Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day.
FIRST POST-ROE ABORTION BAN TAKES EFFECT IN INDIANA: Today, the first abortion ban to pass following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade went into effect, banning nearly all abortion in Indiana. After the court’s June 24 decision, Indiana lawmakers wasted no time calling a special session in less than a month and passing Senate Bill 1 (S.B. 1) in only two weeks. The ban outlaws abortion almost entirely, threatening providers with criminal penalties and limits exceptions to just the rarest of circumstances.
“This is a devastating day for the people of Indiana,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. “The Indiana legislature and Governor Holcomb have stripped Hoosiers of their ability to control their bodies and make their own health care decisions. They’ve inserted the government between patients and doctors. And they’ve threatened physicians with up to 12 years in jail for providing basic health care. Let me be clear: This is not the Indiana that Hoosiers want. We will go to every length to restore Indiana’s right to abortion.”
Planned Parenthood, along with other reproductive rights organizations, health care providers, and a pregnancy resource center, filed a lawsuit against the bill on August 31 that will get a hearing on Monday, September 19. At the hearing, plaintiffs will argue for a preliminary injunction to block the bill and restore access to abortion across the state. Without relief from the court, the ban will remain in effect and Hoosiers will be left without access to basic, safe, and time-sensitive health care.
ABORTION ACCESS RESTORED IN OHIO: Last night, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas in Ohio granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Senate Bill 23 (S.B. 23), a law banning abortion starting at approximately six weeks of pregnancy. Abortions up to 22 weeks are once again legal in Ohio. The ruling came twelve days after Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and the law firm WilmerHale filed for immediate relief to restore abortion access in the state, which had been severely restricted since S.B. 23 took effect in June. Now that a temporary restraining order is in place for the next 14 days, the plaintiffs have asked the court to next enter a preliminary injunction to block the law for the duration of the case.
Statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, the ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, Preterm-Cleveland, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, Toledo Women’s Center, and Dr. Sharon Liner:
“We’re grateful that, for now, Ohioans can once again widely access abortion care in their own state. But this is just the first step. We have already seen the devastating impact Senate Bill 23 has had on people seeking abortions in Ohio. State lawmakers will stop at nothing to try again to permanently restrict our reproductive rights; their cruelty knows no bounds. We remain intensely committed to defending against any and all attempts to limit Ohioans’ constitutional right to access the full range of reproductive health care in their home state.”
NEW POLLING SHOWS THAT VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT TO KEEP ABORTION LEGAL; DON’T THINK POLITICIANS ARE INFORMED ENOUGH TO CREATE POLICIES: A new survey conducted by the 19th and SurveyMonkey found that the overwhelming majority of Americans say abortion should be legal at least some of the time, including 61 percent who think it should be legal in all or most cases. Women and gender-nonconforming people are more likely than men to say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Women are also more likely than men — 48 percent vs. 40 percent — to say they expect abortion to become less accessible in their lifetimes.
Additionally, 70 percent of American adults do not think that politicians are informed enough about abortion to create fair policies. The distrust is bipartisan —70 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats said politicians were insufficiently informed about abortion. It was also consistent across men, women and gender-nonconforming Americans. This data reaffirms what we already know to be true:politicians should not be in control of our personal health care decisions.
SHARP INCREASE IN STI RATE UNDERSCORES NEED TO FUND SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE: New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing spikes in STI rates including the biggest annual increase in syphilis rates in decades, underscores the need for strong funding to support safety net providers, including through programs like Title X and more, to improve patients’ access to care. Largely flat funding for critical public health programs over the past twenty years has made it particularly challenging to screen for, test, and treat STIs. Additionally, the pandemic’s cascading consequences led to limited testing for STIs, coupled with an increase of infections,and has stretched public health resources thin.
Congress must increase funding to test and treat STIs–a particularly important task, as a federal judge in Texas, Reed O’Connor (who already once ruled the ACA unconstitutional) has already ruled that mandatory insurance coverage of certain preventive services like STI screenings is unconstitutional. That case poses an ongoing risk to care.
INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR ABORTION ACCESS CONVERSATION CONTINUES: As businesses continue to review ways to support their employees as the abortion access crisis unfolds and state bans take effect, more employers are considering how to cover abortion access and ensure their employees can access essential sexual and reproductive health care services through their insurance coverage and company benefits structure.
The splintered consequences of abortion bans has left many businesses questioning what converage they can and should provide. Read more from JD Supra here about employers covering abortion access.
“YOU WON’T BREAK OUR BRAND”: This week, Melanie Rousell Newman, senior vice president of Communications and Culture at Planned Parenthood Federation of America took the stage at Adweek’s Brandweek Conference for a conversation on how Planned Parenthood prepared for and navigated the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In her conversation with Adweek CEO Juliette Morris, Melanie noted:
“Quite frankly, we were preparing for this since Brett Kavanagh got on the court and certainly since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. We expected the Supreme Court to take up a case at its first opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. Because we had been planning for so long, it was something that we were absolutely ready for. We were able to turn on a dime and get our messaging out. …We expected people to feel confused, scared, uneasy. We wanted them to know we are here, our doors are open. For our supporters, we wanted to harness that anger and have people show up at our Day of Action.”
(Sean T. Smith Photography for Adweek)
Planned Parenthood was also recognized in Adweek’s Brand Genius issue.