The unconstitutional plan to stop women from traveling out of state for an abortion, explained

“a few jurisdictions in Texas are now breaking with this consensus. As the Washington Post reports, two Texas counties and two Texas cities have passed local ordinances making it illegal to transport someone through one of these counties or cities for the purpose of obtaining an out-of-state abortion.
Notably, this list of anti-abortion localities includes Mitchell County, Texas, a sparse community of about 9,000 people. This matters because Interstate 20, the route that many people traveling from Dallas to New Mexico to receive an abortion will take, passes through Mitchell County. Several other counties with major highways or airports are also considering similar laws.

These ordinances and proposed ordinances largely track model legislation, which anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dickson shared on Twitter, that is itself modeled after SB 8 — the statewide anti-abortion law that allows private bounty hunters to sue abortion providers and collect bounties of $10,000 or more.

In fairness, Dickson’s model legislation does prohibit such bounty hunter suits from being filed against “the pregnant woman who seeks to abort her unborn child.” But the legislation would potentially allow abortion funds that help pay for abortion care, or anyone who drives a pregnant patient to an out-of-state abortion clinic, to be sued.

Ordinarily, Kavanaugh’s preemptive rejection of travel bans would be a clear sign that these laws will not survive judicial review. But, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (2021), the Supreme Court effectively shut down federal lawsuits challenging unconstitutional laws that are enforced solely by bounty hunters. And Kavanaugh joined the Court’s decision in Jackson.

The upshot is that these unconstitutional Texas ordinances may succeed, not because they are lawful but because the Supreme Court has largely immunized them from constitutional review.”

Alabama Says Helping With Out-of-State Abortions Is ‘Criminal Conspiracy’

“Alabama’s attorney general is insisting that he has the right to prosecute people who help pregnant women obtain out-of-state abortions. In a court filing earlier this week, Steve Marshall said such actions amount to criminal conspiracy.”

Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion nationwide

“Mexico’s Supreme Court threw out all federal criminal penalties for abortion Wednesday, ruling that national laws prohibiting the procedure are unconstitutional and violate women’s rights in a sweeping decision that extended Latin America’s trend of widening abortion access.”

Texas Attorney General Blocks Injunction, Will Keep Enforcing Anti-Abortion Law

“According to the lawsuit, two plaintiffs experienced severe complications from miscarriages that went untreated due to the ban. The three other plaintiffs had fetuses with severe abnormalities that carried high risks of medical complications for the mother, like hemorrhaging.
Texas law currently bans almost all abortions, providing an exception only in the case of a “medical emergency,” defined as a “life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

In their lawsuit, plaintiffs argue the law is too vague, leading doctors to deny them abortions—placing the women at risk—due to concerns that the women were not in sufficiently imminent danger of death for doctors to risk possible prosecution if they performed an abortion. Under the law, doctors who perform illegal abortions face life in prison.

“With the threat of losing their medical licenses, fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and up to 99 years in prison lingering over their heads,” the suit states, “it is no wonder that doctors and hospitals are turning patients away—even patients in medical emergencies.””

Ohio’s Abortion Ban Is Rekindling a Century-Old Battle Over Direct Democracy

“In 2019, the heavily gerrymandered Legislature passed a deeply unpopular bill prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — before many women know they are pregnant — without exceptions for rape or incest. The law is currently on hold, pending judicial review. In response, reproductive rights advocates secured enough petition signatures to put a referendum before the voters this November; if it passes, abortion rights will be enshrined in the Constitution, beyond the Legislature’s ability to meddle.

Given current polling, Republicans are expected to lose the November vote, so they’re trying to change the rules mid-game. The gambit is so transparent that even two former GOP governors, Robert Taft and John Kasich, have come out in opposition.”

“Since 1912, when Ohio joined other states in adopting the referendum system, voters have been able to bypass the state Legislature and amend the constitution by a simple majority. The new measure would require 60 percent support.”

