Care2 Bloggers’ Book Shows How GOP Shoves Women Toward Back Alley Abortions

Republicans ran in 2010 on a platform of small government. President Obama, they said, had overreached with Obamacare, and the only sensible reaction was to pare government back, and get it out of people’s lives.

So we’ve been told, and some choose to believe it. Unfortunately, the GOP’s hatred of government extends only as far as the budget. When it comes to women’s constitutional right to access abortion services, Republicans have been working night and day these last three years to inject more government at every turn. Government helping people pay for their health care may be nearly socialism, but government preventing people from accessing health care? Why, that’s just moral.

Most people who care about choice know of this ongoing assault, but even for those of us who follow the issue closely, a new book by former Care2 Causes writer Robin Marty and current Care2 Causes writer Jessica Mason Pieklo is a dispiriting look at just how focused Republicans have become on denying women abortion rights — at least, as long as the women are poor.

Marty and Pieklo’s new book, Crow After Roe, is an excellent survey of the Republican attack on women’s health. The book travels around the country, telling tale after tale of GOP legislators attempting to eliminate the right to choose for all but the wealthiest people. From Nebraska’s draconian restrictions of abortion rights, to Ohio’s “heartbeat bill,” to the awful case of Bei Bei Shuai, who was charged with murder for attempting suicide while pregnant, Crow amasses undeniable evidence that the Republican assault on choice is not just the doing of a few fire-breathers in the deep South. Indeed, it is a unifying force in GOP politics across the country, whether in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, or Rick Perry’s Texas.

The actions since 2010 have not occurred in a vaccuum. Indeed, it’s part of the anti-choice strategy to chip away at women’s abortion access. If they can’t overturn Roe, the thinking goes, they’ll simply make it impossible for women to take advantage of their rights — unless they can afford a last-minute plane ticket to New York. As Marty and Pieklo write:

While safe abortion will always be available for those with economic means, just as it was before Roe, for women without those same opportunities — those in rural areas, those who are poor, and especially women of color facing both of those issues — the ability to obtain an abortion is already limited and becoming more so on a daily basis. In addition, rather than assisting these women by helping them prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, the same politicians and activists working to end abortion are also trying to eliminate women’s ability to access contraception, either by extinguishing women’s family planning funding, targeting and closing reproductive care clinics, or denying medical attention and birth control, under the name of conscience rights.

This war of attrition has already resulted in literal casualties. Anyone following the case of Kermit Gosnell knows that his clientele were poor women of color, who could not afford to obtain reproductive health services from reputable clinics. Instead, they ended up at Gosnell’s house of horrors, which was in every way a model of a back-alley abortion clinic.

Marty and Pieklo make a strong case that the anti-choice movement is out to create a nation of Gosnell’s patients — women who can’t afford the 10-hour trip to the nearest clinic, much less the three days of hotel expenses required just to sit through the waiting period. Women who will instead choose to go to someone who will terminate the pregnancy — if you don’t mind that he or she may or may not be an actual doctor. This won’t affect the rich, of course — they can always buy the plane ticket to New York or California. But for a struggling woman who doesn’t live in a metro area, the options will be dire indeed.

All in all, Crow does an excellent job laying out the stakes of inaction by those who support a woman’s right to choose. If there is a complaint about Crow, it is one that cannot possibly have been avoided: simply, the Republican war on choice keeps marching on. There are all sorts of new, draconian laws being pushed, from North Dakota to Arkansas, that Marty and Pieklo couldn’t have addressed without delaying their book forever.

But that’s a quibble. Crow is an excellent primer for anyone who doubts that the Republican war on reproductive freedom is real. It makes clear that unless we who support a woman’s right to choose begin to fight back, abortion rights will suffer the death of a thousand cuts.


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Image Credits: iStockphoto, Ig Publishing


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

...and the legalization made them so safe. What about Gosnell in Philadelphia? Shouldn't they be regulated like other clinics? They are doing surgeries is some cases, shouldn't they have inspections like hospitals?

