Old Anti-abortion Laws Are Taking on Unintended Meanings

Even where the words remain the same, a shifting political culture has changed the impact of suddenly revived statutes.

By Daniel K. Williams
SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

Abortion opponents seem not to have expected some of the more draconian consequences of the Dobbs decision—that anti-abortion laws would prevent pregnant women who were not seeking abortions from receiving needed treatment for miscarriages, or that women facing dire medical complications from their pregnancies would not be able to get proper care. After all, the anti-abortion laws that were in force in the pre-Roe era before 1973 were almost never used to prosecute doctors treating miscarriages or providing lifesaving care to women, and all of the anti-abortion laws that went into effect this summer (including the one enacted in Indiana in August) specifically allow abortions in cases where they are necessary to save a pregnant person’s life. A National Review article published in late July insisted that no current state anti-abortion law prevents the treatment of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/abortion-laws-pre-roe/671409/


They lost pregnancies for unclear reasons. Then they were prosecuted.

Experts say drug use is rarely the cause of miscarriage or still birth, but prosecution of women who test positive for drugs still happens — and could get more common in the wake of the Dobbs decision

By Cary Aspinwall, Brianna Bailey and Amy Yurkanin, Washington Post
September 1, 2022

Some were already mothers, excited about having another baby. Others were upset or frightened to find themselves pregnant. All tested positive for drugs. And when these women lost their pregnancies, each ended up in jail.

More than 50 women have been prosecuted for child neglect or manslaughter in the United States since 1999 because they tested positive for drug use after a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to an investigation by the Marshall Project, the Frontier and AL.com that was co-edited and published in partnership with The Washington Post.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/01/prosecutions-drugs-miscarriages-meth-stillbirths/


USA – Why Freedom of Speech Is the Next Abortion Fight

A legal battle in Mississippi will test whether states can criminalize those who merely provide information.

By Yascha Mounk
AUGUST 22, 2022

In the middle of July, three big blue billboards went up in and around Jackson, Mississippi. pregnant? you still have a choice, they informed passing motorists, inviting them to visit mayday.health to learn more. Anybody who did landed on a website that provides information about at-home abortion pills and ways to get them delivered anywhere in the United States—including parts of the country, such as Mississippi, where abortions are now illegal under most circumstances.

A few days ago, the founders of the nonprofit that paid for the billboard ads, Mayday Health, received a subpoena from the office of the attorney general of Mississippi. (The state has already been at the center of recent debates about abortion: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, upheld a Mississippi statute by allowing states to put strict limits on abortion.) The subpoena, which I have seen, demands a trove of documents about Mayday Health and its activities. It may be the first step in an effort to force Mayday Health to take down the billboards, or even to prosecute the organization’s leaders for aiding and abetting criminal conduct.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/freedom-speech-mississippi-abortion-rights/671202/


USA – The latest social media misinformation: Abortion reversal pills

After Dobbs, platforms’ uneven moderation approaches let an unproven “treatment” to reverse a medication abortion spread.

By REBECCA KERN and RUTH READER
08/20/2022

Social media companies are grappling with a flood of misinformation on an unexpected topic since Roe v. Wade was overturned: Posts promoting “abortion reversal pills.”

The dangerous and unproven treatment is being touted as a way for a pregnant person to halt a medication abortion before it can take effect. And while claims about these pills have existed on social media for years, they’re now skyrocketing — and getting a lot more traction with users.

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/20/abortion-misinformation-social-media-00052645


USA – The Harshest Abortion Restrictions Are Yet to Come

The pro-life movement is now focused on three major strategies at the state level.

By David S. Cohen, Greer Donley, and Rachel Rebouché - The Atlantic
JULY 11, 2022

The Dobbs decision will forever change many people’s lives. But it also sparked a legal revolution that is just beginning. State by state, the movement that fought to overturn Roe v. Wade is now fighting for even more extreme measures.

