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“We have a ton of work to do to undo the harm over the last four years,” said Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.

President-elect Joe Biden is poised to roll back several of the Trump administration’s most restrictive sexual and reproductive health policies, including limits on abortion.

Reproductive rights advocates expect Biden to quickly overturn Trump-era rules, like banning federal funds for foreign and national health organizations that promote and provide abortion and giving employers more freedom to deny free contraceptive coverage for their workers.

“We have a ton of work to do to undo the harm over the last four years, but knowing we have champions there who understand what needs to happen in the first 100 days is tremendously exciting,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.

Abortion rights opponents are concerned about the new administration and warn that they will continue to push back.

“It’s certainly disheartening, but we aren’t going to give up, and we will do whatever we can to stop abortion from being promoted,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, who said she expects a wave of abortion restrictions at the state level this year.

Biden is a devout Roman Catholic, and his position on abortion has evolved throughout his career. Most recently, in 2019, he dropped his long-standing support of the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old policy restricting federal funding for abortions, after having faced mounting criticism. He has also vowed to codify Roe v. Wade and to fight state-level policies limiting access to abortion.

Here are some of the ways Biden has indicated he will restore and improve access to reproductive care:

The Mexico City Policy

The Reagan administration implemented the Mexico City Policy, which barred foreign organizations that receive U.S. family planning assistance from providing information, referrals or services for abortions. Since then, it has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and then restored by Republicans.

When President Donald Trump reinstated the policy, he also expanded it by applying the restrictions to nearly all federal global health assistance. Trump’s hard-line stance on abortion forced organizations that treat HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases to comply or lose funding.

“The Trump administration launched a wholesale assault on sexual and reproductive health across the world by buying up providers and limiting the services that they can offer to women,” said Jonathan Rucks, senior director of policy and advocacy at PAI, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Trump’s move led to reduced access to abortion care, along with contraception, HIV testing and treatment and cancer screening in Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria and South Africa, according to a 2019 study.

While Biden pledged to quash the Mexico City Policy, abortion rights advocates are calling on Congress to pass the Global HER Act, which would permanently prohibit the rule.

The Title X program

The Title X program, which was established 50 years ago, helps fill in gaps in health care access and affordability by providing family planning assistance to clinics serving low-income and uninsured people in the U.S. Specifically, it offers grants to providers that fund services like contraception, pregnancy tests and STD screenings. However, it has never funded abortion care.

In 2019, the Trump administration blocked clinics in the program from referring people to abortion providers or performing abortion procedures with other funds. Consequently, the number of clinics and patients served by the program dropped dramatically. A quarter of Title X sub-recipients and sites left the network, including independent clinics and Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood health centers served 40 percent of all Title X patients before it withdrew from the program, according to the organization.

“It’s not like there is a lot of money out there for providing services for family planning, and anything that restricts funding and support has the impact of reducing access,” said Alina Salganicoff, senior vice president and director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

As a result of the mass exodus of providers from the program, the Office of Population Affairs, the federal agency that operates the program, reported that the number of people served by the Title X program in 2019 was 21 percent lower than in 2018.

Biden is expected to dial back the Trump administration rule and “restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”

The contraceptive coverage mandate

The contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act required most private insurance plans to cover birth control without copayments; the requirement increased access to contraception and made it affordable for millions.

Most women will use birth control at some point, and 86 percent have used three or more methods by their early 40s, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research institute.

However, Trump rolled back the reach of the contraception mandate, allowing any employer with a religious or moral objection to birth control to be exempt from the requirement. Last summer, the Supreme Court upheld the exemptions in the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania.

“Although everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, those beliefs should never be used to discriminate against others, including by taking away their health insurance coverage. No one should be denied birth control coverage because of where they work or where they go to school,” said Georgeanne Usova, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Biden said he would restore the Obama-era policy, which exempts only houses of worship but provides an accommodation for other objecting employers, which allows their employees and dependents access to contraceptive coverage through their insurance companies or third-party administrators.

The Hyde Amendment

For decades, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited federal programs from paying for abortions, except in the case of rape or incest or to save the life of the woman. While the amendment originally applied only to Medicaid recipients, most of whom are part of communities of color or are categorized as low-income, Congress extended it to apply to federal employees and their dependents, military personnel, the Indian Health Service, Peace Corps volunteers and residents of Washington, D.C.

“The Hyde Amendment is an attack on low-income families and an attempt to take away the promise of Roe v. Wade. For many, abortion care has been a right only in name and not in practice, because if you can’t actually afford it, the legal right is moot,” said Kelsey Ryland, co-director of the All* Above All abortion coverage campaign.

Those covered by Medicaid in 34 states and D.C. have minimal abortion coverage because of the Hyde Amendment, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In that case, the cost of an abortion is often a significant financial barrier. On average, the cost of an abortion procedure is about $500; nearly 40 percent of Americans can’t cover an unexpected $400 expense. Meanwhile, 16 states use their own funds to pay for abortions for those insured by Medicaid, including California, Illinois and New Mexico.

Since 1976, the amendment, which isn’t a permanent statute and doesn’t require a repeal, has been added every year to legislation passed by Congress to fund the federal government. Biden has vowed to end the policy, which he once supported, but it would require congressional action to eliminate it.

“The work that we all need to be doing right now is making sure that we are expanding access to health care, not finding ways to limit it,” said McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-readies-sweeping-rollback-trump-era-abortion-crackdown-n1254552?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR3ZSWh8hzHP824p3hG4V9kWRxqYhqY-0HCwXl8FBCgWmznvDCy2LlX2pd0


Last week, the world watched in horror as a pro-Trump mob, urged by the President himself, attacked the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Thousands of angry people, rushed the Capitol building, overwhelming the law enforcement officers who were staged outside. They smashed windows and broke down doors; thousands of them flooded into the Capitol building itself. For several hours, they occupied congressional offices and triumphantly paraded through the House and Senate floors, wreaking havoc and calling for violence against and death for politicians and police officers, alike. By the end of the seditious melee, five people were dead.

One of the people there was John Brockhoeft, who posted online about his presence at the Capitol. Brockhoeft isn’t just any Trump supporter. He’s also a convicted anti-abortion terrorist.His presence wasn’t a coincidence, but an example of the long-standing crossover between anti-abortion and white supremacist terrorist movements, and how America’s complacency around both has helped pave the way for this moment of terrifying insurrection. 

