Look For The Helpers: Blue States Gear Up To Meet Abortion Needs Of Women In Post-Roe Red State Hellscapes
Understand Mr Rogers GIF

Don't you hate it when you're forced to agree with Ted Cruz?

Here's Texas's filthiest senator mansplaining that nothing will change for leftists like me after Justice Samuel Alito's disgusting leaked opinion becomes the law of the land. And in a sense, he's right.

Nothing will change for me because I live in a blue state where abortion rights will be protected. Also I'm old, and anyway women with money will always be able to get an abortion when we need one. But unlike those rugged psychopaths in the GOP, I actually care about the lives of other people. And for women living in red states, things are about to get much, much worse.

Since Justice Alito's vile opinion leaked last week, red state legislators have been falling all over themselves to propose bills to criminalize birth control, lock women in so they can't leave the state to access abortion care, and intrude ever further into Americans' most private healthcare decisions.

It sucks A LOT. And while the current line is "Abortion won't be illegal, we're just sending it back to the states" -- when was states' rights ever the rallying cry for anti-abortion zealots? -- Mitch McConnell is already rallying the troops for the next front in the culture war, a nationwide abortion ban passed by Congress.

"It’s possible. It would depend on where the votes were,” he said, leaving no doubt that if he can, he will.

But like Mr. Rogers says, when it's all going to shit, you gotta look for the helpers. (Well, more or less.) And today the helpers are in New York, California, and Maryland, where lawmakers and healthcare providers are currently stepping up to the plate for women who won't be able to get their medical needs met in their home states.

Today in New York, Attorney General Letitia James, Democratic State Senator Cordell Cleare, and Democratic Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas announced that they will be backing a bill to establish a Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program to fund abortion care for both New Yorkers and people outside the state who cannot access care at home.

“We know what happens when women are unable to control their own bodies and make their own choices and we will not go back to those dark times,” James said at a press conference this morning, adding that "No matter what happens in the weeks to come, New York will always fight to protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and expand access to this critical and lifesaving care.”

The bill would allow New Yorkers to contribute to the fund on their tax returns and would support childcare and travel costs for people seeking abortions, which will be substantial. MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist recently divorced from Jeff Bezos, recently donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood. As my own nurse-midwife told me, Planned Parenthood will now become a travel agency, arranging passage for women to access safe medical care in blue states when their own state governments are fumbling ever further to find a way back to the dark ages.

Toward that end, the Maryland legislature has now overridden GOP Governor Larry Hogan's veto to pass a law allowing nurses to perform abortions as of July 1. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is training nurses to perform tele-health consultations to prescribe abortion medication to patients across state lines.

In California, where legislators saw this coming in January and proposed 13 bills to make the state a "sanctuary or a refuge for individuals seeking abortions and reproductive health care," lawmakers are expediting the bills to get them passed by mid-summer in anticipation of a flood of patients from out of state seeking care.

"We really need to shore up our access here to make sure we have enough providers that could perform these services," Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, chair of that legislature's women's caucus, told ABC, citing the Guttmacher Institute's finding that the end of Roe would increase the number of women whose nearest provider would be in California from 46,000 to 1.4 million.

So maybe Ted Cruz is wrong after all. Because, although my life won't change, I'll have to dig a little deeper to put my money where my mouth is and step up donations to Planned Parenthood and the National Network of Abortion Funds to ensure that Americans who are not me get the care they need. Because unlike Ted Cruz and his Republican brethren, I do care about people who are not me. And if you're reading this, I bet you do, too.

Don't. Stop. Fighting.


[ABC / Baltimore Sun]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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