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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: new data shows intensifying maternal health crisis, one-year anniversary of KS ballot referendum, FL’s ballot initiative depends on Latino voters, and ID AG files appeal of block on out-of-state abortion referrals. 

MATERNAL HEALTH CARE CRISIS INTENSIFIES: This week, March of Dimes released new data showing the continued degradation of access to maternal health care in the country. Some of the findings from data collected in 2020 and 2021 include: 

  • A 4% decrease in hospitals with labor and delivery services, with Alabama and Wyoming losing nearly a quarter of their birthing hospitals and Idaho, Indiana, and West Virginia losing around 10%. 
  • 5.6 million women live in counties with no or limited access to maternity care. 
  • 32 million women are at risk of poor health outcomes due to lack of reproductive care options nearby. 
  • More than one-third of all U.S. counties are maternal care deserts — counties with no obstetric providers and no hospitals or birth centers offering obstetric care. 

Lack of access to maternal care is one reason that maternal mortality rates are so high and continue to rise. In 2021, roughly 33 people died for every 100,000 live births in the U.S., a 40% increase from the year before, and 10 times the mortality rate of other industrialized nations. The maternal mortality rate for Black people was 69.9 for every 100,000 live births, 2.5 times the rate for non-Hispanic white people. 

While the data is from before the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the data reveals that states with abortion bans were already experiencing decreasing access to maternal care. Abortion bans will only exacerbate this existing health care crisis. 

“Abortion providers, OB-GYNs, nurse practitioners are being pushed out of certain parts of the country that do have these restrictive abortion laws. That’s having a spillover effect for those that want to continue their pregnancies,” Jamila Taylor, president and CEO of the National WIC Association, told POLITICO

Read more at POLITICO

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, KANSAS: One year ago today, Kansas voters defended abortion access by overwhelmingly voting down a ballot measure that would have eliminated the right in the state constitution. The Kansas City Star spoke with activists and abortion providers about the year since the pivotal vote. 

Planned Parenthood Great Plains Planned Parenthood Great Plains president and CEO Emily Wales told the Star, “Patients have been scrambling to get out of their home states and that has just spread. Right now when people walk into the state they literally have more rights to control their lives and their medical choices.” 

PPGP and other providers continue working to expand services as the rush of patients continues. Tonight, PPGP will mark the anniversary by holding a grand opening for its new health center in Kansas City, which expands the organization’s ability to serve patients across the Midwest.

The first statewide vote on abortion after the Dobbs decision proved a bellwether for abortion measures that November — and reveals a path forward for Kansas. Trust Women communications director Zack Gingrich-Gaylord said the message is clear: 

“That resounding victory, nearly 20 points, definitely confirmed for us in a galvanizing way again that people are able to have those conversations. That certainly has focused at least some of the strategies that we want to put into place over the next couple years in terms of getting out to communities and knowing that it’s not as hostile as it may be in the Legislature.” 

Read more at Kansas City Star.  

FLORIDA’S ABORTION RIGHTS BALLOT INITIATIVE DEPENDS ON LATINO VOTERS: This week, the 19th* featured the Florida abortion rights ballot initiative campaign’s efforts to reach out to Latino voters, especially Spanish-speaking voters. The campaign, Floridians Protecting Freedom, has already begun extensive outreach efforts and crafting messaging for Spanish speakers. 

“We’re working on this ballot initiative, and there’s a whole group of folks that we’re historically not getting to because we’re not talking to them in Spanish or in a way that resonates,” Charo Valero, who is spearheading efforts to reach Spanish-dominant Hispanic voters in Florida for the campaign, told the 19th*. “It’s become the perfect urgency to do something that has suffered from a lack of infrastructure, lack of investment and lack of leaders for a long time… This ballot initiative is the only thing giving me hope in the state of Florida.”

While a majority of Hispanic voters believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, there is a gap in support between Latino people who speak only English at home and those who speak only Spanish at home. According to an Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll, 63% of those who speak only English at home support abortion rights but only 29% of those who speak Spanish at home do. Valero “found the gap alarming and said it should prompt reproductive rights advocates to question how they are engaging these voters and sharing information that can combat mis-and disinformation about the procedure.”

“We talk to voters about politicians making decisions for us and intruding in our lives and us having the freedom to make decisions for ourselves around health care, and other issues that impact our families,” Alejandro Berrios, founder of grassroots voter registration group Mi Vecino and former regional field director for the Biden 2020 campaign, said. “And this is a message that strongly resonates with Latinos.”

Read more at the 19th*

IDAHO AG APPEALS COURT DECISION BLOCKING THE PROHIBITION ON OUT-OF-STATE ABORTION REFERRALS: Yesterday, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador appealed a federal district court decision to block the enforcement of a legal opinion issued by the AG 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 so they can continue to offer comprehensive counseling and assistance to their patients without fear of being criminalized by the attorney general for providing information about health care that is legal in other states.

Are we surprised AG Labrador filed an appeal? Of course not.” Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky (PPGNHAIK), said in a statement. “But Labrador can’t have it both ways. He can’t claim that he is taking back the contents of the letter with no legal commitment while also appealing the verdict of this case. The fact that he’s appealing the verdict at all further proves that our lawsuit was necessary in the first place: he plans on going after our providers.”

Planned Parenthood and its fellow plaintiffs will continue to fight this legal opinion to ensure Idahoans can get access to legal abortion in another state.


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