There were other anti-abortion activists who were involved in the attack, according to a NARAL report. One of them was Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-choice extremist, who was present during Trump’s speech inciting the riot. Another was Taylor Hansen, an anti-choice activist connected to a group called Baby Lives Matter, who posted violent videos to Twitter during the riots.

As long as abortion has been legal in this country, it has been under siege. Since 1977, there have been 11,905 acts of violence against abortion providers, including 42 bombings, 189 arsons, and 11 assassinations. Clinics have experienced more than 700,000 incidents of disruption. 

These acts of violence and harassment grew steadily over decades, as anti-abortion extremists saw how little retribution they faced for escalated their tactics. In 1982, Joseph Scheidler, an anti-abortion activist who literally wrote the book on how to harass abortion patients and staff, hired a private detective to find a teenager’s address and then harangued her mother from an adjacent balcony to talk her out of an abortion. Scheidler inspired Randall Terry, another anti-abortion extremist, to found Operation Rescue — a radical, direct-action anti abortion group — in 1987. Terry once proclaimed, “If you think abortion is murder, then act like it’s murder.” He also led thousands of people in massive blockades at abortion clinics, chaining themselves to doors, laying down in front of traffic, gluing locks — anything to prevent the clinic from operating. Law enforcement’s presence was often lax or non-existent; in San Francisco, it took the police two hours just to show up after the blockade began.

Operation Rescue was able to shut down clinics across the country and terrorize abortion patients, unchecked by the federal government, for nearly a decade. That sense of complacency among lawmakers and apathy on the part of some law enforcement officials helped fuel the dramatic rise and escalation in anti-abortion extremism. By 1993, just two decades after Roe v. Wade was decided, anti-abortion extremists had escalated from picketing to stalking to blockading to bombing to assassination.

Brockhoeft came of age as an extremist in that environment. He bombed two abortion clinics in Cincinnati in 1985, and was convicted three years later of attempting to bomb an abortion clinic in Florida. He was out of prison by 1995 and further embraced the far-right. In April 2020, he was spotted outside the Ohio Statehouse, surrounded by armed, right-wing extremists, aggressively protesting the COVID-19 shutdown order.

Much has been made of the racist double standard that law enforcement displayed in their response toward the Capitol rioters as compared to how they dealt with Black Lives Matter protesters. A video appeared to show Capitol police officers opening the protective gates around the building, allowing a swarm of pro-Trump rioters to march past. Once the mob had successfully broken in, a Capitol police officer, in full uniform and a neon vest, posed for a selfie with a rioter. The mob kept moving, marching toward their next site of desecration.

It was a harrowing moment of familiarity between law enforcement and law breaker, one that is well known in abortion rights circles. In August 1979, a Fort Wayne, Indiana abortion clinic received a bomb threat. The city refused to dispatch either police or fire officials, forcing clinic staff to search for the bomb themselves. Nearly 40 years later, Becca Ballenger, a clinic escort in New York City, called in a complaint about protesters violating the 15-foot buffer zone at the clinic. When he arrived, she told Refinery29, she watched the responding officer approach the violator, shake his hand, and give him a hug. He then turned to the group of clinic escorts and said, “What are you doing to restrict their First Amendment rights today?”

When law enforcement refuses to take anti-abortion harassment and violence seriously, even if it’s only in certain cities, it signals their tolerance of that behavior. But it’s not just law enforcement––our cultural complacency around anti-abortion terrorism has helped normalize what should be unthinkable. The image of sweet grandmothers quietly praying the rosary and polite teenagers, standing alone with a gentle sign (a la Juno) belie the very real aggression and violence that has always existed. Under the Trump administration, clinics have reported receiving an increasing number of harassment, threats, and violence. As a clinic escort myself, I’ve seen the rhetoric and behavior outside the clinic shift, with harsher, more openly racist rhetoric from increasingly angry men wearing a mix of “Abortion is Murder” T-shirts and “Make America Great Again” red hats. It’s no coincidence that at the same time, white nationalist groups have risen by 55% over the last few years, emboldened by a President who called them “very fine people” after rioting in Charlottesville. 

If you asked yourself, “How did this happen? Where did these people come from?” while watching the riot unfold, ask yourself another question: When was the last time you saw what was happening outside an abortion clinic? When was the last time you really paid attention? When was the last time you just ignored someone spouting well-known falsehoods about abortion, about Black Lives Matter, about the results of the 2020 election? We hear so much about “breaking out of our siloes,” but we don’t have to excuse right-wing extremism to see it happening. At the very least, we have to start acknowledging that it’s happening, that it’s been happening, and many of us just haven’t cared enough to speak up because it didn’t affect us. Until it did.

Conspiracy theories and outlandish rhetoric aren’t without consequences, particularly when encouraged by those in power. In 2015, anti-abortion extremists launched a highly visible smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, featuring doctored videos that accused the organization of illegally selling fetal body parts. It was absurd and completely untrue, but that didn’t stop Congressional Republicans from embracing the conspiracy theory, decrying Planned Parenthood, and opening an investigation into the organization. Just a few months later, Robert Dear opened fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing three people, including a security guard. Dear confessed that he was “upset with them performing abortions and the selling of baby parts,” a direct reference to the cooked-up, anti-abortion smear campaign — a conspiracy theory that certainly has echoes in other far-right conspiracies like QAnon

President Trump has been booted off various social media platforms, but he doesn’t need a Twitter account to continue to fuel the the same kinds of wild conspiracy theories that led Robert Dear to murder three people. He doesn’t need a video on Facebook to incite his supporters to ever-more rabid and racist violence. The coup attempt at the Capitol wasn’t inevitable––it was entirely preventable. But not without a justice system that prioritizes the rights and lives of the marginalized. Not with police officers who pose for selfies and even join the insurrectionist riot. Not with city officials ignoring credible bomb threats. Not without each of us decrying right-wing fascism and violence, no matter who the target may be.

Source: https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/01/10265551/anti-abortion-terrorism-capitol-riot-attack

The significance of the Biden-Harris administration for the world’s women and girls cannot be overstated. The current status of women and girls is grim. The COVID-19 pandemic and four years of dangerous policies designed to strip women and girls of their reproductive and economic autonomy and punish them—first for their biology, and second for their gender—have slowed and even reversed decades of progress toward gender equity. Systemic racism and policies meant to further exclude and disenfranchise minority communities have targeted women of color with tragic results.

