Following up on my note – everyone deserves access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.
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(see the original message below)
Last month, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a dangerous Louisiana law that would have forced all but one clinic in the state to close.
This is a win, but just barely. For far too many, access to abortion is a right on paper only — Black people and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with low incomes, and those at the intersections of those identities already face barriers to care due to systemic racism, discrimination and inequality. For many of these people, abortion is already virtually out of reach.
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At Planned Parenthood, we are committed to providing comprehensive care to every person who walks through our doors, and we’re committed to protecting the health of all of our patients. We will continue fighting to break down the barriers keeping people from getting the health care they need.
Alexis McGill Johnson, President & CEO
This week, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in Trump v. Pennsylvania to allow employers and universities to deny birth control coverage to their employees and students.
Anti-choice extremists are determined to do everything possible to restrict our freedom. Whether it’s attacking birth control coverage, trying to ban abortion, stacking the courts with unqualified ideologues, or trying to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ folks — they’re working hard to control our lives and our bodies.
We shouldn’t still have to be fighting for something so basic — but here we are. That means we’re going to fight as hard as we can, for as long as it takes. Because reproductive freedom is for every body.
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Let’s be clear: Every body deserves birth control coverage, no matter where you work or go to school. The Trump-Pence rules that the Supreme Court just upheld allow employers and universities to take birth control coverage away from their employees and students. But the personal beliefs of your boss or school shouldn’t dictate the care you can access.
And like so many of the Trump administration’s dangerous policies, those affected most may be those who already face the biggest obstacles to care — including Black, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, undocumented people, and LGBTQ folks.
Director of Government Relations
NARAL Pro-Choice America
|Add your name to Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s petition: I pledge to use my voice and my vote in 2020 to take back our power. >>
SIGN NOWThe past three years have been an unrelenting attack on our
bodies, our rights, and our freedoms. From the dangerous
and illegal “gag rule” to extreme judicial nominees— we’re
seeing exactly what happens when politicians are more
concerned with attacking our rights than protecting them.
It’s hard to overstate just how monumental the 2020 election
is for protecting our rights for decades to come. And that
starts with you.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President
Democrats are calling for a Republican congressman to resign after he defended abortion bans by saying that humankind might not exist but for rape or incest.
Without rape or incest “would there be any population of the world left?” nine-term lawmaker Steve King asked the Des Moines Register newspaper.
Mr King was defending anti-abortion legislation that does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders soon demanded he step down.
“You are a disgrace. Resign,” Ms Gillibrand wrote on Twitter. Her remarks were quickly echoed by other 2020 Democratic hopefuls Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro.
A Republican lawmaker, Iowa state Senator Randy Feenstra, also criticised Mr King’s remarks.
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“I am 100% pro-life but Steve King’s bizarre comments and behaviour diminish our message,” he wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Mr King told the Des Moines Register that the Republican leadership had stopped bills he sponsored banning abortions from advancing through the US House of Representatives.
“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” Mr King said on Wednesday.
“Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban into law on Wednesday, effectively banning the procedure except in cases where a pregnant person’s life is at serious risk. The law does not make exceptions in cases of rape or incest and doctors could face 99 years in prison for performing abortions. We speak with Dr. Yashica Robinson, the medical director of the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, one of only three clinics left in the state that offer patients abortion services. She is one of only two abortion providers living and working in Alabama. Under the new Alabama law, she could spend the rest of her life in prison for doing her job.
Dear MoveOn member,
I’m Helmi Henkin, an organizer with the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, which helps people access safe abortions. I started a petition after our state passed an abortion ban which gives the government control over pregnant people’s bodies—even in cases of rape or incest.
As similar extreme bills continue making their way through state legislatures, it’s vital that we send a clear message to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other members of the Supreme Court of the United States that we will not tolerate these attacks on our protected human rights.
Alabama’s extreme bill gives the state control over pregnant people’s bodies and increases the already tremendous barriers that people seeking abortion care in Alabama face in accessing their procedures. Access was already a problem in Alabama, which is why the Yellowhammer Fund exists.
