One Of The Nation’s Cruelest Anti-Abortion Laws Is Starting To Gain Ground

Support Choice in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hi, FYPP, this isn’t specific to planned parenthood, but I was hoping you’d be able to signal boost some pro-choice actions in Halifax. 

Support Choice in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hi, Tumblr folks!

So recently in Halifax, an anti-choice group has purchased ad space in every single one of the municipal buses. The ads they have up are emotionally manipulative and inaccurate. 

A petition has been started to have them removed from public transit and can be found here: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/signs-for-life-a-demand-for-the-taking-down-of-all-anti-abortion-signs-in-hrm

As well, as a response to the campaign, the South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre, Halifax’s only full-time Gender Justice Centre wants to put up ads on the same buses that inform Halifax transit users of all of their choices instead of shaming and misinforming them. The South House has a graphic designer willing to make the ads for free, but in order to purchase ad space, a GoFundMe has been created here: http://www.gofundme.com/65csh0 Every donation helps, and if you are unable to donate, please reblog this or share it so others can. 

The Maritime provinces in Canada are a very difficult place to access publicly funded abortion care - most patients need to come to Halifax. It is so important that we defend the right to choose here. 

Asked by Anonymous Anonymous

Hello, I know this is a long shot and you may not answer, pero I'm having a debate on monday about abortion, and I'm in favor, could you please tell me the top myths to destroy on the debate and the top points I should make for people who are against it?

dippingstickssunshine:

The Guttmacher Institute is your best friend for statistics about reproductive health, and if you’re in the United States, you should start here.

I have an 8:00 class in the morning, and I’m about to head off to bed, so I’m really sorry for cheating you out of an original response. Here is the text from a flyer I made to hand out as part of feminist demonstrations at my undergrad institution, entitled “Factual Responses to Anti-Choice Rhetoric”

“Criminalizing abortion will stop abortions from happening!”

False. Women seek abortions whether they are legal or not. Criminalizing abortion does not stop abortion, it only makes abortion unsafe for the women involved.

Before Roe v. Wade, up to 1.2 million abortions occurred illegally in the United States. Among low-income women, less than 2% of these abortions involved a licensed physician in any way. Today, 25% of women live in countries where abortion is heavily restricted or outright illegal, which results in 70,000 deaths and 8.5 million health complications annually.

“Legal abortion is dangerous!”

False. When performed under standard medical regulations, first-trimester abortions are the safest outpatient procedure available, with less than 0.3% of patients experiencing complications that require hospitalization. In comparison, 43% of women experience maternal morbidity during labor and delivery.

“Abortion causes breast cancer!”

False. The National Cancer Institute (a division of the National Institutes of Health), the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have all conducted studies and found that there is no causative link between induced abortion and breast cancer.

“Abortion causes mental health problems!”

False. The American Psychological Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have conducted studies and found that there is no causative link between induced abortion and negative mental health outcomes. There is, however, a link between unwanted pregnancy and negative mental health outcomes, regardless of whether the woman chooses abortion or childbirth.

“Late term abortions are common!”

False. 88% of abortions occur in the first trimester. Less than .077% occur in the third trimester, and are performed for medical reasons only.

“The [fetus] can feel pain during an abortion!”

False. The neural connections in the fetal brain are not developed enough to feel pain until at least 24 weeks gestation, at which point elective abortions are not available.

“Abortions are too easy to get!”

False. Only 13% of U.S. counties have an abortion provider. 26 states have enacted mandatory waiting periods for women seeking abortions. 40 states have imposed limits on when abortions may be performed. 37 states restrict the ability of women under the age of 18 to obtain abortions.

Cost is also a huge factor for women seeking abortions. 69% of women who have abortions make less than 200% of the federal poverty level ($21,660 for a single person). 42% have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830). The average first-trimester abortion costs $451, and most insurance plans, as well as Medicaid, will not cover it.

Abortion Regulation Trial Concludes

Unless a federal judge blocks implementation of Texas’ new sweeping abortion regulations, 13 clinics across Texas – including Planned Parenthood in Austin – would as of Tuesday be unable to provide women with safe and legal abortion care.

The new regulations, contained in House Bill 2, passed this summer during a special-called legislative session, would quickly leave more than 22,000 women without any meaningful access to care, Janet Crepps, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rightsargued in federal court Wednesday morning.

Crepps represents Whole Woman’s Health, which has five clinics across Texas – three of which would close on Oct. 29, the date the regulations at issue are slated to take effect. In addition, clinics in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Harlingen, Mc Allen, Waco, and Killeen will shutter their operations, Crepps told federal district Judge Lee Yeakel, who is presiding over a trial challenging the new regulations. The impact of the challenged provisions “could not be more stark,” Crepps argued.

At specific issue in this lawsuit – filed by abortion providers (including WWH and Planned Parenthood) and the ACLU – are a requirement that abortion doctors obtain hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of each facility where they perform the procedure, and a mandate that doctors follow an older protocol for administering pharmaceutical abortion.

At the close of court this morning, Yeakel said he will issue a ruling in the case “as quickly as I can,” and that he recognizes “the clock is ticking.” Yeakel must decide if the controversial provisions represent a constitutional restriction to abortion based on a compelling state interest to do so, or whether they violate due process and equal protection provisions by creating an undue burden on women seeking access to legally protected care.

