In abortion news!!! Here are some updates and resources
Local prosecutors try to fight back as states restrict abortion access.
Abortion access is under attack nationwide now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. But this week we saw local prosecutors fighting back. Nearly 90 district attorneys and attorneys general vowed to not prosecute those who seek or provide abortions. One of those leaders, Douglas County, Kansas D.A. Suzanne Valdez told MSNBC that she wants her constituents to know that she “would not prosecute crimes involving anyone who sought an abortion or provided an abortion.”
Now federal lawmakers begin hearings on abortion access following end of Roe v. Wade.
Abortion access is at the top of the agenda on Capitol Hill this week.
Federal lawmakers are discussing reproductive health and considering new policies after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.
Tuesday’s hearing focused on the legal consequences of this historic decision. During the hearing, some doctors said this ruling will lead to a public health crisis, while some attorneys say the decision gives states the power to determine abortion access.
“We will see more people be harmed by these decisions,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region and Southwest Missouri.
In Illinois, abortion is still legal and state officials say the number of out-of-state patients has now doubled since the ruling with patients coming as far as Texas and Tennessee.
“I come before you today because people throughout the entire Midwest are relying on our commitment to protect and preserve women’s rights namely the right to an abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.
On the other side of the debate, the director of a pregnancy care center in California says there’s been an increase in violence and threats at these clinics.
“We have been forced to hire 24-hour on-site security. We have had to reinforce doors, bulletproof our walls. We have been forced to expend valuable resources, resources for women of up to $150,000 just to protect ourselves,” Heidi Matzke, executive director of the Alternatives Pregnancy Center.
Matzke said they’re also battling misinformation.
“We charge them nothing, we never financially benefit from any choice a woman makes. We make no profit of any kind off the women who turn to us for help,” said Matzke.
Others are fearful that Black and brown women will face another cost.
“A post-Roe-America will be devasting for Black women whose maternal mortality rate is already two to three times higher than white women,” Lt. Gov. Stratton.
The house just signed a proposal that would protect the right for women to travel to other states for abortion services. Some Democrats say this is in response to some GOP leaders threating to restrict access between states.
A new “strike force” within the state Attorney General’s Office will aim to enforce state laws that protect the right to an abortion, working to make sure that patient confidentiality and personal health information are secure and that patients and providers are not threatened or intimidated by protesters.
The “Reproductive Rights Task Force” announced Monday by acting Attorney General Matt Platkin is intended to ensure the full implementation of laws that give New Jersey some of the strongest protections for abortion right in the United States.
As other states ban or severely restrict abortion after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 49-year right to an abortion in the United States, New Jersey is expected to become a haven for people from those states who are seeking abortions.
Two laws signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on July 1st bar the extradition of people who receive or perform an abortion in New Jersey to those states that restrict or criminalize the procedure, and prohibit public agencies from aiding investigations conducted by those states into abortions provided here.
The new group of attorneys and law enforcement officers within New Jersey’s Department of Law and Public Safety “will ensure that these laws are enforced to the full extent possible, and that we use every available resource to protect access to abortion care in New Jersey,” Platkin said in a statement.
Specifically, it will target individuals who threaten or intimidate patients or providers at clinics that provide reproductive health care and those who violate patient confid
entiality to make sure they are held accountable. The strike force will also undertake investigations to secure the private data of patients and providers and to limit the sharing of personal health-related data with third parties, the announcement said.
About a dozen staff members will be assigned to the strike force, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said, with more included as needed.
"We are aware that there has been an increase in activity outside reproductive health centers, and county prosecutors and local law enforcement are monitoring this," said Steven Barnes, the spokesman. The department is also working with law enforcement "to verify intelligence and threats, cyber or otherwise, to prepare and protect reproductive health centers and their patients," he said.
Abortion is available to patients in New Jersey regardless of the gestational age of the fetus and with no waiting periods or parental notification, if the patient is a minor.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey thanked Platkin for “sending a clear message” that efforts by abortion opponents to deprive patients of safe, legal abortions would not work.
“Everyone should be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment or intimidation,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, the fund’s vice president of public affairs. “The care Planned Parenthood health centers provide isn’t about politics — it’s about their well-being.
On Friday President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Health and Human Services secretary to ensure access to medication abortions, emergency medical care, and contraception and report back to him in 30 days. Biden asked for volunteer lawyers to defend people who travel across state lines for abortions, along with their providers. And he issued new guidelines on protecting the privacy of patient data about reproductive health from surveillance.
I'm glad to see states and people fighting for this. I was very saddened by the news that such an important issue was not discussed (for months and with large coverage) and just let to the decision of a few people that hardly understand its implications. This will be a long battle and unfortunately many women will have to suffer.
Indeed I also think this will be extremely hard on Black women who were already suffering even before this was in effect. It's going to be hard for a lot of women and their families. It's a bad decision all around and I can't believe something like this can happen in 2022! It's beyond imagining!