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: advocates fight against restrictions on out-of-state abortion referrals, all IN providers stop abortion care, and IL ramps up abortion access.
AS ABORTION OPPONENTS TARGET OUT-OF-STATE REFERRALS, ADVOCATES FIGHT BACK: From Idaho to Alabama, abortion advocates continue to fight back in court as hostile lawmakers seek to target and prosecute abortion providers or anyone who assists patients with accessing abortion care out of state.
Yesterday in Idaho, a federal district court judge granted an emergency request from health care providers to block the enforcement of a legal opinion, issued by Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, that claimed Idaho’s abortion ban prohibits health care providers from referring patients for abortions out of state. The preliminary injunction protects health care providers from criminalization so they can provide comprehensive counseling and assistance. In states like Idaho with total abortion bans, referrals are a critical tool for providers to help patients access a full range of essential care, and a lifeline for patients who need abortion care.
“From the start, Attorney General Labrador’s opinion made it clear that anti-abortion politicians’ race to the bottom knows no bounds,” Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. “We are relieved that the court saw the clear threat to Idahoans’ health and autonomy and blocked enforcement of this egregious legal opinion. Providers are already banned from providing abortion care in Idaho. To prevent them from serving as trusted resources for patients — further harming people in need of care — is a reckless encroachment on their rights.”
And yesterday in Alabama, in two different lawsuits, the ACLU and health care providers as well as Yellowhammer Fund, an abortion fund, sued the state’s attorney general Steve Marshall for threatening to prosecute anyone who assists Alabama residents with traveling out of state for an abortion.
“Tragically, banning abortion in Alabama seems to not have been enough, and those in power want to muzzle providers like me to prevent us from sharing information with our pregnant patients about the options they have, including abortion care in states where it is legal, and supporting our patients in accessing that care,” Dr. Yashica Robinson, Medical Director of Alabama Women’s Center, said. “The Attorney General’s threat is yet another cruel attack on my patients’ ability to make the best medical decisions for their futures.”
INDIANA ABORTION BAN FORCES PROVIDERS TO STOP CARE: Indiana abortion providers have been forced to stop care today, the first possible day the state’s abortion ban could take effect after a decision upholding it is certified by the state supreme court. While providers, including Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky (PPGNHAIK), have requested that the Indiana Supreme Court rehear their challenge and block the ban while litigation continues, the uncertainty produced by the ban has left patients with fewer options.
As Rebecca Gibron, President and CEO of PPGNHAIK, wrote in an op-ed this morning for the Indianapolis Star: while the abortion ban may deprive Hoosiers of this essential care, it will not stop Planned Parenthood from helping their communities.
“Planned Parenthood will never back down, not now, not ever, from providing essential reproductive, sexual and gender affirming care,” Gibron wrote. “We will be courageous in the courts, and in our clinics… Our Indiana care centers will continue to provide non-abortion essential health care, including: emergency contraception, birth control and vasectomies, pre- and post-abortion care, STI testing and treatment, pregnancy consultations and ultrasounds, cancer screenings, gender affirming hormone care for people over 18, wellness visits, and much more. Our patient navigator team will guide patients through the process of getting abortion care out of state, connecting with abortion funds and providing follow up care when they get back home.”
Read more at NPR.
ILLINOIS RAMPS UP SUPPORT FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE: Yesterday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced several new policies to further increase access to reproductive health care in the state. Some of these measures include the Reproductive Health Public Navigation Hotline; a family planning program for Medicaid; and a travel reimbursement program for Illinois employees who live out of state and need to travel for reproductive health care.
"Once again, our elected leaders in Illinois are working to combat multiple public health crises — from health care provider shortages and rising STI rates to worsening Black maternal mortality rates, abortion bans across the south and Midwest, and more," said Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. "These crises will only worsen if more states don't swiftly enact policies to support patients including those being forced to flee their home states for care, like the more than 8,000 patients who traveled to our health center in Fairview Heights, Illinois in the past year. I'm grateful to the Pritzker administration for creating patient-centered solutions that support the patient-provider relationship."
Read more at NBC Chicago.