This means that the harshest restrictions on abortion are yet to come. As the anti-abortion movement works toward its goal of a nationwide abortion ban, we can expect it to pursue three major legal strategies now that Roe has been overruled.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/pro-life-legal-strategies-abortion/661517/


USA – Who and what is behind abortion ban trigger law bills? Two groups laid the groundwork

July 8, 2022
Ximena Bustillo

For two decades, abortion rights opponents have drafted so-called model legislation and lobbied to get the measures to restrict and ban abortions passed in statehouses across the country in preparation for the eventual fall of Roe v. Wade.

The model legislation and concerted political pressure from national organizations that oppose abortion rights resulted in key terms being cemented into laws, the limitation of abortion access and the influence behind the trigger laws that will go into effect in 13 states this summer as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe.

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/08/1110299496/trigger-laws-13-states-two-groups-laid-groundwork


US conservatives vow harsh restrictions to curtail abortion pills

Discreet and available by mail, abortion-inducing pills could make conservative abortion bans challenging to enforce.

By Brian Osgood
1 Jul 2022

The US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that enshrined the legal right to abortion in the United States in federal law, reversing nearly 50 years of precedent and inflaming a sharp ideological divide.

The ruling last week was the result of decades of relentless organising by conservative anti-abortion rights groups in the US, which are now setting their sights on the fight to shape the post-Roe landscape.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/1/conservatives-seek-restrictive-measures-to-penalize-abortion-pills


Section 230 Is a Last Line of Defense for Abortion Speech Online

Dobbs should be a wake-up call for anyone seeking to undercut the immunity protections afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Evan Greer, Lia Holland
Jun 29, 2022

Forced-birth extremists are not satisfied with shutting down abortion clinics. They also want to scrub accurate information about abortion access from the internet. In a post-Roe world, defending online speech about abortion—and the ability for abortion advocates and providers to fundraise and organize online—is a matter of life or death. Democrats who have been misguidedly attacking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act need to wake up now. If they don’t start listening to the warnings of human rights experts, sex workers, LGBTQ+ folks, and reproductive rights groups, Democrats could help right-wing zealots achieve their goal: mass censorship of online content about abortion.

https://www.wired.com/story/section-230-is-a-last-line-of-defense-for-abortion-speech-online/


How Anti-Abortion Politics Swallowed Up the GOP

Over the years, anti-abortion activists became certain that campaign finance laws were the enemy.

BY MARY ZIEGLER
JUNE 23, 2022

The American anti-abortion movement contributed far more to the rise of Donald Trump and the transformation of the GOP than we often think. Scholars have traced how an ascendant form of Christian nationalism—the belief that the United States was and always should be a Christian nation—was needed for Donald Trump to edge out Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the influence of the anti-abortion movement went much further, and it had everything to do with money in U.S. politics.

Political scientists and historians of the religious right have told part of the story of the fascinating partnership between abortion foes and Republican leaders. Their studies often suggest that while pro-lifers became dependent on the GOP, the Republican Party did not fundamentally change its priorities. Some assert that the GOP co-opted the religious right, gaining its votes while offering little but speeches in return.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/06/campaign-finance-abortion-activism-dollars-for-life.html


Exceptions to Abortion Bans May Be Hard for Women to Access

‘In terms of how these things work in practice, they don't,’ says one expert regarding exceptions to abortion bans due to rape or health risk.

By Sharon Lurye
June 3, 2022

Abortion is a divisive issue in America’s culture, but there is something that the country largely agrees on: Even if a state bans abortion, four out of five Americans agree that there should be exceptions to the law if the mother’s life or health is in danger, and for victims of rape and incest.

Yet people rarely discuss how such exceptions would work in the real world. Who would decide whether a pregnant person’s life is truly at risk? What would survivors need to do to prove they were assaulted? A close reading of anti-abortion laws in 18 states reveals that even with these legal safeguards in place, many people will still face significant hurdles to getting an abortion in cases of rape, incest and medical emergencies.

Continued: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2022-06-03/why-exceptions-to-abortion-bans-may-be-hard-for-women-to-access