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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: dark money groups pour cash into anti-abortion campaigns, abortion storyteller explains why abortion bans with exceptions don’t work, and centering reproductive justice for Black women in FL. 

NATIONAL DARK MONEY GROUPS POUR CASH INTO STATE-LEVEL ANTI-ABORTION CAMPAIGNS: Last week, The Lever published an investigative piece on the dark money behind a disinformation campaign in the final days of Kansas’s fight to protect abortion access last summer. Just days before the pivotal vote in August, voters received a mysterious text claiming voting “yes” on the ballot initiative to remove state constitutional protections for abortion would do the opposite and “give women a choice”. 

Tax records examined by The Lever reveal that the organization behind the texts, CatholicVote Civic Action, received at least $1.7 million from a network led by conservative judicial strategist Leonard Leo. Leo’s dark money group, The Concord Fund, donated millions of dollars to secure the confirmations of Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. His group is one of many pushing their anti-abortion agendas against the will of voters across the country. These funds have also donated to anti-abortion advocacy groups, politicians at the state and national level, conservative attorney generals, and potential anti-abortion presidential candidates.

Read more at The Lever

EXCEPTIONS IN ABORTION BANS DON’T WORK: STORYTELLER TALKS HARROWING EXPERIENCE NAVIGATING LA ABORTION BAN: Last week, Nancy Davis shared her story about trying to get an abortion in Louisiana, which has a near total abortion ban with limited exceptions, with BBC’s Health Check. Nancy was already a mother of three when she had her fourth planned pregnancy. Unfortunately, the fetus was diagnosed with acrania — a lethal condition that affects skull formation in the fetus — making the fetus non-viable outside of the womb. Davis attempted to get an abortion at her local provider in Baton Rouge only to find out the clinic had closed due to pressures post-Dobbs. Other doctors in the area refused to perform the procedure even though it was technically legal under Louisiana law due to fear of punishment and the fact that the baby still had a heartbeat, creating some legal gray area even though the fetus was non-viable. Davis ended up having to travel 1,400 miles to seek care at Planned Parenthood Greater New York after six weeks of doing research and making arrangements. Nancy described the experience as traumatizing for herself and her whole family who are in therapy to process the situation. 

Stories like Nancy’s are not uncommon: abortion bans with exceptions are just abortion bans. The exceptions are practically unworkable because these bans make availability of care scarce and because the few doctors that could perform an abortion often refuse due to legal uncertainty. This magnifies trauma and hardship for pregnant people and their families who are often already dealing with heartbreaking and painful medical complications related to their pregnancy.   

BLACK IN REPRO CENTERS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE IN FLORIDA: The 19th* spotlightedBlack in Repro, a working group of 40 Black women in Florida, including doulas, midwives, and other medical practitioners, who have been working to address racial disparities in reproductive health in the state. Since forming last April, the group has focused on drawing attention to the disproportionate impact Florida’s 15-week and six-week abortion bans, as well as other restrictions have had on Black pregnant people. In Florida, Black pregnant women die from pregnancy-related complications at twice the overall rate and abortion bans continue to exacerbate this crisis. 

“We have Black people in this space and we want to carve out a space that is very specific to our communities and our needs to begin to bring more people into this work and create a space that is culturally aligned,” Melanie Andrade Williams, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and member of Black in Repro, told The 19th*. She continued, “We realized that there was no statewide entity that focuses on this and there really ought to be, so we got together.”

Read more at The 19th*.


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