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: the latest on abortion rights ballot initiatives, congressional anti-abortion politicians take aim at critical health care, and GOP candidates are now going after trans health care for adults.
THIS BARBIE SUPPORTS ABORTION RIGHTS BALLOT INITIATIVES: It’s not just Barbenheimer Summer: it’s Ballot Initiative Summer. Advocates across the country are launching direct democracy campaigns to codify abortion rights in their state constitutions. In 2022, abortion rights advocates went six for six, protecting abortion rights even in states where anti-abortion politicians were elected, like Kentucky and Montana. Now, Vox reports that advocates in almost a dozen states have launched or are in discussions to launch ballot initiative campaigns focused on abortion access.
Of course, anti-abortion politicians have been scheming to limit the ballot initiatives which have been a critical tool of citizen-led democracy in many states. As of June, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center reports that 14 states are considering a total of 50 measures to raise hurdles for ballot initiatives.
In Ohio, where voters could decide to protect reproductive freedom in the November election, anti-abortion politicians have pushed through a referendum taking place in August to raise the threshold for ballot initiatives from a simple majority to a 60% majority. Even though they’ve previously objected to an August special election (a time that historically has low turnout), they’ve scheduled this underhanded initiative to tilt the playing field in their favor ahead of November.
“Ultimately, this is about blocking Ohio voters from being able to vote on abortion access,” Lauren Blauvelt, the vice president of government affairs and public advocacy at Planned Parenthood Advocacy of Ohio, said. “It is a direct attack on our democracy, and it absolutely is supposed to be a barrier to Ohioans who have spoken and want a vote on reproductive freedom.”
Elsewhere in states like Florida, South Dakota, Arizona, and Missouri, advocates hope that ballot initiatives will restore broad access to abortion in their states. Some states where there are safeguards in place to protect abortion access are also considering codifying reproductive rights, including New York, Maryland, Nevada, and Colorado. New York and Maryland are already set to have ballot initiatives in 2024 to enshrine reproductive rights in their state constitutions.
“I think one thing that’s been true post-Dobbs is not only the anger and frustration among voters and people in this country about the politicians making decisions about our futures, but a sense of helplessness,” Sarah Standiford, National Campaign Director at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told The Hill. “One thing that we are and that we’ll always evangelize is that we have the opportunity as people in this country to demand access, and we’re going to fight everywhere,” she continued.”
ANTI-ABORTION POLITICIANS CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES: Last week, Planned Parenthood Action Fund highlighted all of the ways that anti-abortion politicians in Congress have been trying to attack access to sexual and reproductive health care. Their latest scam? Manipulating the federal appropriations process to attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood and further block access to sexual and reproductive health care.
But, who is surprised? These are the same out-of-touch politicians that made banning abortion their number one priority of the year, even after the midterm elections in which voters made it clear: politicians have no business telling us what we can or cannot do with our bodies.
Check out PPAF’s memo on the latest in these attacks.
WE TOLD YOU SO: GOP CANDIDATES NOW SUPPORT TRANS HEALTH CARE RESTRICTIONS FOR ADULTS: On Friday, the Miami Herald featured how most Republican candidates for president now openly support a variety of restrictions on health care for trans adults. Previously, anti-trans politicians mostly set their sights on banning life-saving health care for trans youth, such as gender-affirming care, or limiting social transition, such as bathroom bans, sports bans, stopping teachers from respecting pronouns, and more. Now, many GOP candidates have proposed a federal funding ban on gender-affirming care for all ages and also openly attack the trans community.
“From the beginning, the anti-trans policies and rhetoric from politicians like Governor DeSantis have been animated by a desire to use government to legislate and harass transgender people out of society,” Brandon Wolf at Equality Florida said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “That they are now shouting their intent into a bullhorn to score presidential primary points should come as no surprise. It is on all of us to see through their smokescreen and resist these shameless attempts to build political careers by waging war on freedom for transgender Americans.”
These attacks on trans people and their rights is part of a broader movement against LGBTQ+ people within the party, Alex Roarty writes:
“The embrace of policies restricting health care for transgender adults among GOP presidential candidates also reflects a deeper dynamic within the Republican Party and conservative movement, which has increasingly spoken out about the growing visibility of LGBTQ people and issues in mainstream society, including the designation of June as ‘Pride Month.’”
The majority of Americans oppose anti-trans legislation, with 54% opposing legislation that bans gender-affirming care for minors. These anti-trans politicians are on the wrong side of history and the polls.
Read more at the Miami Herald.