IVF, Bad Judges, And Rays Of Hope

How is the government screwing with your reproductive rights this week? Let's find out!

Republicans Block IVF Protections, Just Like We All Said They Would

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, many people familiar with this particular battleground pointed out that other rights, like same-sex marriage, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and birth control, were now at risk. Many people on the Right and even in the center — other than those who were very excited to limit rights to same sex marriage, IVF, and birth control — insisted that this was baseless fear-mongering because no one was coming for these things.

"Stop. No one is coming for IVF or birth control," a person calling themselves Middle Aged Crazy tweeted at Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) in October. "Abortion is not sacrosanct. Having a society and culture that values life is a discussion and fight worth having. And this type of fear-mongering is beneath your office."

"This is propaganda promoted by the Guttmacher Institute wherein they say that IVF 'could' be banned," tweeted another user back in June. "The likelihood of that actually happening is probably zero. this is one of the fearmongering talking points put out there to scare the insipid members of the flock."

However, this week, when given the chance to protect the right to IVF, Republicans did not do that at all.

On Tuesday. Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced "The Right To Build Families Act," meant to "prohibit the limitation of access to assisted reproductive technology, and all medically necessary care surrounding such technology." In other words, to protect IVF from being banned. Sen. Duckworth requested to pass the bill through unanimous consent, but it was blocked by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

Whoops. Duckworth says she plans to continue pushing to pass the bill, whatever it takes. Which she should.

Voters Aborted Judge Who Ruled Teen Girl 'Too Immature' For Abortion, So Ron DeSantis Promoted Him!

We already wrote about this one this week, so click that headline right there above if you missed it!

A 2.0 grade point average isn't great, but it's hardly indicative of the kind of mental deficiency that would make one incapable of deciding whether or not they want to have a child. Even if that were the case, "This person is not intelligent enough to decide to have an abortion but they are intelligent enough to handle the responsibility of a pregnancy and possibly raise a child" is a hell of a take.

Judge Smith's ruling was overturned by an appeals court and he ended up losing his next election — but now he's got a new job. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed him to the newly established Sixth District Court of Appeals, starting January 1, which means his considerably terrible judgment will have even more influence than it previously did. Fun!

Sadly, DeSantis Was Not The Only One Appointing Terrible Anti-Choice Judges

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has picked Hector D. LaSalle, the current presiding justice of the New York Supreme Court's Second Department, to be the chief judge of New York's highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals.

"New York’s Court of Appeals has a long history as a beacon of justice, and Judge LaSalle is an outstanding jurist in that tradition," Hochul said in a statement on Twitter, adding "Judge LaSalle has the skills, experience, and intellect to ensure that we expand access to justice and that our highest court is seen as a leader across the country."

The tweet was swiftly ratioed by progressives who were not too happy about the decision, given Judge LaSalle's very conservative record, particularly on issues of reproductive rights and labor. It was also not well-received by the more than 40 law professors who signed a collective statement opposing his appointment, citing his "cavalier attitude towards reproductive rights, hostility to organized labor, and a worrying insensitivity to due process."

The letter reads:

In 2010, the New York City Council held hearings into [crisis pregnancy centers] and determined that one of them, “Expectant Mother Care,” was practicing medicine without a license. On the basis of that finding, the New York Attorney General served it with a subpoena to learn more about its operations.

Justice LaSalle intervened to shield the CPC from the application of health care licensing laws. The court held across the board that the Attorney General could not see the documents before the court itself reviewed them. But for some documents it went even further. The opinion stated that the Attorney General could not get the “advertisements and promotional literature, brochures and pamphlets that the CPC provided or disseminated to the public in New York State,” or the list of the CPC’s funders, even after court review. The opinion Justice LaSalle joined concluded that that information was not important or relevant enough to the Attorney General’s investigation to require disclosure, even to the court.

It seems like common sense to prevent people who are not licensed health care professionals from practicing medicine, but clearly Justice LaSalle did not agree. He also allowed a major corporation to sue union leaders and barred a defendant from appealing his conviction.

Courts matter, especially right now, especially with regards to abortion rights. There is absolutely no reason for Gov. Hochul to be nominating a judge in New York state who is hostile to abortion rights. Or to unions! If people had wanted that, they would have voted for Lee Zeldin. They didn't. They voted for a Democrat, they voted to preserve abortion rights and they deserve judges who will protect those rights.

Kansas Planned Parenthood Found A Clever Way To Increase Access To Abortion

Kansas was the state where the anti-abortion movement coalesced. In 1991, during what was called "The Summer of Mercy," forced birth enthusiasts from all over the country came to Wichita to protest the legal right to abortion for 42 days.

Now, in a day and age where legal abortion is no longer the law of the land, the state has become an unlikely refuge for those looking to end their pregnancies. In August, the state voted against making abortion illegal, and because the state is so close to so many other states that have banned the procedure, clinics have been unable to keep up with the demand.

However, just last month a judge blocked a law barring telemedicine abortions in the state, so now Planned Parenthoods are getting creative and allowing out-of-state doctors to prescribe the pills to their patients.


Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates three Kansas clinics, said telehealth appointments with out-of-state doctors will enable them to see more patients. Previously, the Wichita clinic only offered abortion appointments up to a few days per week and primarily relied on flying in doctors from out of town because of a shortage of local physicians willing to handle abortion cases.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Emily Wales said she hopes that turns into five days per week with the telehealth appointments.

“It certainly increases availability when the physician doesn’t have to be sitting in the room doing, functionally, the same thing they would be doing if they weren’t there,” she said.

The state law still requires patients to come into the clinic to get the medication, but there are no rules saying that the doctor prescribing them has to be in the clinic with them.

As bad as things keep getting, we're all going to keep fighting and we're going to find ways to help. Even if we have to get a little creative.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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