Teddy Wilson is an independent journalist and Staff Reporter at Rewire. Previously he worked as a reporter and social media manager for Free Speech Radio News, and as a reporter for the Texas Independent. A native Texan and Navy veteran, he is based out of College Station, Texas.
"For many people, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can turn to,” said Barbara Zdravecky, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “We may be the only place they can go in their community, or the only place that offers the screening or birth control method they need. No one should have their basic health care taken away."
Anti-choice activists claim that despite the evidence, the number of complications from abortion is higher than is being reported. States that track abortion care data have shown the procedure to be exceedingly safe.
“Healthy Texas Women funding should be going directly to medical providers who have experience providing family planning and preventive care services, not anti-abortion organizations that have never provided those services," Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a statement.
The Center for Reproductive Rights cited statements made by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) soliciting campaign contributions to support his efforts to “establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”
“I think this story is really a story that we’ve known for a long time which is that too many people are incarcerated,” said Amanda Woog, a postdoctoral legal fellow and Texas Justice Initiative project director. “The other story that is emerging is that a lot of folks have known for some time too, which is that too many people are incarcerated pre-conviction.”
The “A Woman’s Right to Know” pamphlet, published by the state, has not been updated since 2003. The pamphlet includes the medically dubious link between abortion care and breast cancer, among other medical inaccuracies common in anti-choice literature.
GOP-backed "personhood" laws have been an unmitigated failure. Voters in state after state have rejected by wide margins personhood ballot initiatives, and personhood bills have failed to gain traction in many legislatures.
Mirissa Tucker, a senior at Prairie View A&M University, told Rewire that the vigil was to give voice to Sandra Bland and other victims of racism and police brutality. “Sandy still speaks,” Tucker said. “Sandy speaks through us at the Waller County jail.”
"To the extent that similar state laws have different provisions, like those that contain transfer agreements for example, those laws will need to be litigated individually to fall," said Jessica Mason Pieklo, vice president for law and the courts at Rewire. "The good news is that the Supreme Court's decision in Whole Woman's Health provides advocates with a solid foundation to begin those next fights."
Heather Busby, executive director NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, told Rewire in a phone interview that while the Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for reproductive rights, the damage to reproductive health care in Texas cannot be easily undone.
A Rewire analysis has found that while Texas data shows there has been a decline in the number of abortions in the state, data from other neighboring states suggests there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Texans traveling out of state to access abortion care since the passage of HB 2 in 2013.
HB 2797 directs the Oklahoma State Department of Health to develop materials that “provide public information through public service announcements, media and otherwise for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.”
“We are hopeful that the court will strike these laws down too, but it’s just plain irresponsible for politicians to keep forcing doctors to go court just to ensure that they can provide the care that women need,” said Andrew Beck, staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.
A New Orleans activist said that the "Blue Lives Matter" bill allows law enforcement to hide “behind uniforms and badges” despite having a “long and egregious history” of committing acts of violence against communities of color.
“We have this more conservative legislature that really understands the power of using fear as a tactic to drive political wedges to further divide communities and further divide votes,” said Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. “This gives them an open door to move their agenda forward.”
Republican lawmakers have pushed legislation to ban the D and E procedure in several states over the past year. The measures have been copies of bills drafted by the legislation mill known as the National Right to Life Committee.
Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement that the “misguided legislation” was passed after Republican lawmakers suspended debate to silence opposition from Black lawmakers.
NARAL Pro-Choice America this year gave Rhode Island a failing grade on its annual scorecard of states’ reproductive freedom, along with Republican-dominated legislatures in Alabama, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Texas, among others.
"From our perspective, it’s restoring options for women. It’s putting decisions back in the hands of women instead of politicians at the Capitol," said Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs officer at Planned Parenthood.
Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, said the Republican-backed measure "allows state funds to go to organizations providing women with incomplete information or outright misinformation.”
At issue in the challenge of the election results is Article XI, Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution, which states that amendments must be approved by a “majority of all the citizens of the state voting for Governor.”
Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement that the organization is pleased the court agreed that pregnant people should not be subjected to the law while there is an ongoing legal challenge.
“An attack to the Bowl-a-Thon website is an attack on the people who rely on us for help, and an attempt to cut-off resources to those who need them most,” wrote Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
“If another liberal is nominated to the Court then even the reasonable restrictions on abortion, that have been enacted into law through the democratic process, these would be swept away,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Transgender students and their families on Monday delivered petitions to the governor’s office with more than 67,000 signatures urging Tennessee's Republican-held legislature not to pass the legislation.
"Governor Bryant just signed a clear attack on women's health care as part of a plan to ban abortion across the board,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
"It's despicable that anti-choice terrorism knows no bounds," said Laurie Bertram Roberts, board president of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. "They feel emboldened to harass patients at clinics, stalk and harass doctors and clinic staff and their new weapon is cyber terrorism."
Dilation and evacuation bans are a strategy by the anti-choice movement to target specific abortion procedures. Medical professionals criticize these bans as substituting politicians’ agendas for the judgment and expertise of doctors.
Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia) said during the committee hearing that lawmakers had no place inserting themselves in a conversation between a pregnant person and a doctor. "If we put certain restrictions on a woman's choice, will they start looking for that other option?" Dawkins said.
The bill targets a Huntsville-area abortion clinic that was forced by GOP legislators three years ago to relocate across the street from an empty school, which was later renovated and is now the Academy for Academics and Arts.
Sam Brownback, a staunchly anti-choice governor, said in January that he would cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. That came months after the release of deceptively edited, surreptitiously recorded videos smearing Planned Parenthood officials.
Reproductive rights advocates say that should the Court rule in favor of the Texas Department of State Health Services this summer, the second-largest state in the country will be down to nine or ten clinics providing abortion care.
Gov. Mike Pence (R) in July directed the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood-affiliated reproductive health-care clinics in the state, and the investigation concluded that the organization was in compliance with the state’s fetal tissue regulations.
SB 4, sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville), would redefine an "individual, private setting" to mean a “face-to-face meeting with the patient and both parties are physically located in the same room.”
Businesses in New York City would be required to provide freelance employees with contracts or face severe penalties, including jail time, if they did not pay freelance employees, according to a bill introduced this week in the New York City Council.
“The law has not caused major problems for California employers,” says a U.S. Department of Labor report. “The vast majority (roughly 90 percent) report positive effects or no effects in terms of productivity, profitably, retention, and morale.”
The videos were published on the YouTube channel of infamous Internet hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer in coordination with Charles C. Johnson, the controversial conservative activist and publisher of GotNews.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that the actions taken by Texas officials should be a “national scandal” and that the organization would continue fighting back against attempts to restrict women’s reproductive health care.
A rogue physician and former abortion provider has been ordered to appear in court Wednesday to explain why he failed to turn over ownership of his chain of abortion clinics when his license was revoked last year.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission Inspector General Stuart Bowen issued a letter Monday to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, informing the organization that he was ending its participation in the state's Medicaid program.
Each of the five Democratic presidential candidates has supported the Affordable Care Act, but one candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), said during Tuesday's debate he would go a step beyond Obamacare if he won the presidency.
The Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act would require licensed clinics that provide family planning or pregnancy-related services to provide a notice to consumers regarding their reproductive rights.