Amid a wave of right-wing efforts to quash abortion rights across the United States, a Nebraska judge on Friday sentenced Jessica Burgess to two years in prison after helping her teenage daughter end her pregnancy and bury the remains in early 2022.
Police have said that over two years ago, then-17-year-old Celeste Burgess took abortion pills—provided by her mother—at approximately 29 weeks pregnant and gave birth to a stillborn fetus, which the pair burned and buried in Norfolk, Nebraska.
While welcoming the shift, Gov. Tony Evers also stressed that the broader battle is far from over and “I will keep fighting like hell every day until Wisconsinites have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.”
Wisconsin residents, reproductive rights advocates, and Democratic political leaders on Thursday celebrated after Planned Parenthood announced that it will resume abortion care at Madison and Milwaukee clinics next week following a recent court ruling.
“With patients and community as our central priority and driving force, we are eager to resume abortion services and provide this essential care to people in our state,” said Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) president and CEO Tanya Atkinson in a statement.
With reports of pregnant patients being denied crucial abortion care mounting over the past year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped millions of Americans of their bodily autonomy, the Center for Reproductive Rights on Tuesday filed legal actions in three states where doctors have refused to provide abortions even in emergency situations—hoping to expose how providers and patients alike are being harmed by abortion bans.
The group filed legal challenges against abortion bans in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Idaho—which all ban abortion care in nearly all circumstances—on behalf of women who were denied or delayed in receiving care.
The victory on Sunday of progressive politician Bernardo Arévalo in Guatemala’s presidential runoff suggests that voters’ primary concerns are corruption and poverty – rather than conservatives’ fear-mongering about abortion and LGBTQ rights.
Arévalo, a 64-year-old sociologist who ran for the centre-left Semilla (Seed) party, secured a resounding win, with 58.01% of the vote, while his contender Sandra Torres, former first lady and leader of the UNE (Unidad Nacional por la Esperanza, National Unity for Hope) party, got 37.24%.
“The result will essentially force an untold number of affected women to give birth without their consent,” wrote Justice Donald Beatty in his dissent. “I am hard-pressed to think of a greater governmental intrusion by a political body.”
Despite a recent poll showing that just 37% of South Carolinians backed a six-week abortion ban, the state Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the previously blocked law, gutting what remained of abortion access for millions of people across the South.
The ruling was handed down by the all-male high court following the mandatory retirement of former Justice Kaye Hearn, who wrote the majority opinion in another ruling in January which struck down a nearly identical six-week ban that had been passed in 2021.
“Today’s decision is a likely first step toward a massive blow to reproductive rights in the United States—and a stark reminder that our courts have been hijacked by Republican extremists,” said one abortion rights advocate.
A federal appellate court on Wednesday upheld portions of a ruling restricting access to the abortion pill mifepristone, although the drug will remain available pending the outcome of ongoing litigation.
A three-judge panel of the right-wing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that mifepristone can remain on the market, while finding that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2016 move to allow the pill to be taken later in pregnancy, mailed directly to patients, and prescribed by healthcare professionals other than doctors was likely illegal.
Recent polling in Ohio has shown that a majority of residents disapprove of a proposed measure that will be on ballots across the state in a special election on Tuesday, but abortion rights advocates have spent recent days warning voters that failing to block the proposal could have major repercussions for reproductive freedom in the state.
In the special election, Ohioans will be asked their position on Issue 1, which if approved would raise the threshold for passing new constitutional amendments to 60% rather than a simple majority.
A federal judge on Saturday temporarily blocked the implementation of an Arkansas law criminalizing librarians and booksellers who provide access to materials deemed “harmful to minors.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks—an appointee of former President Barack Obama—issued a preliminary injunction against two sections of Act 372 (also known as S.B. 81), a censorship bill introduced by Arkansas state Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-20), passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature, and signed into law by GOP Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March.
The pro-abortion rights movement in Ohio has gathered enough momentum to place a referendum on the ballot this coming November which could codify the right to abortion care in the state constitution—but advocates on Tuesday warned of a caveat which could make the amendment harder to pass unless rights advocates clear another hurdle next month.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Tuesday that petitioners calling for the measure to be included on the ballot on November 7 collected more than 495,000 signatures in support of their effort, far surpassing the required 413,446 signatures.
Advocates for digital privacy rights and reproductive rights alike were outraged Thursday over the jail sentence of a 19-year-old in Nebraska who self-managed her abortion last year—a case which one campaigner said highlights how prosecutors will “stretch laws far beyond their intended scope” to penalize people who end or attempt to end their pregnancies in the post-Roe v. Wade legal landscape.
Self-managed abortion is only banned in two states—Nevada and South Carolina—but prosecutors charged Celeste Burgess with one felony and two misdemeanors last year, several months after she had a stillbirth at 29 weeks of pregnancy. Burgess, who was 17 at the time, had procured pills for a medication abortion shortly before the stillbirth, and had discussed the outcome of the pregnancy on Facebook Messenger with her mother, Jessica Burgess.