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Abortion coverage roundup

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* New York Times

Illinois is quickly emerging as an island of abortion access for people in the Midwest and the South, as neighboring states move to ban the procedure after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Providers in the state had been preparing for a surge of people seeking abortion services, but many said this week that they were still overwhelmed by patients’ reactions to the decision. […]

In anticipation of higher demand, lawmakers who favor abortion rights in some states, including Maryland, have pushed legislation to allow non-physician health providers to perform abortions. Others, like those in Connecticut, have introduced legal protections for providers and for patients who seek services in their states but live in states that prohibit abortion.

In Illinois, providers are also expecting increased interest in medication abortion, which does not require a clinic visit. Out-of-state patients can cross the border into Illinois and meet with a provider virtually, and then have pills mailed to a post office box or a friend at any address within the state.

“Telehealth can work as a pressure relief valve in Illinois,” said Melissa Grant, the chief operations officer of Carafem, an organization that offers telemedicine appointments and sends abortion pills through the mail. Carafem also runs a clinic in Skokie, Ill., just outside Chicago. “We have had people take virtual appointments in their car, in coffee shops, in libraries or just on a quiet corner with a set of headphones,” she said.

* Tennessee

CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, an abortion provider in Tennessee, will continue providing abortions under the narrow legal restrictions now in effect in the state.

The Memphis clinic is the only abortion provider still taking new patients in Memphis, and is the only provider in Tennessee to confirm to The Commercial Appeal it is taking new patients. […]

The provider announced in May, after a leaked draft opinion suggested Roe would be overturned, that it would open a clinic in Carbondale, Illinois. The planned clinic will be a three-hour drive from both Memphis and Nashville. CHOICES said the clinic in Carbondale will be the southernmost abortion clinic in Illinois.

* More on the Carbondale clinic

“We’re hoping to be up by August 1,” [Jennifer Pepper, CEO of CHOICES] said, “So that first phase of services will include medication, abortion, and gender affirming care. The second phase of services will include surgical and procedural abortions, […] and then that third phase will be around adding the midwifery and the birth services to get to our full complement of services. And we hope to be at the end of Phase Three within three to five years.”

After CHOICES made this announcement in early May, there were a variety of reactions from Carbondale residents and the surrounding community. Several groups from local churches showed up to a Carbondale City Council meeting to express their dissent, while at the following meeting, abortion rights advocates came to show support for the clinic.

Pepper said, in the face of opposition, she and her staff typically avoid engagement and press on to the best of their abilities.

* Mississippi

Abortion funds in the state and across the country also plan to continue raising money to help people pay to travel out of state for the procedure. For many Mississippians, the closest place to obtain a legal abortion will be southern Illinois. Every neighboring state is also set to ban abortion in almost all cases.

CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a clinic that is more accessible for many north Mississippians than the Jackson clinic, has announced plans to set up a new location in Carbondale, Illinois – a six-hour drive from Jackson.

* But there may be a catch. You will recall that Peter Breen is a former Illinois state representative

The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state. The draft language will borrow from the novel legal strategy behind a Texas abortion ban enacted last year in which private citizens were empowered to enforce the law through civil litigation.

The subject was much discussed at two national antiabortion conferences last weekend, with several lawmakers interested in introducing these kinds of bills in their own states.

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, an antiabortion organization led by Republican state legislators, has begun working with the authors of the Texas abortion ban to explore model legislation that would restrict people from crossing state lines for abortions, said Texas state representative Tom Oliverson (R), the charter chair of the group’s national legislative council.

“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”

* Michigan

At least two county prosecutors would consider criminal charges against abortion providers despite a temporary injunction against enforcement of a 1931 ban, their attorney says, underscoring uncertainty over the legal status of abortion in Michigan.

Enforcement of the old law, which makes performing an abortion a felony by up to four years in prison, was suspended following a May injunction by a lower-court judge.

But David Kallman, a lawyer representing Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties, says the injunction only applies to the state, not county prosecutors.

* Wisconsin

Abortions have stopped in Wisconsin. A ban from 1849 still on the books has led the state’s four clinics to stop doing them. One district attorney now says he will enforce that old ban.

The district attorneys in Dane and Milwaukee counties said they will not prosecute the state’s abortion ban, and the attorney general is suing to block it, but the Sheboygan District Attorney Joel Urmanski said he will prosecute violators unless the courts rule the law is unenforceable.

