safe abortion on their own.