Long have women (and allies) chanted for gender equity, for an end to men making laws controlling women’s reproductive rights, for full participation in all aspects of society, and for supportive domestic and foreign policies. For these goals to be realized, women and people of color must have a seat at the table and a voice in decision-making. The elected Biden-Harris administration appears to be setting itself up to change history with their “aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.” They aren’t shying away from the realities of 2020 America—they are facing them with what may just be a watershed moment for the U.S. government—gender parity in the President-elect’s Cabinet.

Historically, the status of women and girls has been disappointing at best and devastating at its worst.  Currently, one in three women worldwide will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime, approximately 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are not in school, and one in five girls are likely to marry before she turns 18. Some 218 million women in low- and middle-income countries have an unmet need for modern contraception, leading to more than 35 million unsafe abortions each year.  Women continue to make 77 cents to every dollar men make and in addition to their paid work and the challenges against them, women do at least twice as much unpaid care work as men, including housework, child care, and elder care.

Over the past four years, sexual and reproductive health and rights were, at a minimum, neglected, and more often, systematically challenged and undermined by the Trump administration. As a result, women, families, and nations suffered. For example, the Trump administration cut millions of dollars in funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN agency focused on reproductive and maternal health care. The Trump administration has also undertaken an “unprecedented expansion” of the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy), which prohibits non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. federal assistance from providing abortion services. This expansion has had “devastating impacts” both on individuals seeking health services and on countries’ public health systems as a whole.

Pre-pandemic, women held more jobs in the U.S. economy than men. Women still faced wage gaps and were more likely to hold part-time positions, but they were making substantial progress in the U.S. workforce. However, the economic fallout of the pandemic has landed more heavily on women, jeopardizing this progress. In September 2020, six months after the onset of COVID-19 in America and the related shutdowns, 865,000 women left the workforce (four times the number of men), with Black and Latina women being disproportionately affected. In December 2020, the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs. Every single one of them was lost by a woman. And actually, the numbers are worse. 156,000 women lost their jobs in December, but men gained 16,000 jobs, bringing the overall loss to 140,000. Even to a gender equity novice, such a stark contrast clearly illustrates that policies and protections for women are grossly inadequate.

Since the early days of his campaign, President-elect Biden has emphasized the importance of, and commitment to, building an administration that looks like America. He began fulfilling this promise when he selected Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as his Vice President, and he has continued this trajectory with the selection of his Cabinet. “This Cabinet will be the most representative of any Cabinet in American history,” Biden declared at a December event. “We’ll have a Cabinet of barrier breakers, a Cabinet of firsts.” So far, Biden’s nominations reflect his words. He and Harris have included a historic number of firsts in their lists of nominated cabinet members, including former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQI+ Cabinet appointee; Janet Yellen and Avril Haines, the first women to hold the role of Treasury Secretary and Director of National Intelligence, respectively; and retired Army General Lloyd Austin and Michael Regan, the first Black men to serve as Defense Secretary and Head of the EPA, to name only a few. In total, Biden has nominated a record-breaking 14 people of color and 12 women to Cabinet-level posts. If all of these nominees are confirmed, Biden’s Cabinet could also be the first in history to have at least as many women as men.

There are more firsts to come, and their impact promises to be powerful. Diversity of perspectives and lived experiences leads to policies that better meet the diverse needs of the American people and the world. Having Alejandro Mayorkas, a child of immigrants, head the Department of Homeland Security is significant, given the growing mistreatment of undocumented immigrants under the Trump administration. Having Representative Deb Haaland, an Indigenous woman, as the Secretary of the Interior is especially notable because the Department of the Interior determines policy for federally-owned natural resources and tribal lands. And having a woman head the Treasury could bring a different policy perspective that may be especially beneficial given the impacts of COVID on women’s work and economic standing.

Beyond his Cabinet selections, President-elect Biden has a strong record working for global women’s rights. As vice president, he worked closely with President Obama to address gender-based violence across the world. They created the first U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally; the first U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security; as well as the first U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls. Also, in 2007, Biden introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), which offered a comprehensive approach to gender-based violence globally.

So what can we expect from Biden’s first 100 days?

By expanding protection for survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault, recognizing the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and increasing women’s economic security and political participation the Biden administration will, in its first 100 Days, begin to improve the status of women and girls worldwide. As we approach Day 1 of the Biden-Harris Era, the groundwork has been laid for historic change in our nation and a reorienting of American leadership worldwide.

Source: https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2021/01/biden-harris-white-house-women-girls-everything/

This week, the Supreme Court issued its first abortion related-ruling since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined its ranks in October. In a ruling issued Tuesday, the court found that patients seeking medication abortions must pick up the pills in person, which advocates argue will prevent patients from accessing the medication — and thus, abortion care — at all.

The court’s majority ruling reinstates a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that had, until July, prevented mailing the medication. The July ruling by a lower court federal judge found that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, patients should not have to travel long distances to access medication or be required to pick up medications in person.

Writing on behalf of the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that it was unclear whether it was within the court’s reach to comment on FDA rules and regulations, and that the issue of medication abortion should be left to what he called “politically accountable entities” with the background and knowledge needed to comment on health care issues. Advocates argue that the majority ruling sidesteps the fact that forcing patients to travel and seek medication abortion pills in person essentially functions as an abortion restriction.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed with the majority opinion, writing that the rule reversal will pose an “undue burden” on accessing abortion, which the landmark case Roe v. Wade is supposed to protect against. Based on her dissent, which was joined by Justice Elena Kagan, it seems that Sotomayor also disagreed with the justification that the judicial system should not comment on health care matters, as Roberts claimed. “Of the over 20,000 FDA-approved drugs, mifepristone is the only one that the FDA requires to be picked up in person for patients to take at home,” Sotomayor wrote. “The FDA’s policy imposes an unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational, and undue burden on women seeking an abortion during the current pandemic.”

Advocates for abortion access, like the women of color-led abortion justice organization All* Above All, claim that the ruling will disproportionately harm abortion patients who are already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic. “This [Supreme Court] ruling to restrict telehealth options for medication abortion care will fall hardest on people of color, people who live in rural areas, and those working to make ends meet,” the organization wrote on Twitter.

In fact, most people who seek abortion care are already parents, suffer from lower incomes, and face a maze of other challenges produced by racist and classist systems that result in health care inequities. Though the court’s majority opinion appears as if it offers concern for the health of abortion patients, ReproAction, a reproductive justice organization, said that the ruling is instead a practice in usurping patient’s ability to make decisions for themselves.

