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.
“These key races could determine control of a legislature, potentially flip a few legislatures while also driving pro-choice turnout up and down the ballot," said James Owens, states communications director for NARAL.
"When you have so many law enforcement agencies it just opens up that possibility so many more times. We probably have the most unreported cases coming from law enforcement, and of course police shootings are just a subset of that," said Amanda Woog, project director at the Texas Justice Initiative.
“The substantial expense of successfully bringing this fight to the U.S. Supreme Court is just one consequence of Texas’ decision to defend this sham law, which denied women their basic rights and shuttered clinics that are still struggling to reopen,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. The center's attorneys “dedicated thousands of hours” to the legal fight against the unconstitutional measures of HB 2.
“This is a win for the Arkansans who rely on Planned Parenthood of the Heartland for birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential health care,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “Every person deserves access to quality, affordable health care from the provider they know and trust, and today, the court recognized that.”
"These types of extreme proposals are wildly unpopular with the public and have failed every single time they have been put before voters," Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told Broadly. "It's blatantly unconstitutional and shows the true colors of abortion opponents: to punish some who need reproductive health care."
"It's more than a little sad that this is what passes for health care. They're just making it up as they go along, and it's replacing actual clinics that were providing health care," Blake Rocap of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said.
A law supported by Mississippi's Republican legislators would prohibit the Division of Medicaid from reimbursing any entity that provides abortion care, maintains a facility where abortion services are performed, or is affiliated with an entity that provides abortion care.
“This new rule will ensure equal access to the very programs that help to prevent homelessness for persons who are routinely forced to choose between being placed in facilities against their gender identity or living on our streets.” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Justice in May warned North Carolina that HB 2 violated the Civil Rights Act and Title IX. Gov. Pat McCrory then filed a lawsuit against the federal government. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch immediately filed a countersuit.
The U.S. Department of Labor released a study in 2014 showing that many of those affected by wage theft work in service-based positions in the restaurant and hotel industries and were more likely to be women, people of color, and undocumented people.
“Improving our nation’s child-care system will have a compound effect,” said Aleyamma Mathew, director of the Women’s Economic Justice Program of the Ms. Foundation for Women. “Not only on the millions of women in the workforce but on communities and the economy as a whole.”
“The Texas economy is strong but it is leaving too many people behind,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “It is unacceptable that one in six Texas families is faced with choosing between food and other needs because they can’t keep up with the rising cost of living, or lack the resources to weather a crisis.”
New York's Democratic lawmakers have attempted to pass legislation that would amend the state’s law prohibiting abortion care after 24 weeks to include an exception “when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.”
The center will offer "abortion reversal," a concept based on a 2012 study that claimed that medication abortions, a two-pill regimen, were reversed among four of six women included in the study. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has questioned the veracity of the 2012 study.
Briana Alexander, one of the workers who joined the lawsuit, told CNN that during the year she worked at a Chipotle in Miami, she was not paid for time she was forced to work after hours. "Behind the scenes, [Chipotle] is not always what it seems," Alexander said.
"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.
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