Thursday, May 5, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Nationally, A Majority Support Abortion Rights. But It Differs State By State

News outlets look to the polls to take the pulse of America on abortion. In other related news: Canada offers Americans a haven, abortion groups report a spike in donations, corporations stay largely silent, and clinics plan their next steps.

Poll: Half Of Voters Support Maintaining Roe V. Wade

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, voters oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted immediately after POLITICO published a draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would eviscerate the 1973 precedent guaranteeing federal abortion rights. Half of voters (50 percent) say Roe v. Wade should not be overturned — more than the 28 percent who say it should be overturned. More than 2-in-10 voters, 22 percent, are undecided, according to the poll. (Shepard, 5/4)

The New York Times:
Do Americans Support Abortion Rights? Depends On The State.

In the states poised to put in new restrictions on abortion, people tend to say that abortion should be mostly or fully illegal, based on a New York Times analysis of large national surveys taken over the last decade. In the 13 states that have enacted so-called trigger laws, which would immediately or very quickly outlaw abortion if Roe were overturned, 43 percent of adults on average say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 52 percent say it should be illegal in most or all cases. (Cohn, 5/4)

The Texas Tribune:
Most Texas Voters Say Abortion Should Be Allowed In Some Form, Poll Shows 

At a time when Texas is poised to outlaw the vast majority of abortions if the nation’s highest court overturns constitutional protections for the procedure, a recent University of Texas at Austin poll shows most Texan voters think access to abortion should be allowed in some form. Texas would make performing most abortions a felony if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade — a future that looks considerably more likely after a nonbinding draft opinion was leaked from the high court Monday. Constitutional protections for abortion could be struck down as soon as this summer. The university conducted the poll in April before the court’s document was leaked. The survey found that 78% of respondents believe abortion should be allowed in some form while only 15% said it should be never permitted. (Oxner, 5/4)

San Francisco Chronicle:
How Californians Feel About Roe V. Wade, According To One Survey

California has a reputation as one of the nation’s liberal bulwarks — and already there’s talk that the state could become a refuge for women seeking abortions if the Supreme Court follows through on overturning Roe v. Wade. Still, residents’ opinions on whether the case should be overturned vary by geography and income, according to a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in July 2021. … Statewide, 77% of respondents said the court should not overturn the precedent, while 21% said the justices should and 2% said they didn’t know. (Kost, 5/4)

Canada says Americans can get an abortion there —

Canadian Abortion Providers Can Treat Americans If Roe Goes Away, Official Says

While it’s not yet clear what resemblance the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion will bear to the final version, its current form suggests Justices may soon reverse federal abortion protections. And if that does come to pass, at least one Canadian official says Americans who are able to travel across the northern border will be able access the procedure there. Karina Gould, the minister of families, children and social development, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday that Canada would allow Americans to obtain abortions. (Treisman, 5/4)

The Washington Post:
Scrapping Roe Would Affect Both Sides Of Border, Canadian Official Says

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, Americans could continue to receive abortions in Canada, Karina Gould, the country’s minister of families, children and social development, said Tuesday. She said such a decision would affect people on both sides of the border. … “One of the concerning factors here is that there are many Canadian women who maybe don’t live near a major city in Canada, but will often access these services in the United States,” Karina Gould, the country’s minister of families, children and social development, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Advocates Say Undoing Roe V. Wade Goes Against Global Abortion Access Trends

International rights groups warned the U.S. Supreme Court last year that possibly overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case that made abortions legal in 1973 would put it behind the curve of other countries that have been expanding access to abortion care. Human Rights Watch says there is an international trend toward expanding abortion access. Argentina legalized abortion in 2020, while Mexico decriminalized the procedure in 2021. Statistics also show that in Ecuador, El Salvador, South Africa and Romania, the more restrictive abortion legislation is, the higher incidences of women dying or contracting diseases after giving birth are, according to a September 2021 brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Archie, 5/5)

Support floods in —

Donations To U.S. Abortion Rights Groups, Clinics Surge After Supreme Court Leak

Donations have flooded into abortion clinics and abortion-rights advocacy groups since the leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling that showed the justices apparently poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The draft ruling, which was published by Politico on Monday evening, sparked a frenzy of giving by Americans to abortion clinics, groups that help individuals pay for abortions and organizations seeking to preserve abortion access. (Borter, 5/4)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Hundreds March Through Downtown Milwaukee, Supporting Abortion Rights

