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: Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address, the PPAF team details the state of our country’s abortion access more than 7 months post Dobbs.
ABORTION STORYTELLERS AND PROVIDERS WILL JOIN FIRST LADY, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AT THE STATE OF THE UNION: During tonight’s State of the Union Address, members of Congress have invited Planned Parenthood leaders, abortion patients, abortion providers, and abortion storytellers to join them as their guests to highlight the ongoing importance of protecting access to sexual and reproductive health care amidst ongoing attacks. Additionally, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has invited Amanda and Josh Zurawski from Austin, Texas, to sit in her box. After Amanda’s water broke at just 18 weeks, doctors were afraid to provide her with the care she needed because of the state’s abortion ban. Instead, she needed to wait until she developed sepsis–a life-threatening infection–before she received care. Some of the members’ guests include:
- NJ: Rep. Rob Menendez will be joined by Rosyln Rogers Collins, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan New Jersey
- FL: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be joined by Anabely Lopes, an abortion story teller
- PA: Rep. Madeleine Dean will be joined by Kelsey Leigh, a patient advocate
- NY: Rep. Nydia Velazquez will be joined by Dr. Jamila Perritt, president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and a Planned Parenthood provider
- IL: Sen. Tammy Duckworth will be joined by Dr. Erin King, a provider
- MA: Senator Ed Markey will be joined by Kate Dineen, an abortion storyteller; Democratic Whip Rep. Katherine Clark will be joined by Dr. Cheryl Hamlin, an OB/GYN and reproductive justice advocate
- NV: Rep. Susie Lee will be joined by Misty Tzugaris, an abortion storyteller
THE STATE OF THE UNION FOR ABORTION ACCESS
ANTI-ABORTION POLITICIANS WEAPONIZING THE COURTS TO FURTHER THEIR AGENDA TO BAN ABORTION: News flash: Anti-abortion politicians and activists were never satisfied with the overturning of Roe that let states ban abortion. Instead of listening to Americans who overwhelmingly support reproductive rights, these out-of-touch extremists are weaponizing the courts to realize their radical and unpopular agendas. Right now, these politicians and activists are trying to end FDA approval of mifepristone; shut down Planned Parenthood in Texas through a meritless suit; and reinstate the previous presidential administration’s Title X gag rule, among other serious threats to reproductive health care access. Click here to read more.
STATE LAWMAKERS RAMP UP THEIR ATTACKS ON ABORTION ACCESS: Already, bans have eliminated all or some access to abortion in 18 states, leaving one in three women of reproductive age, and more people who can become pregnant, without the power to control their own bodies. Just one month into the 2023 state legislative session, anti-abortion politicians have filed more than 160 anti-abortion bills in 33 states, once again making abortion one of the top issues this session. So far, we’ve seen dozens of abortion bans introduced across the country, including a six-week ban in Nebraska; a total ban in North Dakota; both a near-total and six-week ban in South Carolina; and a 15-week ban in Virginia. Bills to restrict or eliminate medication abortion are also moving in Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kansas, where voters just rejected an effort to strip abortion rights from the state constitution. And in Utah, lawmakers are on the verge of passing a resolution that would amend the rules of civil procedure regarding preliminary injunctions — all with the goal of allowing the currently blocked trigger ban to take effect.
Despite this, there have also been some major victories this session from reproductive health champions. Last month, Illinois lawmakers enacted the Patient and Provider Protection Act, which will mitigate the threat of aggressive out-of-state litigation against providers of abortion and gender-affirming care, and expand the range of abortion services provided by advanced practice clinicians. And just last week, lawmakers in Minnesota enacted the Protect Reproductive Options Act, which codifies the fundamental right of reproductive freedom into state law. These are just two of more than 165 proactive bills filed to restore, protect, and expand abortion access this session thus far. See more on proactive efforts here.
THE TALE OF TWO CHAMBERS: Contrary to the demands and wishes of the American people (aka - their constituents), the slim majority of anti-abortion House members made attacking abortion rights their number one priority of an already chaotic start to the 119th Congress. During the first full legislative week, the House passed two anti-abortion bills to further spread disinformation about abortion, attack providers, and advance their warped agenda. But repro rights champs in the House continue to push back by introducing critical bills to protect patients and providers. And thankfully, we also have a reproductive rights majority in the Senate who will block anti-abortion bills from moving any further and are committed to protecting abortion rights and access.
THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO BE AN ALLY IN THE FIGHT TO PROTECT ABORTION ACCESS: Over the past two years, President Biden, Vice President Harris, HHS Secretary Becerra, and the entire administration have used their power to speak out and to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. In the midst of multiple crises, President Biden established the first ever Gender Policy Council at the White House, as well as issuing multiple executive orders and memos to protect access to care and establish an Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access. Biden’s administration has worked to rescind harmful rules that restrict access to birth control and reproductive health care and prohibit discrimination in health care, invested in safety net providers, and taken actions to protect people’s privacy. The Vice President and Secretary Becerra have met with numerous abortion patients and providers and visited health centers across the country.
Sec. Becerra and Admiral Rachel Levine attended a roundtable on abortion access at a Planned Parenthood health center in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of HHS.
STORIES YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS WEEK
- NBC News: How Tennessee axed millions in HIV funds amid scrutiny from far-right provocateurs
- WSJ: Minnesota, With New Democratic Control, Enacts State Abortion Rights
- Mornings with Zerlina: The Future of Reproductive Care with Alexis McGill Johnson
- Vanity Fair: Republicans are Only Getting Sneakier with their Antiabortion Proposals
- Forbes: RNC Directs Republicans To Enact ‘Strongest’ Abortion Restrictions Possible Ahead Of 2024
- NYT: G.O.P. State Lawmakers Push a Growing Wave of Anti-Transgender Bills
RECENT POLLING SHOWS AMERICAN PEOPLE STILL FURIOUS FOLLOWING OVERTURNING OF ROE AND CONTINUE TO OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT PROTECTING ACCESS TO ABORTION: As first reported in The 19th*, new polling from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Change Research highlights the increasing concern over the criminalization of patients and abortion providers. Six months after the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion, over one third (32%) of Americans are still outraged. 63% report feeling one or more negative emotions, including terrified and angry, and 41% feel motivated to take action in support of abortion access.
Other key findings include:
- 70 percent of Americans support establishing and maintaining the right to abortion in their state.
- 80 percent of people are concerned that law enforcement could investigate people who have miscarriages or stillbirths if they are suspected of getting an abortion.
- 75 percent of people are concerned that people who get an abortion could be charged with a felony or go to jail.
- 81 percent of people are concerned that doctors and nurses could be charged with a felony for providing an abortion if the patient’s life was at risk and a prosecutor disagrees.