Repro Wrap: Oklahoma’s Stealth “Personhood” Push and Other News
Oklahoma, you’ve been a very, very busy state this week. Previous attempts to restrict the way that a provider can offer medication abortion — requiring an outdated FDA protocol rather than relying on newer, more efficient medical best practices — had been blocked by the courts, who noted that the requirements were written in such a way as to make it impossible to ever proscribe a medication abortion in the first place. Now, Oklahoma has taken another swing at the restriction, saying they’ve addressed the court’s concerns.
Abortion restriction opponents say the legislature has changed little in their new bill, which still requires three times the necessary amount of drug to be used, and only allows it to be used in the first seven weeks of a pregnancy even though it is just as effective through the ninth. The governor, however, signed the bill anyway.
But that wasn’t all that Oklahoma was working on. A bill that had been working its way through the legislature that would put medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers had a few stealth amendments tacked onto it during the session. Now, it also states that personhood begins at the moment of conception, and has outlawed embryonic stem cell research and requires all embryos to remain perpetually frozen unless implanted in an attempt to create a baby. If the amended bill makes it to the governor, expect that to be the end of fertility treatment in the state.
Speaking of personhood, North Dakota will be battling an amendment this fall. Meet one of the women who will lead the charge to defeat it. And Alabama’s Supreme Court has once more defined a person at the moment of conception, at least when it comes to saying that a pregnant person has “endangered” one through her actions.
The governor of Mississippi has signed a so called “fetal pain” ban into law, after legislators revised it to make the bill ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation (18 weeks after conception) versus 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post conception) like all of the other fetal pain bills in the country. That makes the bill even more constitutionally problematic than its slightly less restrictive versions but, with almost no abortions being performed that late in the state anyway, the odds that it will be challenged are very, very slim. Florida’s state house has moved forward on its ban on abortions after viability, allowing them only in cases where denying an abortion is likely to result in the pregnant person’s death.
Speaking of pregnant people’s potential death, two amazing pieces discussing the devastation that closing the abortion clinics in the Rio Grande Valley are having on low income and undocumented people in Texas, one from Al Jazeera, and one by Irin Carmon. Both are must reads.
Abolish Human Abortion is continuing its battle to bring graphic anti-abortion photos to high schools across the nation and, unsurprisingly, parents continue to not be happy about it.
It’s still primary season, and for the GOP that means sorting out the candidates that are really against abortion from the candidates that really, really with every fiber of their being hate abortion. Both North Carolina and Georgia senate candidates are trying to decide who is the best anti-abortion candidate of all, and both candidate pools have something in common: each has at least one “pro-life Ob-GYN.” That’s a very disturbing political trend.
Tennessee is still waiting to see if its governor is going to sign or veto a new bill that would add additional penalties to pregnant women who use drugs. In an unusual occurrence, it is actually politicians who oppose abortion who are urging the governor to kill the bill, fearing that women struggling with addiction will abort rather than risk being thrown in jail because of their drug use. Meanwhile, Jeanne Flavin writes a beautiful piece about forgiveness and compassion for those who are pregnant and fighting addiction.
Arizona’s access to abortion has become dire, between clinic closures, medication abortion restrictions and now this new push for clinic inspections without any notice. How bad have things gotten? The state has finally drawn enough issues to merit its own Rolling Stone listicle. That’s pretty bad.
Finally, in some good news, science thinks it has discovered how eggs that have been fertilized learn to reject subsequent sperm, and what allows the initial sperm to penetrate in the first place. This discovery could lead not just to better infertility treatments, but the possibility that we can create real, effective, non-hormonal birth control. That’s something everyone should be excited about.
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