It’s barely 15 months since the Dobbs decision and the evidence keeps piling up: Criminalizing abortion inflicts real, serious injuries on women.
A chilling Sep 14 piece by Patrick Adams in the New York Times In Poland, Testing Women for Abortion Drugs is a Reality. It Could Happen Here, opens with “Nearly three years ago, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal effectively ended legal abortion in the country. Since then, the Polish government has vigorously repressed the nation’s reproductive rights movement and ramped up surveillance of women who are suspected of terminating their pregnancies. Authorities have violently dispersed demonstrations, threatened activists with prison time and ordered doctors to record all pregnancies in a new national database.”
The article continues: “Last March, a court in Warsaw found a human rights activist guilty of just that. Justyna Wydrzynska, a co-founded of the Abortion Dream Team, a Polish abortion rights group, was sentenced to eight months of community service for providing abortion pills to a woman in an abusive relationship. That conviction, the first of its kind in Europe, brings to mind the situation in El Salvador, where abortion is banned under all circumstances, including when the pregnant person’s life or health is in danger and in cases of rape. Women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths in El Salvador are sometimes accused of homicide and sentenced to years or even decades in prison.”
The article further describes how state-funded Polish researchers have developed lab tests that can detect mifepristone and misopristol, the two drugs used in medication abortions. Heaven help us, our access to mifepristone is now hanging by a thread in the hands of a deeply corrupt Republican majority on the Supreme Court.
Planned Parenthood has the facts about medication abortion here, and I’ve just ordered my copy of Michele Goodwin’s vitally important book, Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood, referenced in the article.
Need more? Check out this September 7 article in the New York Times by Sheryl Gay Stolberg Help for Risky Pregnancies Drops as Doctors Flee Abortion Limits.
From the Times article: “One by one, doctors who handle high-risk pregnancies are disappearing from Idaho – part of a wave of obstetricians fleeing restrictive abortion laws and a hostile state legislature.” Of course they are. When doctors worry that they will be prosecuted for providing vital medical care to save a patient’s life or health, they’re going to vote with their feet. The article quotes Dr. Amelia Huntsberger: “Idaho calls itself a quote ‘prolife state,’ but the Idaho Legislature doesn’t care about the death of moms.” It’s frightening.
But we’re fighting back: check out these September 12 and September 13 articles in The Guardian about the lawsuits filed in Idaho, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas by the Center for Constitutional Rights. From the Sep 13 article: Jillaine St. Michel’s “fetus had multiple severe genetic and developmental conditions affecting multiple organ systems.” If the fetus survived to birth, it would surely die shortly thereafter. “St Michel could consult more specialists, continue the pregnancy–a decision that, she later learned, could threaten her health–or get an abortion.” But not in Idaho, where it’s banned “in almost all circumstances.”
Blessings to these brave women, who have come forward as plaintiffs to challenge the injuries done to themselves and what surely are and will be many others. And visit the magnificent website of the Center for Reproductive Rights.