Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day.
TEXAS MARKS ONE YEAR WITHOUT MEANINGFUL ABORTION ACCESS; NEW DATA SHOWS SWEEPING IMPACT OF S.B. 8: Today marks one full year since Texans first lost meaningful abortion access with the implementation of S.B. 8, a six-week “sue-thy-neighbor” abortion ban. For the past year, Texas has offered a devastating preview of the far-reaching effects of banning abortion, and a clear indication of what we can expect across the country in the coming weeks and months as more states impose bans and more people are cut off from care. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, two additional total bans have cut off all remaining access in Texas, and 15 other states have begun enforcing their own abortion bans. New data released from Planned Parenthood today highlight the extreme toll S.B. 8 has taken on Texans and on neighboring states — including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas – even before Roe was overturned. From September 2021 to June 2022, when S.B. 8 barred abortion after six weeks of pregnancy but total bans had not yet taken effect in Texas:
- Planned Parenthood health centers in these surrounding states saw a 550% increase in patients obtaining abortion with a Texas ZIP code.
- More than 400 abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code visited Planned Parenthood health centers in Kansas, compared to fewer than 10 abortion patients from September 2020 to June 2021.
- Abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code at Planned Parenthood health centers in Colorado increased 10-fold compared to the previous year.
- Abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code more than doubled from 19% to 41% of the total number of abortion patients at Planned Parenthood health centers in New Mexico compared to the previous year.
- Oklahoma’s abortion ban, which took effect in May 2022, cut off a critical access point for Texans: From September 2021 to May 2022, more than half (56%) of the total number of abortion patients at Planned Parenthood health centers in Oklahoma had a Texas ZIP code, compared to 15% from September 2020 to June 2021.
As more states ban abortion, patients are forced to literally go to greater lengths: On average in June 2022, Texas patients traveled more than 400 miles to access abortion care, more than four times farther than they traveled on average in June 2021.
Statement from presidents and CEOs of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and Planned Parenthood South Texas:
“Meaningful abortion access in Texas was completely decimated one year ago and it has only worsened since. Across the state, we’ve been forced time and time again to turn away patients in need of essential care. Each day at work, our providers, nurses, and clinicians are met with the painful reality of being legally prevented from providing health care to patients. With bordering states and now others across the country enacting abortion bans — further limiting the already scarce access available to Texans who can travel — the struggles that predominantly affect our marginalized communities have become even more devastating across the country. As these extreme restrictions continue, our doors remain open and our same promise remains. We are committed to fighting to restore access to essential abortion care.”
Jessica G., a mother from South Texas who was forced to travel hundreds of miles to Louisana for an abortion once S.B. 8 took effect, penned an op-ed today in Ms. Magaizne detailing her experience. Jessica writes:
“Because of Texas’ abortion ban, I was forced to travel 231 miles round trip to Louisiana. My parents drove me to Shreveport and back twice: once for the initial and mandatory counseling appointment, then again a week later for the actual procedure.
“I don’t think I would have survived if I was forced to carry that pregnancy to term, but forced pregnancy and forced birth are exactly what hundreds of Texans have been subjected to over the past year—and it’s the fate of millions of people across the country now that 16 states and counting, including Texas and Louisiana, have enacted bans and additional restrictions on abortion since the fall of Roe.”
Read her full story here
New polling released today also shows that six in 10 Texas voters believe that abortion should be “available in all or most cases” and that it will be a motiviating issue for them in the November midterm elections. Meanwhile, only 11% of Texas voters support a total abortion ban. More from NPR.
MICHIGAN REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM FOR ALL TAKES BALLOT FIGHT TO STATE SUPREME COURT: The Michigan coalition seeking to protect abortion rights in the Michigan constitution this November — which includes Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan — is heading to court after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked yesterday and refused to certify a record number of petition signatures supporting the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot measure. In a 2-2 vote along partisan lines, the board ultimately disenfranchised more than 730,000 Michiganders by refusing to certify the signatures of people from all across the state who signed the petition to put the amendment on the ballot — even after state elections officials affirmed that the campaign had surpassed the required threshold to let Michigan voters decide on the amendment. Elections officials also said that the board had no standing to act on abortion opponents’ claims unrelated to the signature count.
“The board’s job was to certify whether we met the signature threshold to get on the ballot,” added RFFA attorney Steve Liedel after the board deadlocked on the issue Wednesday. “Clearly, we met and exceeded the state’s threshold by more than 140,000 signatures. By not certifying, the board disenfranchised the more than 730,000 Michigan voters who read, understood, and signed these petitions.”
Now, RFFA will appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court for judicial intervention to force the board to put the issue on the November ballot. Abortion access is tenuous in Michigan, where a 1931 criminal abortion ban is currently blocked while litigation proceeds. But some anti-abortion prosecutors are eager to be able to enforce it, which would have devastating and deadly consequences. Attorneys for RFFA filed an emergency writ of mandamus with the Michigan Supreme Court today and requested an expedited decision by Sept. 7, ahead of a Sept. 9 deadline to provide enough time for clerks to print ballots for voters.
NEW MEXICO GOV. PLEDGES $10 MILLION TO BUILD NEW ABORTION CLINIC: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Wednesday that will allot $10 million to build a new clinic that will provide abortion care and other pregnancy-related services. Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, New Mexico has seen an influx of patients seeking care from neighboring states with trigger laws and other newly-effective abortion bans. The new clinic will help ensure that abortion care is available for these out-of-state patients, as well as “expand access to reproductive health care in a part of the state where such services had been lacking,” said Kayla Herring of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in a conversation with The Washington Post.
The governor gave remarks Wednesday at the signing, as reported by the AP:
“‘The goal here is build it and they will come,’ Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham said after signing the order during a virtual announcement that included members of the state’s Commission on the Status of Women and several legislators.
“The governor said the work being done by her allies in the Legislature and advocacy groups is saving women’s lives.
“‘The notion that women cannot have control over their bodies, dignity, respect and autonomy is outrageous,’ Lujan Grisham said. ‘This is a state that is not going to let that be the status quo.’”
IN UPSET, PPAF ENDORSED MARY PELTOLA WINS SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ALASKA AT-LARGE HOUSE SEAT: Last night, in a special election to fill the vacant Alaska at-large House seat, Planned Parenthood Action Fund-endorsed candidate Mary Peltola defeated Sarah Palin. Throughout her campaign, Congresswoman-elect Peltola focused on issues critical to her community, including her support of reproductive rights and sound environmental policies. She will become the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson reflected on the victory, explaining:
“Last night’s result in Alaska underscores what we already know: voters want the freedom to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Already this year in Kansas, in Pat Ryan’s upset in NY-19–indeed, in election after election, voters have made it clear that they support protecting abortion access and will reject candidates who attack reproductive freedom. This November, voters across America have the opportunity to continue this momentum and elect reproductive rights champions that will fight for abortion rights at every level of government. We have no time to waste.”
Also, just saying...