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: S.C. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on abortion ban, the importance of A.Z.’s governor race for abortion access, and what pregnancy before 10 weeks really looks like!
S.C. SUPREME COURT HEARS ORAL ARGUMENTS ON ABORTION BAN: Yesterday, South Carolina’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments in abortion providers’ challenge to the state’s six-week ban. The 2021 law was previously blocked by federal courts but allowed to take effect shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two physician plaintiffs who provide abortion care in South Carolina filed a new state court challenge in July, asserting that the ban violates South Carolinians’ constitutional right to privacy and equal protection. The South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously blocked the ban on August 17 while litigation continues.
Arguing on behalf of abortion providers in court yesterday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America senior staff attorney Julie Murray explained that "at that stage of pregnancy there is no heartbeat. In fact, there is no heart at all … only electrical impulses in embryonic tissue detectable by ultrasound.” Six weeks is before many people even know they are pregnant: “Whether it takes you 10 days or a month to figure that out, that’s a decision that should be left to women,” Murray told the court.
Right now, abortion remains legal in South Carolina up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
ABORTION ACCESS IS ON THE LINE THIS ELECTION IN ARIZONA – AND THE GOVERNOR’S RACE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROTECT IT: In our final installment of Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s partnership with Cosmopolitan, we turn to Arizona – where abortion access has alwas hung in the balance, even before Roe was overturned. But this midterm cycle, Arizonans have the opportunity to elect Katie Hobbs – a reproductive rights champion who has promised to veto any legislation that restricts access to abortion–as their governor.
“For over 100 days, Arizonans have experienced pure chaos and confusion regarding state abortion laws,” says Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. “Arizona’s anti-abortion politicians have been the cruel force behind the medically unfounded abortion restrictions; they are continuing to put politics over patients and are blatantly out of step with the vast majority of Arizona voters, who support abortion rights and access.”
WHAT PREGNANCY BEFORE TEN WEEKS REALLY LOOKS LIKE: Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, many states have moved swiftly to ban or severely restrict abortion at the earliest stages of pregnancy—before many even know they are pregnant. Anti-abortion politicians do not want to stop there, with some calling for people who defy abortion restrictions to be charged with murder.
The MYA Network, a network of clinicians, activists and patients working to combat stigma in abortion care, published images of what tissue before 10 weeks of pregnancy really looks like. The photos were initially released early in the pandemic when several states used COVID-19 safety regulations to further restrict abortion access.
Imagery in pop culture and education often depict early-stage pregnancies with recognizable human qualities, which oftentimes does not align with actual fetal development. Medically accurate portrayals of pregnancy serve to counter this misinformation and reduce abortion stigma. Everyone deserves accurate information to make the best decisions for their own health and bodies.
Read more here.
Nine weeks of pregnancy. Photograph: MYA Network