Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: IA abortion access restored, the DOD’s abortion policy is key for military families, and Indigenous people struggle to get abortion care.
ABORTION ACCESS IN IOWA RESTORED FOR NOW: Yesterday afternoon, an Iowa state district court granted abortion providers’ request to temporarily block the newly enacted ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. For now, abortion in Iowa remains safe and legal, while the state’s previous limit — 22 weeks — in effect. The abortion ban briefly took effect after being signed on Friday, stopping some patients from getting abortions in Iowa.
The ban, HF 732, is virtually identical to a 2018 law kept blocked by the Iowa Supreme Court in June. In the order granting a temporary injunction, the district court confirmed that under Iowa Supreme Court precedent, abortion restrictions that unduly burden the right to abortion are unconstitutional.
“Today’s ruling means patients across Iowa will be able to access abortion care and retain control over their bodies and futures. We are proud to continue providing the care our patients need and deserve,” said Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “The fight to preserve Iowans’ fundamental right to reproductive freedom is far from over. We will continue to oppose this egregious, unconstitutional ban as it works its way through the courts."
The lawsuit — brought by the Emma Goldman Clinic, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and Dr. Sarah Traxler — asserts that by banning the vast majority of abortions, this law violates Iowans’ constitutional rights to abortion and substantive due process.
DOD ABORTION POLICY SERVES MILITARY FAMILIES: Yesterday, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, explained the importance of the Department of Defense (DoD)’s abortion policy, issued last October.
Under the policy, the DoD would allow troops and their dependents to take time off and use official travel to go to other states for reproductive health care which may not be available locally. The policy does not fund abortions, but rather makes accessing critical health care easier for military families. Currently, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (AL) has been blocking military nominations in protest of the DOD’s policy, a move that has been widely criticized by both sides of the aisle as well as those in the military and defense leadership. And, just last week, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included egregious attacks on sexual and reproductive health for military personnel and their families.
“I had a chance to meet with some military spouses at the White House, some were active duty members, some were spouses, all were women,” Kirby said. “Abortion laws in this country that are now being passed are absolutely having an effect on their willingness to continue serving in uniform or to encourage or discourage their spouses from continuing service. If you don’t think there’s going to be a retention and morale issue, think again because it’s already having that effect.”
Watch Kirby’s comments here.
ABORTION ACCESS CONTINUES TO REMAIN OUT OF REACH FOR MANY PREGNANT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE: Yesterday, Jen Deerinwater explored the barriers that Indigenous pregnant people face to access reproductive health care, especially abortion care. Even before Dobbs, Indigenous people had an extremely difficult time accessing abortion for several reasons. The Indian Health Service (IHS), which provides health care to Indigenous communities across the country, only provides abortion care in very limited circumstances, such as when the life of the pregnant person is in danger. Most IHS clinics are not equipped to provide abortion care. In addition, independent abortion providers are often located hundreds of miles away from reservations; the cost of travel, the procedure, and more can be insurmountable for many Indigenous people.
One year post-Dobbs, access to abortion care remains bleak for many Indigenous communities. As Deerinwater points out: “Of the 14 states with total abortion bans, nine of them have a combined total of 75 federally recognized tribes. This doesn’t include the many state-recognized tribes.” Compounding the devastating impact of state-level abortion bans, Deerinwater explains, “the majority of tribal governments appear reluctant to actively fight for abortion access for tribal members, and some tribes don’t appear to offer abortion even under the legally allowed instances.”
The consequences of not being able to get an abortion are serious: the maternal mortality rate for Native pregnant people is twice as high as that of white pregnant people. Groups like Indigenous Women Rising (IWR), an Indigenous-led reproductive justice group and abortion fund, have been working to provide access to reproductive health care for hundreds of Indigenous pregnant people.
“Our environment provided everything we needed to be well, and that included abortion and arthritis and different health conditions that may come up in our lives.… That notion that abortion isn’t part of the nation’s tradition or Indigenous people’s tradition denies the humanity of our people,” Rachael Lorenzo, founder and executive director of IWR, said.
Read more at Truthout.