U.S. Repro Watch provides periodic updates on news of interest on U.S. reproductive rights. Here are four recent items you won’t want to miss:
1. Eight new plaintiffs have joined a Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit seeking to clarify the scope of Texas’s “medical emergency” exception under its extreme abortion laws.
- The Center originally filed the lawsuit, Zurawski v. State of Texas, in March on behalf of five women denied abortion care and two doctors who were unable to provide the care their patients needed. Now, more women who were denied abortion care despite facing dangerous pregnancy complications have come forward to tell their stories, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 15. Read the new plaintiffs’ stories here.
- The Center’s amended complaint in the case, filed May 22, requests that the court grant a temporary injunction to Texas’s abortion bans as they apply to pregnancy complications while the case proceeds. Read all about the case here.
2. A federal appeals court temporarily blocked an order that threatened access to reproductive healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- In March, a federal judge struck down a key provision of the ACA requiring certain preventive health services to be covered for free.
- The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of that order May 15 while the case proceeds.
- The preventive services mandate covers more than 100 essential services including testing for sexually transmitted infections, mammograms for breast cancer, and screenings for preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy condition. If the lower court’s decision remained in effect, these services would be much harder to access.
3. There were several developments on abortion in Montana alone.
- The Montana Supreme Court struck down a law that limited abortion access by preventing certain trained healthcare practitioners from providing abortion care. In its May 12 decision, the high court reaffirmed that the state constitution guarantees the right to access abortion from a healthcare provider of one’s choice.
- A Montana judge blocked several abortion restrictions, including three measures that would have effectively eliminated abortion access for Medicaid patients in the state. During a hearing May 23, the Center and partners argued that the Medicaid restrictions violate the state constitution.
4. Abortion bans passed or are moving quickly in multiple states.
- The South Carolina Senate passed a six-week abortion ban May 23. The bill now heads to Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it into law as soon as possible.
- In Nebraska, lawmakers are debating a bill restricting abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy and access to gender-affirming care for young people.
Did you know?
An alarming new report illustrates how abortion bans have tied the hands of doctors, severely threatening the health and lives of patients. Through 50 testimonials, the report, Care Post-Roe: Documenting cases of poor-quality care since the Dobbs decision, details several instances of patients being sent home after their water broke far too early and told to return when labor started or symptoms of an infection emerged. Other patients were forced to travel long distances to get an abortion while suffering dangerous medical conditions. Patients also faced delays in accessing care unrelated to abortion—in one case, a doctor refused to remove an intrauterine device (IUD) from a pregnant patient because of the potential risks of miscarriage.
May 26: Anniversary of the FACE Act being signed into law.
- This month marks the 29th anniversary of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
- According to a new report, attacks on abortion providers increased significantly in 2022. Nationwide between 2021 and 2022, arsons doubled, stalking incidents jumped by 229%, and death threats and other threats of harm increased by 20%. Clinics in states where abortion remains legal saw a disproportionate increase in violence.