Scores of independent reproductive health centers have been forced to close or stop offering abortion care, with 14 states now having no abortion clinics, a report published Tuesday revealed.
Abortion Care Network (ACN) released its annual Communities Need Clinics report, which details how “abortion bans, extremist harassment, and the financial realities of operating community-based clinics make it increasingly difficult for independent clinics to stay open” after the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court canceled half a century of federal abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization a year-and-a-half ago.
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 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.
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.
“Groundbreaking,” “monumental,” and “transformative” were just a few of the words rights advocates used on Thursday to describe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s long-awaited approval of over-the-counter use of Opill, a birth control pill that was approved for prescription use five decades ago.
The approval could revolutionize access to contraception for young people, low-income people, and others in a country where nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended, said Free the Pill, a coalition of more than 200 reproductive justice groups and advocates who have been campaigning for over-the-counter (OTC) access to birth control for nearly two decades.
Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota on Monday signed one of the nation’s most draconian abortion bans into law, just weeks after the state’s GOP lawmakers shot down a proposal to provide free school lunches to low-income students.
The new forced pregnancy law, which takes immediate effect, prohibits abortion care in nearly all cases. Abortion is allowed in cases of rape or incest, but only during the first six weeks of pregnancy—before many people realize they are pregnant. Abortion is also allowed without gestational limits if terminating a pregnancy could prevent the pregnant person’s “death or a serious health risk.”
From Florida and Texas to California and Illinois, demonstrators marched with chants like, “Red state, blue state, you can’t hide, the war on abortion is nationwide,” and “Fascist judges make me ill, hands off the abortion pill.”
As legal fights raise concerns about the future accessibility of the abortion medication mifepristone, reproductive rights supporters on Saturday rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court and in cities across the country.
The demonstrations came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked a recent ruling by Texas-based federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who struck down the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs often taken in tandem for abortions.
Protestors in front of the Supreme Court on June 24, the day of Roe v. Wade’s overturn. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC BY-SA 2.0.
A new pro-forced pregnancy proposal in the South Carolina General Assembly that would make people who obtain abortion care eligible for the death penalty was portrayed as coming from the fringes of the Republican Party by one GOP lawmaker—but with 21 state Republicans backing the legislation, critics said the idea is representative of the party’s anti-choice agenda.
Proposed by state Rep. Rob Harris, the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023 would amend the state’s criminal code to give a zygote, or fertilized egg, “equal protection under the homicide laws of the state”—meaning obtaining an abortion could be punishable by the death penalty. Continue reading →