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.
Sunday is what would be the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Rather than celebrating, today we look at the state of abortion almost 7 months after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision.
In today’s Quickie: PP president’s new op-ed on moving beyond Roe, advocates keep the fight alive in the post-Roe era, find a Roe anniversary action event near you, and our weekly state fights round-up.
NEW OP-ED: PP PRESIDENT ON WHY SHE’S LETTING GO OF ROE V. WADE: Today, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson penned an op-ed for Teen Vogue, reflecting on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and the fight for reproductive rights ahead.
“This is what the loss of Roe means: Over a third of women in the U.S. — and more trans men and nonbinary people — no longer have access to abortion. Without that federal protection, more states will introduce anti-abortion legislation in 2023. The truth is, Roe was necessary, but it was never grounded in equality. It never actually guaranteed that people could get an abortion. Hurdles like distance, money, time off of work, and other restrictions have stood in the way of people’s health for over 50 years. The heartache of losing Roe is one that many people have been feeling for a generation.”
While Roe was incredibly important, Alexis notes that Roe had always been the floor when in reality we need to get to the ceiling. Alexis highlighted how she was inspired for the future of the reproductive rights movement by her own daughters and their friends’ reaction to the Dobbs decision.
“I’d always hoped I was raising fierce, badass girls ready to take up the baton of leadership. As difficult as June 24 was, my daughters showed me a fighting spirit that is not going to back down. Their resistance to what happened last summer meant one thing: The Supreme Court is not going to get the last word on abortion access. The people — people just like you, just like my daughters — are going to get the final say.”
“DREAM BIGGER”: ADVOCATES KEEP THE FIGHT ALIVE ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROE: Yesterday, USA Today featured abortion rights advocates’ continued fight for reproductive freedom on what would be the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. While the Supreme Court overturning Roe almost seven months ago was devastating for abortion access around the country, activists note that the goal has always been to move beyond Roe and guarantee broader, more equitable access to reproductive health care services across the country, which Roe could not provide by itself.
“The fear that we’d never make it to Roe’s 50th anniversary was very real,” Danika Severino Wynn, Vice President of Abortion Access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It's infuriating that Roe did not make it to its 50th anniversary, that we didn't get that chance to celebrate in the way we have in years past. But we will be commemorating it regardless as a sign of our plan to keep marching forward and fighting for what was taken away.”
Since the fall of Roe, the abortions rights movement has seen an outpouring of support and has had the opportunity to reimagine what access looks like. In 2022, advocates won all six ballot measures regarding abortion and voters turned out in the midterms in support of abortion rights. Across the country, state legislatures are codifying abortion rights on the state-level. Advocates have organized massive demonstrations and pushed for greater access to services like over-the-counter birth control and abortion medication like mifepristone.
There is a significant amount of work to be done, especially as the anti-abortion movement continues to try and chip away at our bodily autonomy. However, abortions rights advocates are ready for the fight.
Read more at USA Today.
FIND A ROE ANNIVERSARY ACTION NEAR YOU: To mark what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are holding a series of events as part of their Week of Action. With 18 states enforcing bans on all or some abortions, people seeking care need support and care from their communities and from places where they need to travel. During this Week of Action, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will work to reduce abortion stigma and take tangible action to support patients through trainings, rallies, and abortion care basket assembly events across the country. Abortion care baskets are filled with items to support patients after an abortion, including heating pads and fuzzy socks.
Events taking place:
- Jan 21: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Abortion Action Blitz Rally at the Ohio statehouse in Columbus with state lawmakers
- Jan 23: Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey Rally for Roe at the Statehouse Annex in Trenton with with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
- Jan 23: Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Roe Anniversary Event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with members of the PA’s Women’s Health Caucus
- Additional Roe anniversary abortion care basket assembly events in Minnesota, Maine, Florida, Vermont, Nevada, South Carolina, and Hawaii
- Additional Roe anniversary abortion stigma training events in Texas, Washington, New York, California, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Alaska, and Illinois.
STATE FIGHTS ROUND UP: To mark 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, states have already introduced and pre-filed a slew of pro-abortion rights legislation. Check out this recap of what we’ve seen thus far. Several of these bills advanced this week:
- The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act), which would codify the fundamental right of reproductive freedom into state law. It’s set to pass the Senate next week and will go into effect immediately when signed into law by Gov. Walz.
- Lawmakers in Rhode Island introduced the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA), which would expand abortion insurance coverage to recipients of the Rhode Island Medicaid program. The bill awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary committee.
- This week, reproductive rights champions unveiled several pieces of proactive legislation in Maine. The package of bills includes provisions to bolster patient privacy protections and update data collection policies; protect providers and their medical licenses for providing abortions to patients from out of state; and mandate that private insurance covers abortion as part of comprehensive pregnancy care, easing the cost burden of abortion care.
- Several pro-sexual and reproductive health care bills were also introduced in Arizona, including legislation to grant state benefits for a pregnant person 'barred' from seeking an abortion by the state and a repeal of criminal penalties under Arizona’s pre-Roe abortion ban.
- Yesterday, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania met with Gov. Shapiro to discuss the abortion access landscape in the state. In the meeting, Planned Parenthood asked the Shapiro administration to hold state-funded crisis pregnancy centers accountable for providing misinformation, revisit medically unnecessary regulatory restrictions on abortion clinics, and waive onerous and unnecessary testing requirements for clinic patients.
- On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing on two bills that would expand postpartum Medicaid coverage in the state to 12 months, beginning on the last day of pregnancy. The bills will likely be combined and have a vote next week.
We also saw movement on many of the 75 bills restricting abortion that have been pre-filed and introduced this session:
- Nebraska lawmakers have introduced harmful legislation to ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy and implement a tax credit to benefit those who donate to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.
- This morning, Virginia’s Senate Health Professions subcommittee heard testimony on three abortion bans and voted to recommend the full committee reject each proposal. In the hearing, abortion providers and patient storytellers offered powerful testimony about the importance of keeping politics out of personal health care decisions. The proposed legislation, which includes a total ban and a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, will be considered by the full senate committee next Thursday, Jan. 26. The Senate Rules committee is also set to consider a proposed anti-abortion resolution.
- The Utah House Judiciary committee voted 8-4 this week to pass a resolution that would amend the rules of civil procedure, to prevent litigants from securing a preliminary injunction unless they can demonstrate the case has a substantial likelihood of success–a much steeper threshold than current Utah law. The resolution specifically targets the hold on Utah’s abortion trigger ban which has been in place since June, following Planned Parenthood Advocates of Utah’s challenge to the law. It now heads to the full House floor for a vote. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee also approved a ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth.
- During a pre-file session, Alaska lawmakers introduced an anti-abortion constitutional amendment that was approved by voters which would change the Alaska constitution to state that there is no constitutional right to abortion or state funding of abortion. If the resolution passes the legislature, the measure would be on the ballot in Nov 2024.
- The state of Tennessee announced plans to end funding for HIV prevention, testing, and treatment programs in the state starting on May 31. Despite the state’s Dept. of Health's claims that other state initiatives will be used to support HIV care, this will likely leave thousands of people without access to these critical services. Ashley Coffield, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, which currently provides HIV prevention care through these grants, responded to the news saying, “The state health department walking away from CDC funding for HIV prevention is going to impact the community-based organizations that are on the ground doing the preventive work that is necessary to end the HIV epidemic in Shelby County. It's politics before people, and it puts people's health and well-being at risk.” More here.