* Missouri

While the wording of Missouri’s 2019 “trigger law” bans abortions in the cases of rape and incest, those who have ectopic pregnancies will still be able to get treatment, since the revised statutes lists “medical emergencies” as an exception.

However, Dr. Colleen McNicholas says that exception isn’t as helpful as it seems. McNicholas is vice chair of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Missouri section and chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis and Southwest Missouri Region.

“We always maintain that medical emergencies in abortion bans are essentially meaningless, because what they do is force physicians to decide how sick is too sick, and they really pivot medical decision-making away from what is clinically the most important and best approach for a patient, and now requires that physicians have to contemplate whether their medical decision-making will be able to withstand an investigation from the attorney general,” McNicholas said.

* Indiana

“I’m going to tell you things, but they are not true.”

It’s a line Indiana-based OBGYN Dr. Katie McHugh uses right after she tells a patient they’re pregnant, and before she shares factually inaccurate information about pregnancy and abortion.

Currently, Indiana doctors are required by law to tell anyone who asks for an abortion that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is medically inaccurate.

Though McHugh qualifies her legally-required speech with a warning that what’s she’s about to say is not fact, she says these legalities make it difficult for patients to believe her. […]

As an abortion provider of eight years, McHugh has worked under various Indiana laws that require doctors to provide abortion-seekers misinformation and essentially commit medical malpractice.

Now, she’s applying to practice medicine in nearby states like Illinois, where abortion-seekers in more restrictive states are already starting to come in large numbers.

…Adding… Crain’s op-ed by Eric Bergman, a registered nurse

The Nurse Licensure Compact is not some hastily composed stop gap, but rather a tested and effective program to improve the movement and regulation of nurses across state lines. It is already in place in 38 states and has proven effective in supporting safe, well-regulated movement and care by nurses across state lines.

The nurses’ licenses would be like licenses allowing drivers in any state to drive in all other states on the strength of their home state license. Similarly, the Nurse License Compact sets strict standards and creates cross-border reporting. Only properly licensed and fit nurses can practice nursing in the compact states.

Unlike emergency orders waiving sensible rules about licensing and regulation, the compact will maintain protection, such as required background checks and reporting of violations to maintain public safety.

During the upcoming special session in early July, the legislators should act to pass HB4269 and get it to the governor’s desk so Illinois can guarantee safe, effective legal guidelines for rapidly increasing the available nurses for our reproductive health providers.

…Adding… McHenry County Blog

Planned Parenthood is moving to Rockford as Wisconsin law shuts down abortions.

The organization recently purchased a converted house at 611 Auburn.

In a high traffice residential neighborhood, the house orginally was a doctor’s office.

…Adding… Planned Parenthood denies purchasing the Rockford real estate.


  1. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 12:35 pm:

    -“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,”-

    This will be the next front in the legal battle. Passing and enforcing state laws like these, versus the “right to travel” freely interstate and to enjoy the privileges and immunities of the state being visited, which are firmly under federal jurisdiction.

  2. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    Imagine your wife or sister or you have an ectopic pregnancy rupture, and your doctor has to go have a conference call with the hospital’s legal team to determine whether they’re allowed to save the woman’s life. unimaginable

  3. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    Legislator Peter Breen was famously in the pocket of the moving company lobby. /s

    But he really does want to make people need to move states.

  4. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    So…could this premise be used to prosecute out-of-state residents who choose to do other things legal in Illinois (gamble, use cannabis, etc.)?

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:01 pm:

    “Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction”


    So as an Illinois resident, I can get an abortion in Mississippi, because my home state has jurisdiction.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:04 pm:

    Peter Breen?

    Don’t miss him.

    ===The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state.==•

    Freedom, amirite?

    Don’t miss Breen. Glad he’s out.

  7. - Hot Taeks - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:07 pm:

    So if a resident from Idaho (or any state where weed is still illegal) comes to Illinois to smoke or ingest marijuana and posts about it on social media, Idaho’s government can prosecute and imprison its citizens? Home State rule logic makes no sense and will surely not backfire.

  8. - King Louis XVI - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:09 pm:

    Breen shorter: If you escape Stalag Texas, we will hunt you down.

  9. - Northsider - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:21 pm:

    == unimaginable ==

    Not to Republicans.

    Vote accordingly.

  10. - H-W - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:24 pm:

    == “Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.” ==

    Surely, this is false. Surely, individuals have the right to travel freely throughout the U.S. and elsewhere, without interference. If for example, I live in a state where pot is not legal, and I go to a state where pot is legal, and I smoke it while in that state, surely people in my home state cannot sue me for smoking pot elsewhere, where it is legal.

