100 Days Post Roe and Beyond
It’s been over three months since the Supreme Court took a fundamental right away from women. In that time:
1. Sixty-six clinics in 15 states have stopped providing abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Prior to June 24, these 15 states had a total of 79 clinics that provided abortion care. As of October 2, that number had dropped to 13, and all of them are located in Georgia.” If you don’t think Stacy Abrams election is important, just read that sentence again. By the way, in a nod to the incredible resilience of these clinics, some have remained open offering other reproductive health care. For instance, 4 out of the 5 clinics in Alabama have remained open and are providing reproductive health care other than abortions.
2. There is an increasing chilling effect on free speech in anti-states. For instance, staffers at the University of Idaho and Boise State University in Idaho have been advised not to refer women to abortion or contraception options or risk being charged with a felony. Yikes!
3. I think that the biggest negative impact of restricted access to reproductive healthcare will be on maternal health. This is really at the heart of the current heartbreak. Reducing access to health care for women means that maternal health in general will suffer terribly. The maternal death rate will go up. Women’s mental health care will go down. Families will be poorer. And, of course, abortions will continue to be sought at the same rate as ever. There is not a single indicator of maternal health that will improve when abortion care isn’t available. The only thing that will increase is suffering.
On that last note, I listened to this fascinating podcast by Ezra Klein interviewing Russell Moore, the editor of Christianity Today. I enjoyed listening to Moore’s take on how MAGA has hijacked the Republican party. However, when it got to abortion, Moore couldn’t summon a bit of empathy for the women he knew, his parishioners, who had abortions. He couldn’t imagine how much pain these women must be in, how overwhelming the idea of a baby, more likely another baby, and put himself in their shoes to risk being ostracized by their church and community to have an abortion.
Even with all of this very sobering news, here are things we can do today to move towards a freer country:
1. Read this terrific exploration from Ms. Magazine covering the many ways that women are saving democracy - and please share it!
2. If you’re in NYC this week, you should come to a fantastic show, Cindy of Arc, produced by my dear friend, Dani Davis!! It is fun and funny and inspiring and proceeds are going to amazing repro justice orgs: Galvanize Action, The National Institute of Reproductive Health, New York Abortion Access Fund.
3. Tell The New Yorker Mag to stop overemphasizing “underground” abortion efforts. This is an old narrative and we need the mainstream media to stop highlighting old narratives. I understand that an underground network of abortion pill providers in Mexico exists and that U.S. women are accessing it. However, according to this article, 50 women a day from the U.S. are accessing this network. Thousands of people are using online resources like Plan C, Choix, Hey, Jane, and AidAccess to to access abortion medication. We are not hiding, we are not afraid, we are not going underground!
Let’s all stay strong together!