Hundreds marched through downtown Milwaukee Wednesday, calling for abortion rights in the wake of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion indicating the court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. The march was organized by members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee International Women’s Day Coalition. Demonstrators met at Red Arrow Park for speeches before marching down Wisconsin Avenue to the Planned Parenthood clinic on N. 22nd Street and W. Wisconsin Avenue, outside of which organizers gave more speeches before the crowd marched back. (Shastri, 5/4)

NBC News:
Some Religions Support Abortion Rights. Their Leaders Are Speaking Up.

After an abortion law took effect in Texas last fall that allows private citizens to sue someone who performs an abortion or helps someone obtain one after six weeks of pregnancy, Rabbi Mara Nathan, the senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, knew she wanted to address it in a sermon. “It definitely felt like a risky sermon to give,” she said, “but I felt like I really didn’t have a choice.” In the sermon, which she titled “The Right to Choose is a Jewish Value,” Nathan took aim at the law, known as S.B. 8, and outlined how, as she put it, “Judaism has always been pro-choice.” (McShane, 5/5)

On corporate reaction and data privacy —

The Washington Post:
After State Abortion Fights, Corporate America Braces For End Of Roe

The news this week caught corporate America off-guard, resulting in a barrage of worried emails and phone calls trailing into the night as corporate officials grappled with the realization that the slew of state abortion laws were simply dress rehearsals for a bigger, nationwide policy shift. “The communication with corporate parties has just been nonstop,” said Jen Stark, senior director at Tara Health Foundation, an investment firm focused on gender and racial equity. “Companies that were gearing up for impact in June are feeling the reality set in now.” (Frankel, Telford and Abril, 5/4)

The New York Times:
Corporate America Doesn’t Want To Talk Abortion, But It May Have To

Some political and cultural events set off a cascade of emails from brands — sneaker, makeup and food companies telling their customers that they stand with them in a stressful time, or reminding them to vote. But after a draft opinion obtained by Politico revealed the Supreme Court’s intention to overturn Roe v. Wade, the overwhelming reaction from corporate leaders was silence. “This is an issue that many companies have shied away from,” said Miriam Warren, Yelp’s chief diversity officer. (Goldberg, Gupta and Hirsch, 5/4)

The Washington Post:
Your Phone Could Reveal If You’Ve Had An Abortion

When someone gets an abortion, they may decide not to share information with friends and family members. But chances are their smartphone knows. The leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion proposing to overturn Roe v. Wade raises a data privacy flash point: If abortion becomes criminal in some states, might a person’s data trail be treated as evidence? (Fowler and Hunger, 5/4)

Abortion clinics prepare for the unknown —

NBC News:
Abortion Clinics Are Bracing For Protests, Harassment And Violence If Roe Falls

Security, always a major concern for abortion clinics, just became more urgent. The leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade has clinics worried about an uptick in harassment and other aggressive activity by abortion-rights opponents outside their doors. Laurie Casey, executive director of the WE Health Clinic in Duluth, Minnesota, said she is considering hiring security guards to boost protection in the aftermath of the Supreme Court leak. If the Supreme Court indeed nullifies Roe v. Wade, several states near Minnesota — including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan — would restrict or ban abortions. That could draw more protesters to Casey’s clinic. (Schuppe, 5/4)

The Washington Post:
After Supreme Court Leak, Antiabortion Groups Cautiously Hopeful

Minutes after reading that the Supreme Court was prepared to gut Roe v. Wade, Kristan Hawkins joined a conference call to plan. The antiabortion activist had rearranged her life for this moment, even selling her house last year and moving her family into a camper to travel the country, advocating for abortion restrictions. Now a leaked majority opinion said Roe “must be overruled.” (Knowles, Roubein and Shammas, 5/4)

Maternal Deaths May Rise At Least 20% In 26 States Poised To Outlaw Abortion

Poverty and access to health care could inflate those number even higher. Meanwhile, battles over abortion are already heating up in state capitals across the nation.

