Repro Rights Roundup: Things At Least Going Well In California, Michigan, And France!
This week's abortion news is somewhat less terrible than usual.
Texas Is Getting Sued Because Its Bad Law Endangered These Women's Lives
Five women and two doctors of unknown-to-us gender filed a lawsuit in Texas on Monday alleging that the state's ban on abortion put their lives in danger by forcing their doctors to wait until they were at death's door to give them medical care — or forcing them to go to other states to get that medical care regardless. They allege that the law creates confusion and makes doctors less willing to give pregnant patients the care they need for fear of reprisal.
According to the Texas suit brought by the five women and two doctors, one woman, Amanda Zurawski, was forced to wait until she developed blood poisoning before being provided an abortion. The four others had to travel out of state to receive medical care for pregnancy-related complications after doctors recommended an abortion because of the deteriorating condition of the woman, the baby or a twin — care that could not be legally provided in Texas.
“My doctor could not intervene as long as her heart was beating or until I was sick enough for the ethics board of the hospital to consider my life at risk and permit the standard health care I needed at that point,” Zurawski said Tuesday at a news conference, recalling her pregnancy after 18 months of fertility treatment with a baby she named Willow.
The women are asking that the law at least be clarified so that doctors can give patients proper medical care without having to worry about losing their license or being sent to prison.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office reaffirmed his dedication to the state's terrible law, telling the Associated Press he is “committed to doing everything in his power to protect mothers, families, and unborn children, and he will continue to defend and enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature.”
To be clear, he is not protecting mothers or families and is, in fact, doing the exact opposite of that. Forcing people to have children against their will is not protecting them. Forcing families that cannot afford another child to have one anyway is not protecting them. Barring a woman from aborting one twin to save the life of the other, as was the case for one of the plaintiffs, is also not protecting "unborn children."
California Cancels $54 Million Contract With Walgreens Over Abortion Nonsense
This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would no longer be doing business with Walgreens after the company promised 21 state attorneys general that they would not sell Mifepristone in their states or mail Mifepristone to their states — including in several states where abortion remains legal. On Wednesday, Newsom made clear what that meant: California will not be renewing its $54 million contract with the company to provide certain pharmaceutical drugs to California prisons.
“Ironically, we’re the size of 21 states’ populations combined,” Newsom told Politico. “And likely, when the dust settles, we’ll be the fourth largest economy in the world. So, we have, we believe, moral authority, but we also have formal authority and will exercise it in partnership with the Legislature, and in the absence of that, through executive action.”
A spokesperson for Walgreens told the New York Times that they were "disappointed" in California's decision “not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information," adding “Walgreens is facing the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies, and no other retail pharmacies have said that they would approach this situation differently, so it’s unclear where this contract would now be moved."
Yeah, except other pharmacies did not send out letters to these states promising to respect laws that either do not currently exist or are currently in violation of federal law.
First of all, abortion is not (yet) entirely illegal in several of the states in which Walgreens said it would not sell Mifepristone — and in the case of, for instance, Kansas, the people just overwhelmingly reaffirmed protection for abortion via referendum. Second, as of right now, Mifepristone is not technically illegal anywhere. Last year, the Justice Department determined that states would not be allowed to ban the drug and earlier this year determined that the pills can legally be sent in the mail via the US Postal Service regardless of state bans. This is the law right now, meaning that Walgreens would be going above and beyond what they are required to do by law to appease these creeps.
Mifepristone is also used for miscarriage care, Cushing's syndrome, uterine fibroids and endometriosis. It is not the business of the pharmacist to know why someone is taking a particular drug, only if it is going to interact poorly with other drugs they are taking.
PREVIOUSLY: Guess We're Not Shopping At Walgreens Anymore
Gavin Newsom Dumping Walgreens And Any Other Cowards That Cave To Anti-Abortion Fascists
Michigan Won't Be Partying Like It's 1931
The Michigan state Senate voted mostly along party lines on Wednesday (two Republicans in the Detroit suburbs joined the Democrats) to repeal the state's 1931 ban on abortion, which is now being sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office for her signature. The ban never went back into effect after Roe was overturned, thanks to Whitmer's efforts to get a state court to declare it unconstitutional as well as a statewide vote in November in favor of enshrining abortion rights into the state constitution, but getting rid of the 1931 ban entirely has been a major priority for Whitmer and state Democrats.
"These fundamental decisions are so personal — no government should be telling us what to do," Democratic state Senator Rosemary Bayer said on Twitter. "My abortion was necessary to save my life. I'm glad I'm here today because of that, and to be able to vote on this bill and ensure this life-saving healthcare is protected and kept safe and legal here in Michigan."
All abortions are, for the record, life-saving procedures.
Republican Senator Joe Bellino, who will never himself be pregnant, whined in a statement that overturning the bill would eliminate what he considers "commonsense protections for women."
“When people voted on Proposal 3 last year, they were told that it wouldn’t affect commonsense protections for women – but these measures would do exactly that,” said Bellino, R-Monroe. “While Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to strengthen safeguards for women, Senate Democrats are rushing dangerous bills to repeal long-standing protections for women and the unborn.”
Senate Bills 37, 39 and 93 and House Bills 4006 and 4032 would remove guardrails to protect the health and safety of women and the unborn, such as laws regarding the selling of drugs to cause an abortion. SB 2 would repeal a section of law referencing the use of indecent or obscene language in publishing information on contraceptives and abortion-related drugs.
It is unclear how anyone's health would be endangered by someone saying "Fuck Joe Bellino, use birth control or have an abortion if you want" or taking safe, FDA-approved medication for its intended purpose as prescribed by a doctor with far more medical expertise than Republican state Senator Joe Bellino, whose background includes being employed by Bellino’s Quality Beverage and Joe Lake Tire and Auto. Should we be thirsty or in particular need of a new set of hubcaps, however, we will be sure to check in with him.
Droit à L'avortement, S'il Vous Plaît
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday, that the nation would be moving towards enshrining abortion as a constitutional right and that a bill will be sent to Parliament in the coming months.
Abortion rights are not under attack in France the way they are in the United States, though legislators were spooked enough by what happened in our country to want to ensure it never happens in their own. Abortions are also currently free and covered entirely by the national insurance. (The French government pays for 70 percent of all medical care, plus 100 percent for expensive care, long-term care or for low-income patients. Supplemental insurance can be purchased for additional coverage, though most private insurers are non-profit, mutual insurance companies. Their "wait times" are, on average, shorter than ours and yes, they spend far less of their GDP on healthcare than we do.)
It is only fair to note, however, that France only permits abortions up until 14 weeks, which is not good and means women frequently have to travel to the Netherlands or other less restrictive countries.
Although pleased with this development, some feminists are concerned that Macron is just putting this out there at this particular moment to distract from the fact that the government is currently moving to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 — a move they say will hurt women in particular.
The retirement age in the US is 65 for Medicare and 67 for all Social Security benefits. Maybe we should all just move to France?
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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