How abortion bans will strain an already failing foster system

“Raising children in the US on a low income is already incredibly difficult, and parents have limited support from social safety net programs. Single parents, teen parents, and families of color face particular disadvantages; states with high Black populations tend to have the weakest social assistance programs, and welfare work requirements can trap parents in low-paying jobs. Cash welfare benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides cash payments and other services to low-income families with children, are often insufficient to cover child care expenses. Nationwide, the average monthly payment is less than $500, well below the poverty line and half the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment as of 2021.
And seeking out help comes with its disadvantages. Poverty is considered a contributing risk factor for child neglect, which makes up the majority of Child Protective Services reports. And as such, CPS continues to scrutinize low-income families for neglect at a much higher rate than those who are above the poverty line, even when the resulting investigations can be harmful rather than helpful to vulnerable families. While child poverty rates have fallen, especially since the 2020 child tax credit expansion, 12 million children still lived below the poverty line as of 2022, and the system meant to help them is falling short. When foster kids age out of the system, they face higher rates of homelessness and incarceration and an increased likelihood of becoming teen parents when compared with the general population.

After the Dobbs verdict, 24 states are in the process of banning or heavily restricting abortion access, and these laws will hit hardest for low-income families and young, single, or Black parents, who are less able to travel to access abortion care. These states, mainly in the South and Midwest, already have disproportionately bad maternal and child health outcomes, with higher rates of maternal death and low birth weight infants. To make matters worse, women denied an abortion end up at even higher risk of poverty — and the abortion bans are mostly in states with limited and shrinking social safety net programs.”

‘Numbers Nobody Has Ever Seen’: How the GOP Lost Wisconsin

“in the April election, liberal Milwaukee County judge Janet Protasiewicz beat conservative former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly by a whopping 11 percentage points, flipping the ideological majority of the court.

In the aftermath, even Republicans here are acknowledging that the state has now shifted leftward, and abortion has a lot to do with that. The end of Roe v. Wade last year effectively reinstated Wisconsin’s 19th-century abortion ban, which is already being challenged — and those challenges will likely be decided by the state Supreme Court. That’s why Protasiewicz campaigned heavily on protecting abortion rights, and the election turned almost entirely on the issue.”

What North Carolina’s abortion ban does — and why it matters

“The actual policy mechanisms in the bill are more subtle than you might think. Most abortions — at least 88 percent in North Carolina — take place at or before 12 weeks. To reduce abortions during the period when it remains legal, the bill contains new in-person visit requirements for patients and onerous licensing restrictions on surgical clinics. These likely wouldn’t have the same effect as a full ban but would still make it harder for patients (especially out-of-staters) to access care.
North Carolina Republicans chose this more subtle pathway deliberately: Reporting from the Washington Post shows that the legislative drafting process was shaped by the widespread evidence that strict abortion bans are a political loser for the GOP.

The bill even includes some limited financial support for parents, like paid parental leave for state employees and teachers, to defang the popular Democratic argument that Republicans don’t actually care about the welfare of mothers and their children. It’s a state abortion restriction seemingly designed to counter the post-Dobbs backlash — one that could serve as a model for Republicans elsewhere looking to retreat from more hardline positions if it proves politically effective.

Whether the bill actually works as intended, on both policy and political grounds, it has potentially massive stakes for the entire country.”

“The new North Carolina law restricts elective abortion through 12 weeks (the first trimester). After that, abortion is prohibited with narrow exceptions: rape and incest through 20 weeks, life-threatening fetal anomalies through 24 weeks, and life of the mother throughout (a notoriously murky exception).”

“the new law imposes a new requirement that abortion clinics maintain facilities on par with those of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), which are non-hospital outpatient surgery clinics. ASCs are required to adhere to specific rules, including physical layout restrictions, that abortion clinics don’t always meet.

There is no evidence that these restrictions improve outcomes in patients who have abortions; a study of 50,000 abortions found no difference between those performed in ASCs and those performed outside of them.

The ASC rule is the most common restriction found in so-called TRAP laws — short for “targeted regulation on abortion providers.” The idea behind TRAP legislation is to impose financially burdensome requirements on abortion clinics that all but force many of them to shut down. Research by the Guttmacher Institute found that TRAP laws in four states — Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas — caused roughly half of all clinics in those states to shut down between 2011 and 2017. And Planned Parenthood has already said that none of its existing clinics in North Carolina meet the state’s ASC standards.”

“strengthens an existing North Carolina law that prohibits patients from using abortion-inducing drugs like mifepristone at home or elsewhere absent a physician’s supervision. Providing abortion drugs directly to a patient carries a $5,000 fine, as does advertising the sale of any such drugs.”