USA Today:
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Could Rise 20% Or More In States That Outlaw Abortion, Experts Say

In the 26 states poised to either restrict or outlaw abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned this summer, the number of pregnancy-related maternal deaths could rise 20% or more, according to some calculations. Currently in the United States, about 700 women die each year either during pregnancy, during delivery or soon afterward, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Denying people abortions increases deaths because staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion,” said Amanda Stevenson, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. (Weise, 5/4)

Abortion Battles In States Fire Up After Supreme Court Leak 

Democrats in blue states are bracing for a wave of legal attacks and other maneuvers seeking to undermine access, and some are even taking steps to enshrine the right to abortion in their constitutions, making it much more difficult to impose a ban in the future. Republican states are expected to ban or restrict abortion, but tactics also could include an aggressive effort to go beyond their borders to sue abortion providers and find other ways to punish those who assist a woman in securing an abortion. (Whitehurst, Ramer and Kruesi, 5/4)

More States Shield Against Rogue Abortion Prosecutions

Last month, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera was arrested in Texas and charged with murder over a self-induced abortion. A hospital had reported the abortion to law enforcement. But prosecutors later acknowledged she shouldn’t have been prosecuted and dropped the charge. “In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her,” Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said in a news release. If the U.S. Supreme Court weakens or overturns the right to abortion as expected in the months ahead, health advocates warn that more people who manage their own abortions using U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications, herbal remedies or other non-medical methods will be falsely arrested on charges of violating abortion bans, homicide laws and other criminal statutes. (Vestal, 5/4)

How states in the East and Southeast are reacting —

The New York Times:
In New England, Republican Governors Vow To Support Abortion Rights.

As Republican-led states across the country move to codify abortion restrictions, the three Republican governors in New England vowed this week to protect abortion rights in their states. If the Supreme Court ultimately overturns Roe v. Wade, said Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, “it would be a massive setback for women in states without responsible laws protecting abortion access and reproductive health services.” Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont reaffirmed his support for an amendment to the State Constitution that would enshrine the right to an abortion. And Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said, “So long as I am governor, these health care services for women will remain safe and legal.” (Belman, 5/4)

The Boston Globe:
R.I. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Reproductive Privacy Act

The Rhode Island Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a legal challenge to the Reproductive Privacy Act, the law Rhode Island enacted in 2019 to protect abortion rights in case the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The decision comes just two days after news broke that the US Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationally. The Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge brought by Catholics for Life and others, claiming the Reproductive Privacy Act violated the Rhode Island Constitution. The attorney general office disagreed and defended the validity of the law. (Fitzpatrick, 5/4)

The Washington Post:
Maryland Expanded Abortion Access. But Hogan Won’t Pay To Train Providers.

Amid intense focus on abortion rights, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has decided to withhold the $3.5 million that state lawmakers designated for training new providers, his spokesman said. The decision effectively delays the state’s new abortion provider training program for a year and comes as the popular governor winds down his time in office and sharpens his national ambitions. (Cox, 5/4)

The Washington Post:
Stacey Abrams Switches Gears From Campaign Fundraising To Aiding Abortion Rights

Stacey Abrams — one of the Democratic Party’s most notable fundraisers — has paused fundraising for her Georgia gubernatorial race to redirect funds to abortion rights groups after a draft Supreme Court opinion signaling the end to a constitutional right to abortion was made public. “This moment demands action, so I will be blunt: The abomination of that leaked opinion is coming to find every one of us,” Abrams said Wednesday in a campaign email. “Women in Georgia and across this country. LGBTQ+ and disabled people. And particularly those of color or low-income. This is a terrifying time for our nation.” (Scott, 5/4)

North Carolina Health News:
After Supreme Court Leak, Future Of Abortion In NC 

As abortion rights advocates across the country chewed over a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, North Carolina Democrats emphasized the importance of the state government’s role in keeping abortion legal. At a press conference at the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, North Carolina Democrats and abortion rights advocates stressed that the draft opinion is not yet in effect. Sen. Natalie Murdock (D-Durham), said the future of abortion “will begin in the States.” (Thompson and Hoban, 5/5)

