News Abortion

North Dakota Abortion Patients Get Unlikely Gift

Robin Marty

The Fargo woman running the project wants to remind women who get abortions that they are not alone.

Often patients will receive cards and flowers after a medical procedure. Now Fargo’s Meg Roberts is experimenting with extending that form of patient care and goodwill to women who have had an abortion.

The Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s sole public abortion center, has decided to extend a pilot program called “Plants for Patients,” where patients are offered plants with handmade notes and homemade ceramic pots to take with them after their procedure has been completed.

Via the Fargo Forum:

[Meg Roberts] chose succulents to place in the cup-like pots because of their wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

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Like the women who come to the clinic, she says, they’re similar but different. They may be there for similar reasons, but their circumstances are different.

“For some women, abortion is a relief, and for others, it’s a tragedy,” she says.

Included with the pots are notes from supporters with messages like, “You are loved. You are beautiful. Today might have been a tough day for you, or it might have been a blessing. Just take it easy for a while. Everything will be fine!”

“Most women are astounded by the fact that they’ve got a handwritten card from a complete stranger,” Roberts says.

According to the Forum, at least two thirds of the patients have taken a plant with them since the program began two months earlier.

News Abortion

Louisiana Legislators Force Three-Day Wait on Patients Seeking Abortion Care

Teddy Wilson

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Thursday signed a bill that tripled the state’s forced waiting period for people seeking abortion care, reported the Associated Press

Edwards made no public statement upon signing the bill. 

HB 386, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe), would extend the waiting period for a patient seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Pregnant people would continue to be exempt from the mandatory waiting period and forced counseling—instituted in 2014—in the case of a medical emergency. Under state law, a medical emergency is defined as when the “continuation of the pregnancy poses an immediate threat and grave risk to the life or permanent physical health of the pregnant woman.”

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The bill includes an exception for pregnant people who certify in writing that they live at least 150 miles from the nearest licensed clinic that provides abortion services. They would be forced to comply with a 24-hour waiting period, not a 72-hour waiting period.

The house passed the bill in April in a 89-5 vote. The measure breezed through the state senate Wednesday with a 34-4 vote. The bill received bipartisan support in both chambers.

Louisiana joins five other states that force pregnant people to wait three days to receive abortion care. Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all have 72-hour waiting periods.

Utah’s 72-hour forced waiting period doesn’t dissuade the vast majority of those seeking abortion care, according to a study published in March. The research concluded that the waiting period just makes the procedure more difficult and expensive to obtain.

A pregnant person should be provided with abortion care as soon as possible once the decision is made to terminate a pregnancy, according to recommendations by the World Health Organization.

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

“Anti-choice politicians in the state have methodically restricted access to abortion and neglected to advance policies that truly address the challenges women and families face every day,” Allen said.

News Politics

Trump Spins Position on Punishing Abortion Patients: They ‘Punish Themselves’

Ally Boguhn

“I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves,” Trump claimed when questioned about saying in March that patients should face “some form of punishment” for receiving abortion care.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in a New York Times Magazine interview published Wednesday tried to spin his controversial suggestion that abortion patients should be punished if the GOP outlaws the procedure.

“I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves,” Trump claimed when questioned about saying in March that patients should face “some form of punishment” for receiving abortion care. “I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back.”

Times contributing writer Robert Draper noted that Trump’s latest explanation seemed unlikely and an alternative take on the issue had been provided by an adviser to the candidate. “A more believable explanation, furnished by a senior adviser for the Trump campaign, is this: Trump, a serial non-apologizer, initially saw nothing wrong with his remark and refused to walk it back,” Draper wrote.

Draper continued:

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Only when every network chief executive and over 100 media outlets besieged the Trump campaign with requests for additional comment on how women should be punished for abortions did the Trump campaign turn to an ally: Chris Christie, whose tenure as the Republican governor of the blue state of New Jersey had given him experience placating both social conservatives and the moderate voters Trump hoped to attract in the general election. A member of Christie’s political team helped draft a statement that essentially repudiated Trump’s earlier one.

The candidate recited his oft-used line to Draper that he was “going to be better to women on women’s issues than Hillary Clinton and everybody else combined,” citing his position that Planned Parenthood does important work. Trump has said he would defund the health-care organization as long as it continued to provide abortion care.

“Frankly, for the general election I think that’s a very good issue for me,” Trump told the magazine.

Though Trump has touted his anti-choice positions on the campaign trail, the candidate’s stances on abortion rights and reproductive health care have repeatedly shifted, leading many to question where he truly stands on the matter.

Anti-choice leaders, however, are supporting the candidate, and even Troy Newman, president of extremist group Operation Rescue, has signaled that he could back Trump.

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