“In the same night, SCOTUS decided to execute a mentally ill woman and reinstate unnecessary abortion restrictions,” the organization wrote in a tweetalluding to the federal execution of Lisa Montgomery. “There is nothing ‘pro-life’ about these actions, advanced by a court hand-picked by conservatives allegedly to protect life. That’s a lie: It’s about power and control.”

Source: https://www.mic.com/p/with-justice-barrett-on-the-bench-scotus-just-issued-its-first-anti-abortion-ruling-57614691?fbclid=IwAR1lvo8yKHahM8K-_h5Wm_ewJxiY_69KVcnf4ha2XjJyCIyFyMPJ16RW_5I

Argentina shows us there’s a kinder way to treat rape survivors with dignity.

Abortion legalization in Argentina is a reminder that in the United States and everywhere, we don’t have to settle for stigma and barriers that violate and endanger pregnant people and people who have survived sexual violence.
 Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

In a monumental step forward for human rights, at the end of 2020 Argentina fully legalized abortion care through the 14th week of pregnancy. Previously, Argentina permitted abortion only in cases of incest and rape or to save the life of the pregnant person. This victory was not sudden—it was a product of decades of grassroots organizing. And organizers’ victory provides a model for abortion rights advocates in the United States.

Abortion legalization in the deeply Catholic country reminds us of the transformative power of not just grassroots organizing, but also organizing without compromise—that means without making someone’s bodily autonomy contingent on how a pregnancy was conceived. In the United States, while abortion has been technically legal since 1973, not only is care widely unavailable due to hundreds of state and federal restrictions, but access is often conditional due to abortion restrictions with rape exceptions.

To usher in 2021, several U.S. state legislatures are already introducing and passing new restrictions, like Ohio’s latest law requiring costly burials for aborted fetuses. Argentina has provided a bold model of full legalization, and it’s time to fight for the same in the United States. That means refusing to accept the invasiveness and cruelty of making abortion access dependent on exceptions for rape, and recognizing that the struggles for reproductive justice and survivor justice are inextricably connected.

In recent years, state and federal lawmakers have introduced and passed a wide range of bans and restrictions, including bills to restrict abortion coverage and prohibit care at varying stages of pregnancy. These bills often come with exceptions for incest and rape. Abortion opponents have routinely weaponized the rape exception to make their cruel, extreme legislation seem more humane and compassionate.

This exception raises critical questions that too often go unasked—like how survivors with unwanted pregnancies are supposed to prove they were raped to law enforcement and doctors; whether they feel comfortable and safe doing so; and whether the rape exception can actually protect them if doctors and law enforcement don’t believe them. Rather than supporting survivors’ ability to get abortion care, the rape exception creates dangerous barriers for survivors, and instead benefits anti-choice politicians by improving the moral optics of violent and inhumane abortion bans and restrictions.

Rape exceptions to abortion restrictions send the false message that coming forward about one’s experience with rape, proving this experience to law enforcement and doctors, and seeking care are easy and simple. On all fronts, we know this isn’t true: One in five women experience rape or attempted rape—with women of color and LGBTQ folks more vulnerable to violence—and an estimated 65 percent to 85 percent of sexual assaults aren’t reported. One key reason survivors cite for not reporting their assaults is fear of being disbelieved and punished. The over-simplicity of the rape exception to abortion bans obscures this truth.The United States continues to ban federal coverage of abortion care in order to prioritize a narrow minority’s personal and religious views over the health and autonomy of pregnant people.

Among anti-choice politicians, there’s little consensus on whether there should ever be exceptions to abortion bans. In 2019, white nationalist and former Iowa Rep. Steve King came under fire from across the political spectrum for arguing against the rape exception. Yet there was something sorely missing from this discourse: that abortion bans are violent and inhumane, with or without an exception that’s far more symbolic than effective in supporting survivors.

Survivor justice and reproductive justice are both rooted in a fundamental demand for autonomy and safety in one’s own body, home, and community. Any and all abortion bans and restrictions that push care out of reach serve to violate women and pregnant-capable people, exceptions or not. Similarly, rhetoric that insists people with unwanted pregnancies “take responsibility” dangerously equates consent to sex with consent to pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.

Abortion legalization in Argentina presents other contrasts with the state of care in the United States. Even though the country is deeply Catholic, abortion in Argentina will be covered by the government free of cost, all while the United States continues to ban federal coverage of abortion care in order to prioritize a narrow minority’s personal and religious views over the health and autonomy of pregnant people.

The myriad restrictions on abortion and the deep stigma in the United States have also increasingly rendered pregnant people vulnerable to criminalization and suspicion for miscarriages, stillbirths, and self-managed abortions, with several women of color investigated, charged and even jailed for pregnancy losses in recent years.

Abortion legalization in Argentina is a reminder that in the United States and everywhere, we don’t have to settle for stigma and barriers that violate and endanger pregnant people and people who have survived sexual violence. And we certainly don’t have to settle for laws that punish survivors by forcing them to come forward about their traumas to get health care.

Source: https://rewirenewsgroup.com/article/2021/01/13/what-the-united-states-can-learn-from-argentinas-abortion-victory/

Protective fencing surrounds the Supreme Court building in Washington ahead of the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration. (Al Drago/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed with the Trump administration and reinstated requirements that women seeking medication abortions receive the drugs in person at a clinic, setting aside a judge’s ruling that protocol was dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic.

The administration sought to reinstate rules by the Food and Drug Administration that women pick up the abortion pills at a medical facility — rather than receive them by mail or delivery — even though there is no requirement they take the medication in such a setting. Most take the pills that end a pregnancy in its early stages at home.

The court’s three liberals objected to reimposing the requirements, which a lower court had eased during the pandemic in an effort to protect women and health workers.

“This country’s laws have long singled out abortions for more onerous treatment than other medical procedures that carry similar or greater risks,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan. She seemed to hold out hope the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will change the policy.AD

“One can only hope that the government will reconsider and exhibit greater care and empathy for women seeking some measure of control over their health and reproductive lives in these unsettling times.”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer also noted his dissent, but did not join Sotomayor’s opinion.

The court’s conservative majority did not explain its reasoning, as is common in emergency applications. But it has been strengthened by the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court since it last considered the issue and refused to reinstate the requirements.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote separately to say he went along with the decision to dissolve the lower court’s stay out of respect for government experts.

“My view is that courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health,’ ” Roberts wrote, referring to an opinion he wrote upholding state limits on attendance at church worship services.AD

“In light of those considerations, I do not see a sufficient basis here for the district court to compel the FDA to alter the regimen for medical abortion.”

A federal judge this summer had found the rules to be cumbersome and dangerous during the pandemic.