WJCT News:
Abortions Are On The Decline, So Far, In Florida This Year, According To State Data 

A controversial leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade comes at a time when abortions are declining in Florida. The Agency for Health Care Administration recorded 79,811 abortions statewide last year, a 6.6% increase from 2020.But the pace this year is significantly slower. AHCA records show 16,623 abortions in 2022, which would be a 38% drop if the trend continued through the year. An overwhelming majority of the abortions in Florida are elective, according to ACHA records. That’s immediately followed by abortions for social and economic reasons. (Brown, 5/4)

Louisville Courier Journal:
Roe V. Wade: Will Kentucky Women Suffer And Die In Illegal Abortions?

One woman was beheaded after her boyfriend tried unsuccessfully to give her an abortion, then dumped her body in a field. The remains of other women who died in botched abortions were tossed in a well, left by the side of a highway, ditched in a Louisville parking lot and abandoned in a La Grange motel room. As the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade — a leaked draft decision leaves its legality to individual states — The Courier Journal examined what life was like for women in Kentucky in the 100 years before abortion was recognized as a constitutional right. (Wolfson, 5/4)

Lawyer: Abortion Bill Could Subject Women To Homicide Charge 

A Louisiana House committee voted Wednesday to make abortion a crime of homicide for which a woman ending her pregnancy could be charged, along with anyone helping her. The bill also declares that any federal law, regulation or court ruling that allows abortion is void and that any judge who blocks enforcement of the bill’s provisions could be impeached. (McGill, 5/4)

Reaction from the Midwest and western US —

Suit Challenging Minnesota’s Abortion Restrictions Delayed

A lawsuit challenging Minnesota’s restrictions on abortions that was set to go to trial next month has been delayed indefinitely, under an order from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The appeals court said late Tuesday that the lawsuit, filed by Gender Justice and other groups that support abortion rights, can’t proceed while the state’s appeal over which parties have legal standing to participate is pending. It’s not clear how long that appeal will take. (Karnowski, 5/4)

EXPLAINER: How Could 1849 Wis. Abortion Law Face Challenge?

Wisconsin passed a law in 1849 making an abortion a felony offense. The law isn’t absolute, however. The language allows a woman to legally destroy her own fetus or embryo and grants immunity if an abortion is needed to save a woman’s life and is performed at a hospital. A 1985 law prohibits abortions performed after a fetus reaches viability, which is the point at which a child could viably survive outside of the womb. The law pre-dated a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affirmed Roe v. Wade and established that women have a right to an abortion prior to viability, generally considered to be the 24th week of pregnancy. The 1985 law also includes an exception to save a woman’s life, but it appears to conflict with the 1849 ban since it allows abortions before the point of viability. (Richmond, 5/4)

Wyoming Public Radio:
Plans For Casper Health Clinic That Will Offer Abortion Services Will Continue Despite Draft Opinion

Plans for a reproductive healthcare clinic that will offer abortion services to open in Casper next month are not affected by the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion indicating the justices may overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s according to Julie Burkhart, the president of the company which is opening the clinic, Wellspring Health Access. Burkhart said the fact that the justices may overturn the right to abortion is more of a reason to fight for abortion access in Wyoming. “At the end of the day, we just felt like it was more important to keep forging ahead and then fight those battles if and when they appear,” said Burkhart. (Kudelska, 5/4)

Salt Lake Tribune:
How Utah Leaders Are Reacting To Reports Supreme Court May Overturn Roe

The high court’s draft opinion, which would strike down Roe, caused Utah politicians to begin reacting to the news and led to a large protest at the Utah Capitol on Tuesday evening. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall attended the protest and addressed about 1,000 supporters of reproductive rights from the Capitol steps. “I’m sad and I’m angry, but most of all I’m worried for the women of Salt Lake City and Utah who may soon have to leave the state to get a safe abortion,” the Democratic mayor wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “But, I’m proud to stand alongside the entire Salt Lake City Council to say we stand with women everywhere for our reproductive rights!” (Parrott, 5/3)

Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Nevada To See Wave Of Abortion Patients If Roe Reversed, Advocates Say

