Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest works to advance sexual and reproductive health and justice through non-partisan political action, advocacy, and education. We are proud to fight to protect reproductive freedom, LGBTQ+ rights, and the rights of all people alongside each and every one of you. Read on for details on the political and legislative landscape on issues that matter most, at the intersection of access and advocacy:
September was National Voter’s Registration Month
The National Association of Secretaries of State designated September as National Voter’s Registration Month with the mission to encourage voter participation and increase awareness of state requirements and deadlines for voting.
A state-by-state list of voter registration deadlines, with contact information, polling place hours, and links to each state’s voter information website, is posted and available for your use under the Legislative and Political tab at npmhu.org.
Voters who wish to report problems, suspicious activity, or irregularities related to the voting process are urged to contact their local election office. All members are encouraged to check their voter registration information. Updating voter registration information is critical for people who have recently moved, changed their name, or had their voting rights restored under the law.
Please take the time to review local resources, register to vote, and most importantly – to vote!
For more on voter registration options and deadlines in your state, you can visit the association's non-partisan voting information website, registertovote.ca.gov.
Threat of Federal Government Shutdown Lifted for Now
On Saturday, September 30, President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill package to keep agencies open with little time to spare after Congress rushed to approve a bipartisan deal. The package funds the government at current 2023 levels until mid-November, and also extends other provisions, including for the Federal Aviation Administration. The package was approved by the House 335-91, with most Republicans and almost all Democrats supporting. Senate passage came by an 88-9 vote.
Ahead of this, on Wednesday, September 27, Planned Parenthood patient advocates from across the country met with Representatives and their staff to talk about the importance of access to sexual and reproductive health care. Many of the patients discussed services they received at Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers.
During the appropriations process, anti-abortion politicians packed must-pass government funding bills in the House with measures that attacked access to sexual and reproductive health care, including an effort to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.
While we are glad that the deeply unpopular and dangerous agenda put forward by a vocal minority to jeopardize vital health care programs has been dismissed for now, we know that this part of ongoing attacks and attempts to control our bodies and our futures.
To learn more about how you can become a patient advocate, planned.org/shareyourstory.
Important Litigation and Law Headlines from Across the Nation
Abortion Bans Across the Nation
This is the latest information as of Friday, September 29, 2023: Bans have eliminated all or some abortions in twenty-one states across the nation. These states are as follows: AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IA, ID, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV.
- Bans have eliminated abortion access in fourteen (13) states: AL, AR, ID, KY, LA, MO, MS, ND, OK, SD, TN, TX, WV
- Bans have eliminated access to abortions after the earliest stages of pregnancy in one (2) states: GA, IA
- Bans on abortion at twelve (12) weeks are effect in one (1) state: NE
- Bans on abortion between fifteen to twenty (15-20) weeks are in effect in four (4) states: AZ, FL, NC, UT
Please visit abortionfinder.org for the latest information on abortion provider service status.
False Claims Act: Any day now, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk — the same judge who tried to ban mifepristone a few months ago — could rule in Doe v. PPFA, a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and three Planned Parenthood affiliates who provide health care in Texas. The suit is being brought by the State of Texas and an anonymous plaintiff.
This lawsuit is based on false allegations that claim that Planned Parenthood health centers defrauded the state's Medicaid system. Planned parenthood did not commit fraud. This meritless lawsuit risks access to affordable health care options for Texans.
The facts are clear: Planned Parenthood health centers did nothing wrong. They legally provided essential health care services to thousands of Texans, including birth control, STI testing & treatment, and cancer screenings.
To learn more or send a direct message to drop this lawsuit and end these attacks on Planned Parenthood health centers and patients, go to imforpp.org.
DACA Ruling: On September 13, 2023, a Federal District Court in Texas issued a ruling in Texas v. United States declaring that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rule is unlawful. It is important to note that while this judge once again found DACA to be unlawful, the decision does not change the current status of who is eligible to apply, nor does it affect people who currently have DACA.
The court’s order “allows current DACA recipients to continue with their renewals and advance parole for now.” The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) will be posting updates on their site here. ILRC created FAQs to help DACA recipients, which can be found here.
At Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest, we staunchly stand with all immigrants, refugees, DACA recipients and Dreamers. We believe that all people should have access to the resources, healthcare, dignity, and respect they need and deserve, and remain committed to fighting for a world where sexual, reproductive, and immigrant rights are basic human rights.
Issue 1 Defeated in Ohio: On Tuesday, August 8, GOP-backed proposal Issue 1 – which would have made it tougher to protect abortion rights – was defeated by Ohio voters. Ohioans sent a clear message and rejected this brazen attempt to silence their voices. By rejecting this measure, Ohioans defended their right to make personal decisions about their lives, their bodies, and their futures. Next up is a Vote Yes in November on the reproductive right amendment to ensure Ohio families have the freedom to make decisions that are best for them.
Ohio Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Six-Week Abortion Ban: On Wednesday, September 27, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to the state's 2019 six-week abortion ban.
- The court did not consider the merits of the ban; it considered two procedural issues: (1) whether the state can appeal the preliminary injunction that is blocking the law; and (2) whether the provider plaintiffs have standing to assert their patients' rights.
- Jessie Hill of the ACLU of Ohio argued on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Preterm-Cleveland, Women’s Med Group, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, and Dr. Sharon Liner.
Michigan Introduces Reproductive Health Act: On Wednesday, September 6, 2023 State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky introduced legislation to ensure continued access to safe, legal abortion in Michigan. State Sen. Sarah Anthony is expected to follow suit in the Senate soon. The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will repeal Michigan’s medically-unnecessary abortion restrictions and ensure abortion is treated like all other health care.
The Reproductive Health Act will repeal laws that require a 24-hour delay before patients can access abortion, remove discriminatory barriers to funding for abortion providers, repeal laws limiting insurance coverage of abortion, remove medically-unnecessary TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws that are designed to limit access to procedural abortion, and ensure abortion is treated like all other health care, with regulations that reflect current medical standards.
As states across the country continue to criminalize abortion care, the Reproductive Health Act is critical to ensuring both Michiganders and patients traveling from out of state can get the care they need and deserve.
Floria Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Abortion Ban Challenge: The Florida Supreme Court heard oral argument on Friday, September 8, 2023 in a case brought by abortion providers challenging the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy as a blatant violation of decades of established law within the state constitution. In the case, the State has argued that Floridians have no state constitutional right to abortion and therefore politicians could ban abortion entirely. Unless the court blocks the 15-week ban, a separate law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year that bans abortion at six weeks in pregnancy — a time when many people don’t even know they are pregnant — will automatically go into effect 30 days after the court issues its decision.
The effects of the 15-week ban have been devastating for Floridians. Since the ban went into effect over a year ago, many people seeking abortions have been forced to travel long distances out of state to access care. Under the law’s limited exceptions, even patients in dire circumstances have been unable to get the care they need.
Abortion Providers File New Case Challenging South Carolina Abortion Ban: On Thursday, September 14, 2023, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two physicians filed a new legal challenge asking the South Carolina Supreme Court to resolve ambiguity raised in its decision to uphold a ban on abortion that has forced providers to stop providing abortion care after approximately six weeks of pregnancy. The filing is in response to the uncertainty of the definition of “fetal heartbeat” in the law, as highlighted by the Court in last month’s majority opinion, and comes after the Court denied abortion providers’ request for rehearing over the same issue.
In the majority opinion that allowed the abortion ban to go into effect, the Court said it was “leav[ing] for another day” the critical question of the meaning of “fetal heartbeat” and the point in pregnancy at which the ban applies. In the lawsuit, abortion providers assert that the ban should apply at a later point in pregnancy, rather than only when embryonic electrical activity can first be detected via ultrasound (around approximately six weeks of pregnancy). Since the ban went into effect on August 23, Greenville Women’s Clinic has been forced to turn away approximately half of the patients who have come into the clinic for abortion care. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic has been forced to turn away approximately 90% of the patients seeking abortion care at their Columbia and Charleston health centers in the same time period. As a result, access to abortion has been severely limited in the state as South Carolinians who need care past the earliest stages of pregnancy are now forced to travel out of state, seek abortion outside the health care system, or suffer the life-altering consequences of continuing a pregnancy against their will.