The government’s control and politicization of our bodies is unacceptable. Families in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and communities across the nation are under attack as part of a publicly stated, coordinated effort to have the Supreme Court overturn its own legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade.1
This is truly concerning, because some members of the Supreme Court are already signaling a willingness to overturn legal precedent on other cases.2
Sign the petition telling Chief Justice John G. Roberts and the Supreme Court justices to end these extreme policies which deny families the right to determine whether, when, and how to create a family.
People espousing “pro-life” politics frequently talk about how much they love pregnant people and babies. However, their political agenda does not extend to ensuring that pregnancy and birth are safe for pregnant people or that parents, children, and families can access the health care they need to live healthy lives. In Alabama, for example, this means that a large number of pregnant people are going without the prenatal, birth, and postnatal care needed to ensure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes. Maternal and infant mortality rates are high.3
We will work with trusted partner organizations such as MoveOn to ensure the support of this petition is used to further pressure key decision-makers, keep the story in the media, and give everyone opportunities to stay engaged! MoveOn members have already raised more than $30,000 for our work in Alabama, and we’re seeing generosity across the country—but we also need to make sure the Supreme Court respects the fundamental right to access an abortion, so we need to act now.
Thank you for your support during such an important moment for this movement.
–Helmi Henkin, The Yellowhammer Fund
1. “Alabama Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into Law,” NPR, May 14, 2019
2. “Supreme Court’s Breyer, mentioning abortion case, warns about overturning precedent,” NBC News, May 13, 2019
3. “States with the worst anti-abortion laws also have the worst infant mortality rates,” Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2019
The Alabama state legislature
Alabama lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill to outlaw abortion outright in the state, which would become the strictest such law in the US if passed.
The state Senate began debating the measure on Tuesday, and must decide whether to allow exemptions for cases of rape or incest.
The bill was passed 74-3 this month in the state House of Representatives.
Activists hope it will challenge a landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion in the US.
A final vote could come on Tuesday evening.
Republican Governor Kay Ivey has not said whether she would sign it, but she is seen as a strong opponent of abortion.
Democrats plan to mount a filibuster to block the bill, but have only eight seats in the 35-member chamber.
Republican lawmaker Terri Collins, sponsor of the legislation, said: “Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person.”
Democratic state Senator Bobby Singleton said the bill “criminalises doctors” and is an attempt by men “to tell women what to do with their bodies”.
As the Senate debated whether to an exception for rape and incest, Democrat Rodger Smitherman said: “We’re telling a 12 year old girl who, through incest and rape is pregnant and we are telling her that she doesn’t have a choice.”
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What does the bill do?
It goes further than legislation passed recently elsewhere in the US to ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Under the Alabama measure, provision of abortion at any stage in pregnancy would be a class A felony.
Doctors could face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.
A woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.
The bill would allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk.
Its text says more foetuses have been aborted than people killed in “Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields”.
An anti-abortion activist in Philadelphia
Supporters of the legislation have welcomed an inevitable challenge in federal court if the measure becomes law.
The bill’s architects expect it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope it will end up before the Supreme Court.
Their aim ultimately is to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.
Emboldened by the addition of two Trump-nominated conservative justices, anti-abortion activists are eager to take one of the most divisive issues in America back to the highest court in the land.
Eric Johnston, founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: “The dynamic has changed.
“The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.”
What’s the national picture?
If signed, the Alabama measure would become one of more than 300 laws challenging abortion access in the US.
Its passage comes amid a wave of anti-abortion measures in Republican-controlled state capitols around the nation.
Legislation to restrict abortion has been introduced in 16 of America’s 50 states this year alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for more abortion access.
The flurry of measures has led these activists to warn that a swathe of US territory could become an “abortion desert.”
At the other end of the political spectrum, a Democratic-sponsored bill in Virginia that would have allowed third-trimester abortions up until the point of childbirth failed to make it out of committee.