An Abortion News Roundup
Helping you keep up with the latest
Welcome back Chaise Lounge readers and happy spring to one and all! The trees here in North Carolina are leafing out and nature’s splendor is in full bloom. This week’s newsletter will focus primarily on several stories about the abortion debate looking at the issue from both policy and the personal stakes involved. It’s a messy business with all sorts of devious actors playing with women’s lives. And, it can be hard to pay attention to all of the sub-issues within the broader abortion discussion. I hope that you will find this news round-up informative.
We all think that we know the story of Jewel’s rags to riches story from homelessness to wild success. But according to Jewel, the media has always misreported the story. In an interview in Stereogum, Jewel says that the media has always looked at her career through a “patriarchal lens.” She says that the reason she was homeless was that her boss was withholding her paycheck because she wouldn’t have sex with him. She could not make her car payments, so she ended up homeless. It’s interesting that media sources would not publish that information but instead made up a heartwarming story that would sell more easily. Read the interview to learn more about the *&^% she had to put up with during her career. It is still a story of resilience, but even more poignant when you know the reason why.
At last week’s Grammy Awards, Louis C.K., aka man who masturbates in front of women, was awarded the Best Comedy Album award. Many people were appalled that he would be given the award after several women came forward detailing his penchant for disrobing and pleasuring himself in front of them. This brings up the ongoing conversation as to what should happen to artists who sexually harass others. While I have never enjoyed Louis C.K.’s comedy, I understand that many do, and they are willing to look the other way regarding his behavior. While that is their right, I certainly don’t think that we need to be giving awards to sexual harassers.
Based in San Francisco, Yelp has announced that the company will pay for the travel costs associated with obtaining an out-of-state abortion for their employees and their spouses who live in states where abortion laws are eliminating access to services for all intents and purposes. The company employs 200 people in Texas and says the policy will apply if laws change in other states as well. Citigroup had already announced a similar policy. The draconian abortion bans being cooked up in many state legislatures this year will cause corporate America to have a reckoning with the issue. If they want to recruit the best and brightest, including women, they will need to take a stand. Perhaps the market is the answer to this social justice issue, but I am not holding my breath.
Twenty-six-year-old Lizelle Herrera went to the hospital in Texas while having a miscarriage. One of the hospital employees suspected that she had self-induced the miscarriage and reported it to the police. She was charged with and indicted on murder charges. The problem is, even with SB-8, the mother is exempt from prosecution and the $10,000 penalties are supposed to be awarded in civil court, not a criminal matter. The district attorney realized the error and dropped the charges, which begs the question, how did this happen to begin with? Was the DA’s office trying to send a message? Additionally, there is no way for medical staff to know if someone is having a natural miscarriage or having a miscarriage from taking abortion medication. They are indistinguishable. Finally, Ms. Herrera’s HIPAA rights were violated by whichever hospital employee took it upon themselves to report her. I don’t know if Ms. Herrera is planning a lawsuit, but she certainly has a case to press if she wants to.
In response to the Herrera case, five district attorneys in Texas pledge to not prosecute cases involving personal healthcare decisions. Their powerful statement is below.
Last week, Lauren Handy and eight other anti-abortion activists were charged with federal crimes under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C., preventing people from receiving needed medical services. Police also found 5 fetuses at Handy’s apartment, and she claims that there were over 100 that they had reclaimed from the abortion clinic. She says that they buried the other fetuses in a private cemetery after blessing them. She claims that the five fetuses found in her apartment appeared to be advanced in their gestational age, so she was saving them to see if the clinic had broken partial-birth abortion laws. It is a bizarre and disturbing story that shows just how far the anti-abortion activists will go to further their agenda.
The Associated Press analyzed the federal data surrounding the outcomes for children in all states. They found that the states with the strongest anti-abortion laws have some of the worst outcomes for children. Poverty rates, prenatal care, and domestic violence were just some of the factors they considered. Mississipi has the ignominious title of the top in child poverty rate and low birth weight babies. Texas, meanwhile, is tops in women receiving no prenatal care and second for the proportion of children living in poverty. While some Republican lawmakers claim that they are strengthening adoption services, they are doing nothing to address the issues of the children before they are born. And of course, these states have not expanded Medicaid which would be a first, free, and easy step to addressing the prenatal care and insurance issues. After all, these are “preborn” children according to their rhetoric.
The state law in Texas SB-8 that outlaws abortions beyond the time that a "fetal heartbeat” can be heard has had many challenges. During one of the challenges, a judge stayed the law for a few days, and during that time, abortion funds helped women find abortion services. Now, anti-abortion activists are suing two of the abortion funds claiming that they broke the law. What is chilling about this tactic, is that the anti-abortionists are trying to take away the ability of these funds to help women get out of the state to obtain abortions which is their only recourse.
The Kauffman Family Foundation shared an important analysis of the issues arising when federal and states laws are in competition. In December of last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), permanently lifted the restrictions on a doctor’s ability to prescribe medication abortion pills via telehealth appointments. Patients can now have a telehealth consultation and the doctor can either call the prescription in to a pharmacy or mail them to the patient. This is a huge win for those who live in healthcare deserts. However, many states, North Carolina included, have passed laws that force patients to go to the doctor’s office, wait one or two days, and outlaw telehealth for abortions. There is a legal precedent for suits against these states with a case involving opioids, but so far we have not seen any movement toward a lawsuit.
Just for Fun
If you have ever struggled to write an email with just the right amount of snark, look no further than this TikTok account. Click on the link below the picture to see the video.