Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, undid the damage of his awful predecessor by restoring funding to Planned Parenthood. Yay!  (The Hill)

  • Democrats in the U.S. Senate are pressuring Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to reverse a strategy coordinated with a prominent hate group to undermine family-planning access for people with low incomes. (Rewire)
  • The Department of Justice is appealing a California judge’s decision to temporarily block new Trump administration rules allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control in their insurance plans. (ABC News)
  • South Carolina is trying to ban ALL abortions by granting legal rights to fertilized eggs from the moment of conception. Literally the worst idea ever. Eggs are not sentient beings. Period. (Salon)
  • Hmm … What to think of those who call themselves “pro-life” but sit quietly and idly by while gun violence steals the lives of innocent bystanders? (WaPo)
  • The abhorrent goons in the Trump administration are quietly helping states defund Planned Parenthood. (Vox)
  • This is unbelievable! Some states — including Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas — directly divert public funds allocated to feed hungry children to fake women’s health centers. (Rewire)
  • Get a load of this bull: The Trump administration created a new HHS office just to discriminate against people — and they housed it under the Office of Civil Rights. (The Hill)
  • A man crashed a stolen bakery truck into a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valentine’s Day in East Orange, New Jersey, injuring three people, including two staff members and a pregnant woman. Thankfully none of the injuries were life-threatening. (Southern Poverty Law Center)
  • Hey, North Carolina, maybe strapping female inmates to beds during childbirth isn’t the most compassionate protocol? (News & Observer)

Brothers in Arms, Part 2: Race and Abortion from Roe to the Reagan Years

This article is our second installment in a series that explores the historical and contemporary links between racial intolerance and opposition to abortion. Previously, this series examined how fears of immigration — and racist notions that associated abortion with the barbarism of so-called “savage” races — fueled the opposition to abortion that led to its prohibition in the late 1800s. This installment examines the social forces that helped racism and opposition to abortion converge again in the first years after Roe v. Wade.

Replica of a banner used at NAACP headquarters from 1920 to 1938

A principle of democracy holds that while majority rule should serve as the guiding force of government, at times it must be reconciled with the rights of individuals and minorities. It was an idea Thomas Jefferson captured in his inaugural speech of 1801:

All … will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail … that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect.

With that understanding, the framers wrote the Constitution to include provisions for a judicial branch, composed of judges whose lifetime appointments would free them from the pressures of elections and afford them greater independence in their decisions. The branch would serve as the nation’s highest judicial body, above state and local courts.


Before his obsession with abortion and Tinky Winky, Jerry Falwell fought civil rights and integration.


For much of U.S. history, local, state, and federal judicial systems existed alongside another judicial system, one far less formal and conceived not in the interest of protecting minorities, but often in meting out the harshest possible punishments for them. It was the vigilante justice of lynching, sometimes known as Lynch law. Named after the Virginia plantation owner Charles Lynch, it was a form of mob justice that took root in the Revolutionary War era, before an official court system was fully established. It came to mean quick trials that ended in public hangings.

Though lynching was initially used against British loyalists, eventually Southern blacks became the overwhelming majority of its victims. Many Native Americans, Asians, Jews, and Mexicans were also lynched. According to the NAACP, between 1882 and 1968, in the period of racial tension in the post-slavery and civil rights years, 4,743 lynchings took place, and 3,446 of its victims were black. Rather than taking place under the cover of night or in countryside seclusion, many lynchings were staged in broad daylight, even in front of courthouses, and they were often advertised beforehand in newspapers — a blunt assertion of their existence as a separate judicial system for people of color. Though associated with the South, they took place in the North as well. In fact, only a few states — Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island — had no lynchings between 1882 and 1968. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Planned Parenthood’s fearless leader, Cecile Richards, put the verbal smackdown on Todd Akin and the rest of the anti-choice clowns of the GOP at the Democratic National Convention last night. (HuffPo)
  • And then Sandra Fluke chimed in with her own takedown of Mitt Romney! (ABC News)
  • Remember how Arizona (specifically Jan Brewer) passed legislation stipulating that only licensed physicians can provide abortion care? Well, new research concludes nurses and midwives can perform abortions just as safely as doctors. The study echoes research last year that found care delivered by advanced practice nurses is just as safe and effective, if not more so, than care provided by physicians. (Fierce Healthcare)
  • Karen Handel, former exec at the Susan G. Komen foundation, has written a book called “Planned Bullyhood” (haha @ that asinine title) in which she whines incessantly about the fallout from Komen’s ill-fated decision to pull its annual grant for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. Handel has the nerve to compare us to a “schoolyard thug.” Is that LOL-worthy or what?! She blatantly disregards the fact that it was Komen who decided to prioritize politics over women’s health. She fails to acknowledge it was Komen who was soooo eager to jump on the “Attack Planned Parenthood” bandwagon that they were just fine with ceasing funding for potentially life-saving breast exams to women simply for being patients at Planned Parenthood. Oh, and it was Komen who’d known for-freaking-ever that 3 percent of our services go toward abortion care, but only decided to pull the grant because of a highly charged political climate — without regard for the health of the women we both have a responsibility to serve. But we’re the bullies for fighting on behalf of the women who depend on us for their preventive care??? #YeahRight #NotGonnaFlyLady #TryAgain (The Daily Beast)
  • Fox News is making stuff up (shocking, I know) about the Affordable Care Act and pretending like there isn’t a GOP war on women. In other words, it’s business as usual at Fox News. (Newshound)
  • The prognosis for women in four southern states with high rates of maternal mortality — Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — could be getting even worse thanks to their Republican-led governments trying to decline federal aid to expand Medicaid. (Forbes)
  • The male birth control pill we’ve been waiting 50 years for might finally be on the horizon in the not-so-distant future. (Science 2.0)
  • A new animal study has found that an anti-HIV vaginal ring can prevent virus transmission. Yay science! (Science Daily)
  • Texas continues its fight against Planned Parenthood, and as per usual, it’s women who’ll have to deal with the negative consequences. (CBS News)