Nevada will see an influx from other states of patients seeking abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, as a leaked draft opinion suggests, abortion advocates said Tuesday. Nevada is one of 14 states with protections to keep abortions legal, said Lindsey Harmon, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, the political arm of the organization which provides abortion services. “Our right to abortion was statutorily protected through a referendum in 1990,” she said. “Even in a post-Roe world, the right to access abortion is still safe in the state of Nevada.” (Hynes, 5/4)

From California —

The New York Times:
Newsom Accuses Democrats At The National Level Of Sleeping As Abortion Rights Are Eroded. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Wednesday vowed to protect the right to abortion in the state he leads and issued an impassioned “wake-up call” to the Democratic Party about what he described as a coordinated Republican-led effort to erode more rights that many Americans have for decades assumed were settled, such as the right to interracial marriage. “Don’t think for a second this is where it’s going to stop,” he said, speaking outside of a Planned Parenthood building in Los Angeles, flanked by women wearing pink shirts. “Pay attention, America. They’re coming for you next.” (Cowan, 5/4)

Los Angeles Times:
With Roe Vs. Wade Doomed, Newsom Urges Americans To ‘Wake Up’ 

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday blasted a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would overturn federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade and urged Americans to “wake up.” “It’s just a remarkable moment in American history,” Newsom said, during an appearance in Los Angeles. “At a time when countries around the world are expanding liberties, expanding freedoms, expanding rights, here we are in the United States of America about to roll back rights.” (Mejia, 5/4)

San Francisco Chronicle:
How Californians Feel About Roe V. Wade, According To One Survey

California has a reputation as one of the nation’s liberal bulwarks — and already there’s talk that the state could become a refuge for women seeking abortions if the Supreme Court follows through on overturning Roe v. Wade. Still, residents’ opinions on whether the case should be overturned vary by geography and income, according to a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in July 2021. … Statewide, 77% of respondents said the court should not overturn the precedent, while 21% said the justices should and 2% said they didn’t know. (Kost, 5/4)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Roe V. Wade: California Could Be Home To Almost 30% Of America’s Abortion Clinics If Ruling Overturned

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade this summer, as a recently leaked draft opinion indicates it will, clinic shutdowns across the country could mean that California ends up being home to nearly 30% of all abortion clinics in the U.S., despite having just 12% of its population. The Chronicle examined data on nearly 800 clinics that were open and providing abortions in 2021. The data was collected by UCSF’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health program, or ANSIRH. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice policy organization, 26 U.S. states are likely or certain to pass near-total or total bans on abortion immediately if Roe is overturned. (Neilson, 5/4)

From Oklahoma and Texas —

Oklahoma Joins Texas In Offering Glimpse Of “Post-Roe” World 

Abortion providers in Oklahoma said they are prepared for the law to take effect and have been helping women get appointments at clinics in neighboring states. “I think something we realized in September (when the Texas law took effect) is that we are already living in a virtual post-Roe world in our region,” said Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. (Murphy, 5/4)

The New York Times:
Women Flock To Abortion Clinic On Texas Border 

The colorful murals outside the storefront clinic a few miles from the Mexican border celebrated “dignity, empowerment, compassion, justice.” Inside, there was a reminder posted on the wall for anyone who had begun to doubt it: “Abortion Is Legal in Texas!” A 28-year-old woman peered anxiously at the sign and gently caressed a necklace with an image of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes and hopeless situations. Her situation indeed felt difficult: three young children at home, a husband in prison, an unfinished college education. Another baby, she told herself, would send her struggling family straight over the edge. “I never thought I would be here,” said the woman, who before coming in had driven past a few anti-abortion protesters demonstrating outside and had to stop her car to throw up. (Sandoval, 5/4)

Houston Chronicle:
Data: Which Texans Would Be Most Affected By Total Abortion Ban?

Since the six-week abortion ban was enacted, nearly 7,000 Texas residents still received an abortion in the state. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, those thousands of women would have to travel to New Mexico or farther to terminate their pregnancy. Politico leaked a draft of a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe vs. Wade, the court case that legalized abortion in all 50 states. If officially overturned, abortions occurring under any circumstance — other than threats to maternal life  — would become illegal in Texas and several surrounding states. (Seline, 5/4)


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