In Texas, doctors receiving funds from the state’s women’s health care program aren’t allowed to “promote” abortions—but the law has scared doctors away from even mentioning the existence of abortion at all.
The Times made a documentary about Jane, a Chicago collective of DIY abortionists in the 60’s and 70’s. Here are two things that I can’t stop thinking about: at the time, an abortion in Chicago could run as high as $6,500 in today’s dollars. And when seven Janes were busted by police in 1972, the women tore off the pieces of paper with the names of their patients and swallowed them as they sat in the back of the police van.
Women on Web has been providing safe medication abortions by mail for years, but never to Americans (not for lack of need, but for fear of our monstrous anti-choice movement!! USA! USA!). But the founder of WoW, Rebecca Gomperts, found that the need was so great, she finally made a version of the program for us (separate from WoW, to mitigate the legal risk), called Aid Access. “I got an email from a woman who was living in a car with two kids,” she said. “Something had to be done.”
Endorsing “irregular military tactics” against abortion doctors and calling for a “Fetal Uprising” wasn’t enough to put anti-abortion nightmare Jeff White in prison, but luckily….. an elaborate con to defraud the federal government to the tune of $27 million was! He’s the sole listed employee of a group called “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust,” which has a budget of over $270,000, but he ran his Obamacare scam on the side (busy man!) and he’s about to go to prison for at least five years.
This is a long sentence but hear me out: Women with physically demanding jobs are having miscarriages, because employers aren’t legally obliged to accommodate pregnant workers who request lighter loads as long as they aren’t also making accommodations for other workers who need them. In other words as long as companies exploit all workers, they can keep exploiting pregnant workers with impunity. One woman who miscarried is now working to unionize her former workplace.
This is an excellent snapshot of what it’s like to access care at the only abortion clinic in Kentucky and these volunteer escorts are all true heroes, but. But. That framing of “confronting antis” vs. “focusing on the patients” again!! It’s becoming very boring. When will we decide that these aren’t fundamentally different things? And that our decades-long failure to confront antis is exactly why we are backed into a corner debating the hypothetical impacts of clinic escorting vs. clinic defense while they terrorize patients, threaten to tow their cars, block the clinic entrance, throw bricks through the window, and push legislation that could close the clinic for good pretty much any day now?