The Supreme Court in the fall told U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland to reconsider in light of current conditions. But he said last month that the health risks have “only gotten worse.”

He stood behind the nationwide injunction he put in place.

“While the progress on vaccines and medical treatments for COVID-19 are cause for optimism and may advance the day that the Preliminary Injunction will no longer be warranted, the impact of these advances to date has not meaningfully altered the current health risks and obstacles to women seeking medication abortions,” he wrote.AD

Doctors and abortion providers who brought the suit said the government had not shown there was a good reason to retain the rules, as other more dangerous drugs were dispensed without an in-person visit.

The government asks for “the extraordinary step of staying a preliminary injunction that protects patients and health-care providers from life-threatening COVID-19 risks” they told the court.

“It is mind-boggling that the Trump administration’s top priority on its way out the door is to needlessly endanger even more people during this dark pandemic winter — and chilling that the Supreme Court allowed it,” Julia Kaye, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement Tuesday. Biden’s administration, she added, “must right this wrong on day one and hold firm to its commitment to support both evidence-based regulations and reproductive freedom.”AD

Medication abortions require taking two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. They have been in use since 2000, and in 2016 the FDA eliminated the requirement that the first drug be administered in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. FDA experts said it was just as safe for a woman to take the medications at home.

But the FDA did not relax the requirement that women pick up the pills in person and sign for them.

Sotomayor said the longtime restriction made no sense.

“Of the over 20,000 FDA-approved drugs, mifepristone is the only one that the FDA requires to be picked up in person for patients to take at home,” Sotomayor wrote.

She said that government agencies during the pandemic have eased restrictions on picking up other drugs in person.

“As a result, government policy now permits patients to receive prescriptions for powerful opioids without leaving home, yet still requires women to travel to a doctor’s office to pick up mifepristone, only to turn around, go home, and ingest it without supervision,” Sotomayor wrote.

She called the policy an “unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational, and undue burden on women seeking an abortion during the pandemic.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-medication-abortion/2021/01/12/3720192c-4617-11eb-a277-49a6d1f9dff1_story.html?fbclid=IwAR3cKTB_Wa-cfLvgQMO42Po3aNTMyFMM6uyRoEduGhTNiKC0QWgUJ-aZ7HE

Texas officials cited a need to preserve medical supplies as a reason to crack down on abortions. A new study finds that many Texans left the state during this time seeking the procedure.

After Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that postponed all non “immediately, medically necessary” surgeries expired in May, second-trimester abortions increased 61%. Credit: Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

The number of Texas residents who went out of state to receive abortions leapt from 157 in February to 947 in April, after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all procedures not “immediately, medically necessary” be postponed to contend with the nascent coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The number of abortions performed in Texas plummeted 38% in April 2020 when compared to the previous year. But after the order had expired in May, second-trimester abortions increased 61% likely reflecting “delays in care among those who waited for an appointment and facilities’ limited capacity to meet backlogged patient need,” the researchers found. Abortions performed later during a pregnancy are safe, but have a greater risk for complications and may need more appointments, the study said.

The study relied on data from 30 out of 37 open facilities in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico, and from 18 out of 24 facilities in Texas that provide more than 90% of abortions in the state.

The governor’s order, which went into effect March 22, “put additional barriers in place” compounding restrictions Texas already has on abortion access, said Kari White, an author of the study, and lead investigator of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Another author of the study, Dr. Robin Wallace, was among several abortion providers who this spring challenged Abbott’s executive order, which Attorney General Ken Paxton said extended to abortions. The case pingponged between a district judge and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before the ban on nearly all abortions in Texas lifted April 22.

Another author, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, an abortion provider, has sued state officials over access to abortion.

A second research brief published by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project said clinics canceled and rescheduled hundreds of appointments while the governor’s order was in effect and as the courts issued a flurry of different rulings.

In interviews with 10 people seeking access to an abortion, the brief said most had “to delay their abortion visits until they were past the 10-week limit for medication abortion, which many women prefer” and which can be cheaper. Half had an abortion performed, with one 26-year-old, who was unable to get a pill-induced abortion or travel out of state to get the procedure, telling the researchers she felt depressed and afraid.

A 30-year-old nursing student traveled more than 700 miles to New Mexico where she got an abortion after “learning her fetus had significant anomalies,” the brief said. She felt feverish on her return trip and was worried she had been exposed to the virus.

“For all of the people that we talked to, it was a time period where they were facing a lot of economic insecurity. They didn’t necessarily know when the next paycheck was coming in. They were confused about what was really happening in the state in terms of their ability to get services, and they found it very stressful to remain pregnant and try to figure out what they were going to do,” White said. “And that was true, regardless of whether or not they were able to get an abortion or whether or not they ended up continuing their pregnancy.”

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project’s researchers “evaluate the impact of legislation and policies in Texas related to family planning and abortion” and has received funding from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and the Society of Family Planning, which says it supports abortion and contraception research. The foundation is one of the largest private funders of sexual and reproductive health work and has given money to pro-abortion access groups, according to media reports. Funders don’t design, interpret or approve the project’s research, it says.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/04/texas-abortions-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR1vvpcbIpX4ZRKDloa2km0ctc5xQxnE5go0_2RiapDJN4sSI_1BK9GZAFM

Biden has pledged to return the U.S. to a government-wide focus of uplifting the rights of women and girls around the world. Here’s how.

Joe Biden accepts the nomination for the Democratic ticket for president in Wilmington, Del., on Aug 20, 2020. (Adam Schultz / Biden for President)

Women across the world experience health disparities, economic discrimination, political exclusion and violence. Globally, women earn just 58 percent of men’s wages for similar work and are more likely than men to live in poverty. The majority of women work in the informal economy, without employment contracts or benefits, and with few legal rights or social protections. On top of paid work, women do at least twice as much unpaid care work as men, including housework, child care and elder care.

Girls are denied education and married off at young ages. Approximately 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are not in school; one in five girls are likely to marry before she turns 18.

Women also experience astonishing rates of violence. One in three women worldwide will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime, with higher rates in some countries. Women experience sex and labor trafficking, “honor” killings, genital cutting and rape as a weapon of war. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased violence against women globally.

The Trump presidency has made matters worse by withdrawing U.S. support from critical international programs to protect the health and safety of women and girls around the world.

On his first day in office, Trump reinstated and expanded the global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy), which prohibits foreign nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortions, or from advocating for abortion law reform, even with their own non-US funds.

