U.S. Repro Watch provides periodic updates on news of interest on U.S. reproductive rights. Here are a few recent items you won’t want to miss:
1. Doctors who handle high-risk pregnancies are leaving states such as Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas because of their restrictive abortion laws, according to a New York Times report.
- The report found that many doctors feel they are unable to provide comprehensive health care under state abortion bans, which often carry intimidating penalties such as high fines, medical license revocation and prison time and fail to clarify when “medical emergency” exceptions apply.
- More than a dozen of Idaho’s labor and delivery doctors will have left or retired by the end of this year, and two of its hospitals have closed their labor and delivery units, citing physician shortages. In a recent survey, three-quarters of Oklahoma OB-GYNs indicated a desire to leave the state, according to the report.
- These departures create new maternity care deserts (areas that lack any maternity care), damage the states’ medical networks and place additional strain on remaining physicians.
2. The Ohio Ballot Board is being sued by reproductive rights supporters for its intentionally deceptive summary of an abortion-rights amendment set to appear before voters this November.
- Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR) filed a lawsuit asking the Ohio Supreme Court to order the ballot board to use language that accurately describes the amendment, rather than using biased anti-abortion language.
- The amendment is intended to establish the right to reproductive freedom, including abortion, in the state constitution.
3. Five anti-abortion protestors were convicted of illegally blocking access to a clinic in Washington, D.C.
- This blockade occurred in October 2020 when multiple anti-abortion activists stormed into a clinic and others blocked employees from the outside.
- All five members of the group were found guilty August 29 under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) and face up to 11 years in prison. A trial for four others involved in the blockade begins this week.
4. The Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners filed a lawsuit challenging a Montana law that would make it more difficult to access abortion care.
- The law, HB 937, creates restrictive new licensure requirements for Montana abortion clinics and is set to take effect October 1.
- In the lawsuit, filed September 1 on behalf of Montana abortion providers, plaintiffs argue that the law is unconstitutional in its specific targeting of abortion clinics and that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has not provided clear guidance on how to comply with the new requirements.
Did you know?
Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in the central state of Aguascalientes August 30—making it the twelfth Mexican state to permit abortions without criminal penalties. The court said the former law had criminalized health workers and “totally suppressed the constitutional right of women and people with the capacity to bear children to choose, and therefore their right to health, equality and non-discrimination.”
Sept. 8 @ 9 a.m. ET: Hearing on Florida’s 15-week abortion ban.
- The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments over a 15-week abortion ban that was passed months before Roe v. Wade was overturned. The Center and its partners filed a case challenging the law in June 2022.
- Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed a six-week abortion ban into law that will be triggered if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the 15-week ban.
- The hearing will be livestreamed here.
Sept. 11 @ 1:30 p.m. ET: Hearing on Arizona “reason ban” case.
- The Court will decide whether abortion providers can challenge a law that prevents people from getting abortions due to fetal conditions. The Center and its partners filed a case challenging the law in August 2021.
- The hearing will be at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on September 11 during the 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET) grouping. It will be livestreamed here.