    I just do not see how these sorts of new laws can regulate behaviors in other states.

  11. - Pundent - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:31 pm:

    The thing about the status quo is that sometimes you have to actually work to preserve it. A whole bunch of states surrounding Illinois will now be moving to significantly restrict abortion rights. To the extent that happens Illinois will be an outlier in the Midwest. Some voters will want that to continue, others will want it to change. We’re already hearing that Republicans are looking to change laws at a federal level to ban abortions. So nothing is ever settled.

  12. - Northsider - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:33 pm:

    == I just do not see how these sorts of new laws can regulate behaviors in other states. ==

    H.W. @ 1:24: I agree with you, but I’ll bet this Supreme Court will find a way.

    Vote accordingly.

  13. - Norseman - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    That there is a debate about whether folks can be punished for traveling to IL to get an abortion scares the dickens out of me. I’m seeing some fact-checking sites discussing SCOTUS precedents for similar laws. Despite the farm fertilizer being spread by MAGAT world, this isn’t being left up to each state.

  14. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 1:54 pm:

    None of the swift changes to strip women of their rights should surprise anyone. This has been talked about for years. The people who were unconvinced now have decisions to make.

    It was not very long ago that the right wing was actively engaged in bombing clinics and murdering doctors. We should expect these practices to return because the attitudes that fostered and supported such terrorism never went away.

    As they seek to find ways to prosecute and terrorize individual women who seek to exercise their rights and do so by traveling to states that still regard then as people, they will resort to physical attacks to carry out their will. If they fail at using state sponsored force — with the police and the gaol — they will conduct themselves with bombs and murders as they have already demonstrated their means and methods.

    They will interpret the hateful and forceful rhetoric of religious leaders and political leaders as a license supporting their terrorist efforts. We have seen this all before. We should be prepared for and expect this when it occurs.

    And the labor organizations that represent our law enforcement in this state have routinely sided with the candidates and politicians that do not believe in the rights of our sisters.

  15. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 2:02 pm:

    =“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”=

    By his statement, someone from Illinois that goes to Texas and openly carries a gun can be prosecuted in Illinois. Amirite?

    I guess the gop is abandoning the “small government” facade and going full on with the Stalinist version of Big Brother.

  16. - Pundent - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 2:09 pm:

    =They will interpret the hateful and forceful rhetoric of religious leaders and political leaders as a license supporting their terrorist efforts.=

    And as women have fewer and fewer options in neighboring states, clinics in Illinois will get even more attention from these groups. And how would Governor Bailey respond to that?

  17. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    ==Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction==

    First, I cannot imagine that state troopers have nothing better to do than stop every vehicle leaving their state and inquiring where a female is going and why she is going there. Also the same for vehicle entering - where have you been and what did you do there. Add to that the train and the airports

    Second - miscarriages do not always need a medical procedure done afterwards. So you can’t even accuse someone I’d having had an abortion rather than the miscarriage they will say they had.

    Third - many women will just not tell anyone they took a pregnancy test and will just take a couple days off work and drive themselves out of state. Exactly how would one find out what these women did?

    I don’t even know what wise to say in the face of this statement.

  18. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:00 pm:

    “Exactly how would one find out what these women did?”

    Tracking/location data from our cell phone apps.

  19. - Publius - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 3:14 pm:

    Texas is already working on that. That was a large part of the Civil Enforcement bill.

  20. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 4:16 pm:

    I am under no illusions about the state of the GOP these days, but in the politics makes strange bedfellows category if the GOP insists on pushing these punishing people for crossing state lines laws, then there’s opportunity for Democrats to team up with elements on the right, particularly the more libertarian leaning, to push back under the banner of protecting states rights. Even with the civil enforcement mechanisms if done correctly the issue could be presented as protecting the rights of people to freely cross state lines and limiting “big government” intrusion.

  21. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 7:53 pm:

    the R in Republican stands for really really really mean.

  22. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jun 30, 22 @ 9:46 pm:

    It’s people like Peter Breen that cause me to refer to us as the Free State of Illinois.

    There’s some big time Fugitive Slave Act vibes in trying to punish people from other states for exercising liberty in Illinois or trying to punish people in Illinois for trying to help people from out of state exercise their liberty here.

    Dobbs isn’t just taking us back to 1950. It’s taking us back to 1850.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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