Trump then suspended U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which addresses violence against women globally. He co-sponsored and signed an anti-abortion global pact called the “Geneva Consensus Declaration” that denies the international human right to abortion, and withdrew the US from the World Health Organization (which supports reproductive rights) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee consensus that promotes safe, legal and affordable access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. His State Department ceased reporting on reproductive health in the annual human rights Country Reports.

What Women Can Expect from a Biden Presidency: On Global Women’s Rights
A protest in London’s Trafalgar Square against Donald Trump’s visit to the U.K. on July 12, 2018. (Alisdare Hickson / Flickr)

President-Elect Joe Biden has pledged to reverse course and pursue an “aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.” Biden has provided details for how he will accomplish this pledge in an ambitious platform for women’s rights focused in five areas: health careeconomic securitywork and familyviolence against women, and protect and empower women across the globe.

After four years of the Trump administration aggressively rolling back women’s rights at home and abroad, Biden has his work cut out for him.

Biden has a strong record working for global women’s rights. As vice president, Biden worked closely with President Obama to address gender-based violence across the world. They created the first U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security; the first U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally; as well as the first U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls.

In 2007, Biden introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which offered a comprehensive approach to gender-based violence globally. The Obama-Biden administration implemented many of the law’s provisions through executive actions. Biden has demonstrated his commitment to addressing women’s rights globally.

The global women’s rights prong of Biden’s agenda for women includes:

  • restoring U.S. support for women’s global health,
  • supporting women’s economic security,
  • boosting their political empowerment,
  • combatting violence against women globally, and
  • pursuing ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Biden has pledged to return the U.S. to a government-wide focus of uplifting the rights of women and girls around the world.

Health Care

Biden has pledged to rescind the global gag rule and supports the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act to permanently repeal the global gag rule and the Helms Amendment (which bans U.S. funding for safe abortion internationally).

Whereas the Trump administration withdrew U.S. support for international organizations supporting sexual and reproductive health rights globally, the Biden administration has pledged to re-join the World Health Organization and re-fund the UN Population Fund, which works to end female genital mutilation and cutting, early and forced marriage, and other practices detrimental to the health of women and girls. Biden has pledged that his State Department will resume monitoring human rights abuses that disproportionately impact women and girls, including maternal mortality and unmet contraceptive needs.

Advocates also hope that Biden will exit the anti-abortion “Geneva Consensus Declaration” and rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Committee consensus.

Economic Security

A core pillar of the Biden administration’s proposed solutions to increase economic opportunity centers around building upon the Obama-Biden Administration work to promote and increase accessibility to girls’ education as a pathway to exiting the cycle of poverty. COVID-19 has exacerbated economic inequality across the globe, with a disproportionate effect on women.

What Women Can Expect from a Biden Presidency: On Global Women’s Rights
A Congolese girl carrying several pounds of water on her head. In 2012, just 62 percent of girls 15 years and older were literate, compared to 88 percent rate for young males. (Woody Collins / Flickr)

According to the International Center for Research on Womenthere is a 43 percent gap in labor force participation between men and women globally and post-COVID-19 data is likely to show that these numbers will grow as adolescent girls experience an increase in domestic responsibilities and a lower rate of return to school, limiting their future economic opportunities. In fact, kids who fall behind school are more likely to drop out later on, a phenomenon top of mind for the Biden Administration.

Women’s economic empowerment can generate economic diversity and bolster the economy, yet lack of access to capital and banking has barred low-income women globally from economic opportunity. Globally, only 58 percent of women report having a formal banking account which provides a gateway to further financial services that can help uplift women. The Biden administration has committed to increasing access to financially inclusive banking and women’s access to capital so they can have the resources they need to start businesses and build wealth—a step to ending the gendered wealth gap.

Biden has committed to amending partnerships with countries and multilateral organizations to provide women with the economic opportunity they deserve with special attention to underrepresented communities including indigenous and ethnic minority women, the LGBTQ+ community, and Afro-Latina women.

To increase economic development efforts, Biden’s plan focuses on remittances from family members sending money home since they represent a larger share of the GDP in many Central American countries than foreign direct investment. Through special mechanisms designed to help remittance recipients, the Biden Administration will create pathways for female recipients to begin to invest in and start small businesses.

Political Empowerment

Women have always been disenfranchised politically, leaving little opportunity to gain access to power, yet research has shown that not only do women politicians create more equitable societies, their representation can improve education, welfare and health outcomes. Through his plan for increased access to education in addition to a strong women’s political empowerment agenda, Biden aims to create political opportunities and empowerment for women through his support for women’s leadership globally.

In the midst of a global pandemic, his response to help women politically is more important than ever. Through leveraging women leaders in the global COVID-19 response, Biden aims to rely on women as collaborators, giving women the platform they deserve.

Continuous efforts to improve women’s access to conversations and decision-making roles will be most notable through the Biden administration’s plan for full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Act, a bipartisan act that aims to decrease conflict by increasing women’s participation in decision-making roles and mediation. Through a diverse foreign policy and national security team, Biden will provide opportunities for women’s voices to be heard and increase women’s political participation.

Moreover, these roles may be seen as inspiration to younger women and girls to increase their political participation.

Ending Violence Against Women Globally

To combat gender-based violence globally, Biden pledges to work with nations and non-governmental organizations across the world to coordinate a global response to the crisis of gender-based violence, including training law enforcement to root out the corruption and effectively investigate and prosecute crimes of sexual violence.

Biden promises to focus particular efforts in Iraq to address ISIS-perpetrated sexual violence and in Central America to address femicide and gender-based violence. Biden has also pledged to create a comprehensive initiative to support and strengthen the influence of women-led civil society organizations that focus on addressing gender-based violence and supporting survivors.

What Women Can Expect from a Biden Presidency: On Global Women’s Rights
Ni una menos is a Latin American feminist movement, which started in Argentina and has spread across several Latin American countries, that campaigns against gender-based violence. Ni una menos defines itself as a “collective scream against machista violence.” (Fotografías Emergentes / Flickr)  

While President Trump has watered down and threatened to veto UN Security Council resolutions that address sexual violence in conflict, Biden promises to champion such issues in the Security Council, and offer increased support to the work of the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict. He will work with the UN to strengthen the ability of peacekeepers to prevent sexual violence and to hold peacekeepers themselves accountable when they perpetrate gender-based violence. He will urge countries to create national laws on sexual violence that align with international norms to bring perpetrators of sexual violence to account.