In testimony presented over two days this week, doctors and providers said the hospital privileges provision is not necessary (women experiencing complications would be told to go to the nearest hospital emergency department and not to travel to whatever facility is close to where they obtained abortion care), and that at least 13 clinics will close if that provision takes effect on Tuesday because those clinics have not been able to obtain privileges for their doctors within the specified distance, and have not been successful in recruiting other, already privileged physicians to take over the work. According to testimony from UT professor Joe Potter, a demographer and principle researcher on the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which is tracking the impact of legislation restricting access to family planning and abortion in Texas, the expected clinic closures will leave more than 22,800 women without access to the care they need, testimony Crepps cited in her hour-long closing arguments.

Closing the state’s defense, Deputy Solicitor General Andy Oldham argued that the providers and doctors suing for relief have failed at carrying the “crushing [legal] burden” of proving that the provisions would actually have the impact the plaintiffs are asserting. Because they’re challenging the law before it takes effect, and asking the judge to nullify it – a “facial” challenge to its legality – the providers carry the burden of showing that “every application” of the provisions would be unconstitutional: Just because some doctors don’t like the medication abortion provision doesn’t do that; arguing that the admitting-privilege provision would prohibit doctors for practicing abortion doesn’t do that; and arguing that it’s simply “bad public policy” doesn’t get there either, Oldham argued. In the first instance, that’s a question “for the FDA,” in the second, “that’s a call for the hospitals,” and in the third, “that’s a call for the Legislature,” he said.

He said the state has not only an interest in protecting the safety of women via both provisions, but also an interest in protecting fetal life – for example, the second of a two-drug abortion-inducing cocktail has been known to cause birth defects in fetuses, he argued (presumably those that weren’t properly aborted and then are carried to term). And that alone “is sufficient” to create a compelling state interest in regulating pharmaceutical abortion.

Yeakel asked Crepps how he should weigh the state’s assertion that the provisions were enacted to protect its interest in “fetal life.” U.S. Supreme Court precedent allows for state-imposed restrictions on abortion based on that “legitimate and substantial interest,” he noted. Crepps said that in balancing those two interests, Yeakel should consider whether either of the two provisions at issue in this case have any connection to that stated desire; the answer, she said, is that they do not. The state must assert a “permissible connection” between its stated interest and the provisions beyond a simple desire “to make abortion less accessible.”

Take, for example, the argument about birth defects related to medication abortion; in that instance those defects could occur regardless how the medication is administered, she said, but it would not be legal to outlaw all medication abortion.

Indeed, witnesses this week noted that the older protocol, which appears on the drug’s label, requires a higher dose of the drugs, and carries a greater risk of complications – including infections – than does the newer, “off-label” protocol developed through years of “evidence-based medicine.” That updated protocol, which has been the subject of several large-scale studies, has become the norm. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not relabeled the drug (a process that has to be manufacturer driven and is costly) says nothing about whether the agency disapproves of the updated protocol, Crepps pointed out.

If not the FDA, then who decides “when the medical advance is sufficient” to impact a case such as this, and who decides how many physicians following a certain protocol are enough to qualify as an advance in medicine, Yeakel asked.

Crepps may not have been able to answer that specifically, but she said that by mandating that doctors follow the older and medically riskier protocol, the “state of Texas [has] interceded in the normal [process] of medical advancement,” she said. And “it now bears the burden of showing that’s necessary.”

Oldham, however, argued that it is the plaintiffs that carry the burden of proving the restrictions would be harmful or leave women without meaningful access to care, and they haven’t done so. Although the evidence before Yeakel includes testimony and written declarations from clinic operators attesting that they will shut their doors next week because of the restrictions, and includes the demographic extrapolations compiled by Potter, neither is enough to go on to prove their case, he argued.

"Is it the position of the state…that there is no proof to support the allegations made by providers" that at least 13 clinics will close and that more than 22,000 women will lose care, Yeakel asked.

Yes, Oldham said; just because the plaintiffs have “repeated” those assertions does not make them so.

"So, after the 29th it’ll be business as usual?" Yeakel followed up.

"I don’t pretend that I can see the future," Oldham said. "So what will happen on Tuesday, I don’t know, but they haven’t proved it to the court."

In rebuttal, Crepps said she was “surprised” to hear Oldham’s argument that appeared to stop just short of “calling our witnesses dishonest” about what they say will happen next week if the law is not blocked.

She suggested that Oldham’s assertion is just a “backdoor way of arguing” that the plaintiffs, instead of suing now and making a facial challenge before the law takes effect, should have to wait until after the law’s effects are felt, and “that we would have to wait for the disastrous consequences…before we can [seek] any Constitutional relief.”

There is little doubt that whoever loses will appeal the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – and potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court – a reality Yeakel noted several times during the trial in asking the lawyers to keep their arguments focused specifically on whether the Texas provisions are legal under the high court’s precedent. Similar provisions have been successfully challenged in a number of states – including in Oklahoma, where an appeal based on a medication abortion provision is pending before the Supreme Court. Hospital admitting privilege provisions have been enacted – and blocked – in Mississippi, Alabama, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

The single most important legislative priority of the Republican party in the era of Obama is a legislative priority that is illegal everywhere in this country. That is not stopping them.

—Rachel Maddow on unconstitutional abortion ban legislation. via

Federal judge blocks ND abortion law

via Planned Parenthood Action

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