Pro lifers keep saying a woman has the right to choose about her own body, what about the babies body? They baby has no say about any of it!

Michelle J.
Michelle J4 years ago

I am pro-choice, and I believe that as a woman, I should have the right to make my own choice about my own body. Religion and Politics should NOT have the right to make a choice regarding my decisions!

lisa o.
lisa O4 years ago

It is good that this book was written. There are those in our country who have looked the other way while these restrictions were put in place. Giving comprehensive information on all the ways that women's rights to their own bodies are being taken away, may help wake up some of the populace to the truth. It is time more people took up the cause of women's health rights and stopped this nonsense.

Ro H.
Ro H4 years ago


paul m.
paul m4 years ago

This is a Woman's choice , Medical not Political.

Arwen Woods
Arwen Woods4 years ago

OK, here is my two cents worth on the issue:

First of all, I really think that people should stop having a go at Anne for typing in caps. She has a genuine reason to need to do it, she is not trying to deliberately offend or annoy people. If moaning about how she types id the biggest thing on your mind them man oh man you need to get out more.

Abortion is always such a hugely emotive topic and can provoke some very dramatic knee jerk reactions when it is debated. I have been guilty of responding in an inappropriate way when trying to debate the issue as I have personal experience.

I had an abortion when I was 19 years old. I don't regret it - not for one second. The pregnancy was as the result of abuse and it was the right thing to do. I will not let anyone tell me that is wasn't. I would have lost my own life had I through with the pregnancy. I didn't need to think about it at all.

Yet for some women the decision is a heavy and difficult one. There is not enough access to the right information and support as it stands now. Yet here are the GOP wanting to restrict it even more! These womb botherers need to back the hell up and step away from the uteruses! A woman's body = a woman's choice!

Heidi H.
Past Member 4 years ago

My immediate reaction to this comment was said best by Pam w and backed up well by her citing the newspaper article.

I'm certain it's not just the GOP who are forcing the closures of abortion clinics and denying freedom of choice. We live in times where all over the world the extreme right is pushing forth ideas and laws. Oddly enough, the extreme right includes many from the once far left taking control of all party platforms.

pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Not just the GOP.....

(Hidden in the back of Los Angeles Times today) "In a letter to physicians and staff, Hoag Hospial in Newport Beach has announced elective abortions will no longer be performed there.

The letter said the decision is based on the low number of procedures done annually and was made after a review of clinical services.

The review of services was prompted by the hospital's partnership with ST. JOSEPH HEALTH...A ROMAN CATHOLIC-AFFILIATED INSTITUTION. (emphasis is mine.)

Hoag Chief Exec & Pres. Robert Braithwaite said that at no point did St. Joseph pressure the board to change its policy on elective abortions."

Yes...and pink unicorns were frolicking on the beach that same day! DAMNED HYPOCRITES!

Ellen Gaston
Ellen Gaston4 years ago

I'm pretty sure a back alley would be preferable to Kermit Gosnell's murder clinic.

Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

Anne M. Scroll on by as this post contains truths you do not want to read.

Anne M I never claimed to be a expert. I do understand this issue from a constitutional POV.. It one that makes sure the government and little fools keep out of a medical decision.. Interesting that you see a need to type in CAPS.. Yet are able to read the font of people typing with out caps..

Yep real interesting.. In my opinion you are being deliberately rude.

But hey you want to cut off your nose to spite yourself. that is your Choice. As for other women. I think that it says enough that Roe V Wade has stood and will continue to stand. Mean while on a larger platform. Thanks for helping the republican party implode. Thanks for being there to not only show what a fool is capable of being in regards to her legal rights. But to also help a once fine party implode on itself. As this issue is making the republican party look worse every day. Every time a State legislation is pass in making that much more difficult for a woman to make a decision concerning her pregnancy. Any time a fool Republican congress person makes a blatant misogynist statement. that is all on you and your antichoice fools for helping destroy a once fine party. Oh and you are not helping any one.. Just thought you would like to know that.