For migrant women and girls, Biden has pledged to revive America’s commitment to refugees and displaced persons and ensure that women and girls fleeing gender-based violence are given the opportunity they deserve to seek asylum in the United States.  He promises to restore full access to asylum for domestic violence victims, which Trump revoked. 

Supporting the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

The US is one of a small number of nations that has not ratified UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a comprehensive international agreement on the basic human rights of women, often referred to as a “Bill of Rights” for women. Biden pledges to push the U.S. Senate to finally ratify CEDAW.

Biden’s ambitious platform for women’s rights will go a long way toward empowering women globally by increasing access to healthcare, economic opportunites, and political leadership, while also combatting the global scourge of violence against women. Biden should also work for peace, fair trade and economic justice, which would significantly improve women’s status around the world.

While some of these policies require Congressional action—so winning the two Georgia Senate seats is critical—many of the policies Biden can implement within the executive branch without congressional approval.

And women will be better off as a result.

Source: https://msmagazine.com/2020/12/09/what-women-can-expect-from-a-biden-presidency-on-global-womens-rights/?fbclid=IwAR3G73hbwxZOOqgqkD14gQ7SYsajDc_tOo9KSoiUpSBONAuq2CmWd9uV2XM

After Texas used the pandemic as a reason to block the procedure, the number of people who fled the state to undergo abortions skyrocketed, as did second-trimester abortions.

With Amy Coney Barrett now on the Supreme Court, the ruling that legalized abortion nationwide decades ago may be on its last legs. But during the coronavirus pandemic, Texas already gave a sneak peek at what could happen if Roe v. Wade collapses.

In late March 2020, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order postponing all abortions that weren’t “immediately, medically necessary”—which his attorney general defined as including nearly all abortions. Supporters of abortion rights promptly sued, but the order—and the legal tussling over it—intermittently cut off access to abortion until the end of April, when it finally expired.

That delay had steep consequences for Texas, as well as its neighboring states. The number of people who fled the Lone Star State to undergo abortions skyrocketed, as did requests for the abortion pill, according to two separate studies. And after Abbott’s order expired, the number of second-trimester abortions performed in Texas also shot up, one of the studies found.

What happened in Texas may hint at what lies in store for the U.S. as a whole if Roe were overturned—a real possibility now that a 6-3 conservative majority dominates the Supreme Court. Without Roe, each state would once again be free to regulate abortion as it sees fit, and the nation would dissolve into a patchwork of states that ban the procedure and those that do not. People who live in conservative states would likely flee to more liberal states for abortions, just as they did in Texas.

In April 2020, the month after Abbott signed his order, abortions at 18 Texas clinics fell 38 percent compared to April 2019, according to a paper published Monday in the Journal American Medical Association. That same month, 947 Texans underwent abortions at clinics in six other states. In February 2020, just 157 Texans did the same.

But having to leave the state to get an abortion wasn’t the only likely consequence, according to researchers. In May, after Abbott’s executive order expired, second-trimester abortions in Texas spiked by 61 percent, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and University of California, San Francisco. (One of the study’s authors, Robin Wallace, was one of the abortion providers who sued the state of Texas over Abbott’s order.)

The increase in second-trimester abortions, researchers wrote, “likely reflects delays in care among those who waited for an appointment and facilities’ limited capacity to meet backlogged patient need.”

“Although abortions later in pregnancy are very safe, they are associated with a higher risk of complications and may require additional visits,” they added.

During the confusion and fighting over over Abbott’s executive order, patients’ abortions were sometimes rescheduled three or four times, Marva Sadler, director of clinical services for three Texas-based abortion clinics run by the national company Whole Woman’s Health, told VICE News last month.

“There were couple of days in our clinics when we were not able to see patients at all and then there were some days that we were only able to see medication abortion patients,” she said, referring to a type of abortion that can be induced with pills. “There was also a time that our three Whole Woman’s Health clinics, along with another independent provider, were the only clinics that were seeing patients at all.”

Another January brief, compiled by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project, interviewed 10 people who reached out to an abortion clinic while Abbott’s order was in effect. Of those, five people were able to get abortions and four continued their pregnancies. One was still unsure of their plan.

“The participants who ultimately resolved to carry their pregnancy to term cited economic barriers that further contributed to delays in care,” the researchers wrote. “Despite attempts to get care early in pregnancy, the executive order made it too difficult for these participants to obtain an abortion.”

One woman who was interviewed by researchers was unable to find work due to the pandemic. She said that she couldn’t pull together enough money to afford an abortion, thanks in part to abortion restrictions in Texas that predated the coronavirus.

Another woman did end up getting an abortion—after traveling more than 700 miles one way to New Mexico. Her fetus had what the researchers called “significant anomalies.”

In yet another study, researchers led by the University of Texas at Austin found in July that Aid Access, a international group that ships abortion-inducing pills to the U.S., saw the number of requests for pills from people in Texas increase by almost 94 percent between March 20 and April 11.

Texas is far from the only state that used the pandemic to hack away at abortion access. In the spring of 2020, 10 other states also tried to ban at least some types of abortions by labeling the procedure nonessential, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion restrictions. That triggered a cascade of lawsuits, although all of the efforts to block abortion eventually fell apart, thanks to court orders and executive orders expiring.

In the event Roe is overturned, 21 states already have laws on the books that could be used to restrict abortion’s legality, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., have laws that protect the right to abortion. 

“Access is already a problem,” said Mercedes Sanchez, the communications director of the Seattle area-based Cedar River Clinics. Between 2015 and 2020, her facilities saw patients from more than 30 states.  

If Roe falls apart, she continued, “states where abortion would remain legal would be overwhelmed by the numbers of people needing to travel to get care.”

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjpwwp/texas-covid-abortions-end-of-roe-v-wade

Today’s attacks on abortion access have a long history rooted in white supremacy.

In 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered a speech best known as“Ain’t I A Woman?” to a crowded audience at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio. At the time, slavery remained in full force, a vibrant enterprise that fueled the American economy. Various laws protected that system, including the Fugitive Slave Act, which resulted in the abduction of “free” Black children, women, and men as well as those who had miraculously escaped to northern cities like Boston or Philadelphia. Bounty hunters then sold their prey to Southern plantation owners. The law denied basic protections for Black people caught in the greed-filled grasps of slavery.
Ms. Truth condemned this disgraceful enterprise, which thrived off not only uncompensated labor, but also physical and psychological terror. Most will remember Ms. Truth’s oration for its vivid descriptions regarding physical labor; Black women were forced to plough, plant, herd, and build — just as men. Yet far too little attention centers on her condemnation of that system, which made sexual chattel of Black women, and then cruelly sold off Black children. This was human trafficking in the American form, and it lasted for centuries. Ms. Truth pleaded:
“I have borne 13 children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo this week, it is worth reflecting on the racist origins of the anti-abortion movement in the United States, which date back to the ideologies of slavery. Just like slavery, anti-abortion efforts are rooted in white supremacy, the exploitation of Black women, and placing women’s bodies in service to men. Just like slavery, maximizing wealth and consolidating power motivated the anti-abortion enterprise. Then, just as now, anti-abortion efforts have nothing to do with saving women’s lives or protecting the interests of children. Today, a person is 14 times more likely to die by carrying a pregnancy to term than by having an abortion, and medical evidence has shown for decades that an abortion is as safe as a penicillin shot—and yet abortion remains heavily restricted in states across the country.
Prior to the Civil War, abortion and contraceptives were legal in the U.S., used by Indigenous women as well as those who sailed to these lands from Europe. For the most part, the persons who performed all manner of reproductive health care were women — female midwives. Midwifery was interracial; half of the women who provided reproductive health care were Black women. Other midwives were Indigenous and white.
However, in the wake of slavery’s end, skilled Black midwives represented both real competition for white men who sought to enter the practice of child delivery, and a threat to how obstetricians viewed themselves. Male gynecologists claimed midwifery was a degrading means of obstetrical care. They viewed themselves as elite members of a trained profession with tools such as forceps and other technologies, and the modern convenience of hospitals, which excluded Black and Indigenous women from practice within their institutions.

History would later reveal that it was literally on the backs of Black women’s bodies that such tools were developed. Dr. Marion Sims famously wrote about his insomniac-induced “epiphanies” that stirred him to experiment on enslaved Black women, lacerating, suturing, and cutting, providing no anesthesia or pain relief. Only recently have the terrors that Black women endured through nonconsensual experimentation by gynecologists of the 19th and 20th centuries been acknowledged.
Successful racist and misogynistic smear campaigns, cleverly designed for political persuasion and to achieve legal reform, described Black midwives as unhygienic, barbarous, ineffective, non-scientific, dangerous, and unprofessional. Dr. Joseph DeLee, a preeminent 20th century obstetrician and fervent opponent to midwifery, stated in a much-quoted 1915 speech, “Progress Toward Ideal Obstetrics”:

The midwife is a relic of barbarism. In civilized countries the midwife is wrong, has always been wrong … The midwife has been a drag on the progress of the science and art of obstetrics. Her existence stunts the one and degrades the other. For many centuries she perverted obstetrics from obtaining any standing at all among the science of medicine … Even after midwifery was practiced by some of the most brilliant men in the profession, such practice was held opprobrious and degraded.

At the root of these stereotypes were explicit efforts to destroy midwifery and promote white supremacy. As the surge of lynchings, “separate but equal” laws, police violence, and the decimation of successful Black communities during Jim Crow revealed, Black Americans post slavery suffered greatly due to white supremacy, as did Chinese and Japanese workers and their families. Indeed, the racist campaigns launched by doctors against Black midwives extended to anti-immigration legislative platforms targeted at Chinese and Japanese workers. The Page Act, which restricted Chinese women from entering the United States, is a part of this shameful legacy. This broader 20th century anti-Chinese campaign became known as “yellow peril.” DeLee and Horatio Storer urged white women to “spread their loins” across the nation,  a dog whistle about the threat of too many Blacks and Asians in the U.S. 
Gynecologists explicitly revealed their motivations in undermining midwifery: They desired financial gains, recognition, and a monopoly. As Dr. DeLee wrote in a 1916 article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Disease of Women & Children, “There is high art in obstetrics and that it must pay as well for it as for surgery. I will not admit that this is a sordid impulse. It is only common justice to labor, self-sacrifice, and skill.” They believed that men should be paid, but not women — particularly not Black women.
To better understand racial injustice in the anti-abortion movement, remember that American hospitals barred the admission of African Americans both in terms of practice and as patients. And, the American Medical Association (AMA) barred women and Black people from membership. The AMA, founded in 1847, refused to admit Black doctors, informing them, “You come from groups and schools that admit women and that admit irregular practitioners.” For this reason, Black doctors formed the National Medical Association in 1895.
In 2008, the organization issued a public apology for its active campaigns to close Black medical schools, deny Blacks membership, and other efforts to marginalize Black patients and practitioners. 
Gynecologists pushed women out of the field of reproductive health by lobbying state legislatures to ban midwifery and prohibit abortions. Doing so not only undercut women’s reproductive health, but also drove qualified Black women out of medical services. For these groups, there was no meaningful path to the formalized skill set DeLee claimed necessary.
Abortion was an expedient way to frame their campaign to create monopolies on women’s bodies for male doctors. The American Medical Association explicitly contributed to this cause through its exclusion of women and Black people.
Today, as people debate whether anti-abortion platforms benefit Black women, the clear answer is no. The U.S. leads the developed world in maternal and infant mortality. The U.S. ranks around 50th in the world for maternal safety. Nationally, for Black women, the maternal death rate is nearly four times that of white women, and 10 to 17 times worse in some states.
In the wake of both Whole Woman’s Health and June Medical Services v. Russo, keep in mind that both Texas and Louisiana, where these cases originated, are considered the deadliest in the developed world for a woman to give birth.
Sadly, pregnancy has become a death sentence for many in the very places that make reproductive health care access the most fraught and hard to reach. Many of these states (though not all) are former slave states, such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. As Black people in these states continue to fight for equal access the reproductive care they need, Sojourner Truth’s 1851 speech continues to resonate. And as the Supreme Court demonstrated this week, the fight for justice in reproductive health care and equality in abortion access is far from over. The decision does not advance the equality of poor Black women — it maintains all other burdensome restrictions already in place. We have much more work to do such that not only DeLee’s words, but also his racist and exploitative viewpoints, are relegated to history.

Source: https://www.aclu.org/news/racial-justice/the-racist-history-of-abortion-and-midwifery-bans/?initms_aff=nat&initms_chan=soc&utm_medium=soc&initms=201230_blog_fb&utm_source=fb&utm_campaign=&utm_content=201230_reproductiverights_blog&ms_aff=nat&ms_chan=soc&ms=201230_blog_fb&fbclid=IwAR1HpWCx92g35a-TRS5agDjzILuQnoudu_U6R9XPUkeWiJCyqx8BJR3V44k