Monday, March 4, 2024

Two states, two abortions: For women, the new realities are already quite the opposite

On June 24, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, California lawmakers tweeted about plans to expand the state’s legal access to reproductive health care, including abortion.

Meanwhile, 1,500 miles away, in Missouri, a pregnant woman carefully typed a query into her phone’s search engine:

“How Long Will I Go To Jail If I Have A Miscarriage?”

Those two views represent the new reality of abortion in America, where the legal and social implications of the same medical procedure now range from tributary to punitive, depending on where the woman lives and has access to travel. .

In the hours following Roe’s decision, Sacramento legislators considered a suite of bills aimed at helping women gain access to abortion, including enlisting a new level of health workers to help provide abortions. Another included proposals for hiring and protecting abortion providers who could face penalties. other states.

On the same day, the governor and attorney general of Missouri became the first state in the post-Roe world to outlaw abortion. The Republican-majority legislature previously overwhelmingly approved a so-called trigger law that bans all abortions in Missouri except when the mother’s life is in danger, with the exception of rape or incest.

But when legislators talk and pass laws for and against abortion access, real life is moving forward.

And the stories of women adhering to established abortion rules in California and Missouri – the polar opposite in the national controversy over abortion law – describe the various, life-changing paths available to women or girls who are pregnant and do not want to have children. .

Few Choices, Many Hoops

The Missouri woman, whose name is being concealed to protect against potential influences, learned she was pregnant less than 24 hours before the Supreme Court publicly issued its ruling on Roe.

She lives in the southern region of the state, a rural, beautiful piece of the country, even though she has little access to regular health care or reliable internet. In fact, she didn’t know about the Supreme Court’s decision until early Saturday, an anomaly in the world that includes 24-hour news and social media.

In an unstable and unhealthy home, she knew immediately that she still wanted to terminate a very early pregnancy. Even after learning about the state’s ban, effective June 28, she still considers abortion as her only option.

But she’s making several trips to achieve that process, being from Missouri.

For starters, the new ban means the state’s last abortion-provider, which is in St. Louis and would have already been a bit of a trek, was no longer a possibility. So he turned to Google, where a search yielded three options — a Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, Kansas; One Planned Parenthood in Fairview Heights, Illinois; and Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois. Each is about 200 miles from the woman’s home.

They then spent a day on research (after traveling a bit to get solid WiFi) to learn about appointment times, the cost of service at each location, and what financial support, if any.

The timing, it turned out, would be difficult. In the wake of the Roe rule, the average wait-time at many abortion providers outside of Missouri has increased to two weeks. So the Missouri woman felt that she no longer had the luxury of choosing a convenient time and would, instead, accept the first available slot.

Ultimately, she chose the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Fairview Heights, about 180 miles from her home.

There, the cost of a drug abortion is $470, and the cost of an in-clinic abortion ranges from $470 to $3,500, depending on gestational age. He doesn’t have insurance that will cover the procedure and needs financial support.

Planned Parenthood in Illinois may provide some financial assistance. There is also the Midwest Access Coalition, which can pay for transportation, food, child care, housing, emergency assistance, and other services, as well as the Chicago Abortion Fund, which provides financial and logistical support to people in the Midwest.

After knowing more details he decided that he would need at least two days off work and one night stay in a hotel. The eight-hour round-trip drive, plus the process, would be too much for a day.

When that time comes, the Missouri woman, who is in her 20s, plans to tell her employer that she is ill, hoping that the real reason for her absence is not known. Her hometown is small, she said, and she wants to keep her decision private.

And even though she is confident in her judgement, she is still haunted by the fear that someone in her life will find out.

painful choice

“I never thought I’d need an abortion. And if you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have been angry with myself for what happened,” said Marcy, 29, who works at a bank.

At the end of last year, Marcy chose not to have a third child. Although she said the decision to terminate the pregnancy was fraught—and she didn’t want her legal name to be used because she believed she would be abandoned by some of her family members—she had no legal rights in California. Or did not encounter practical constraints.

“That part was very easy,” Marcy said. “And the people I dealt with at the clinic really just listened. They didn’t try to force anything on me. I really appreciate that.”

Mercy used a home test in early December to confirm what she already knew from experience — she was pregnant. Although months before the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Roe, the positive result came two weeks after her husband moved out.

With two children (now ages 7 and 3) at home, and a support system she describes as “sporadic,” the news was devastating.

“I’m not a big carrier, but I just cried,” said Marcy. “I felt like everything was falling apart.”

At first she did not think about abortion. She asks a trusted aunt to come over for dinner, planning to ask for legal advice concerning her ex-husband.

“I think she found out I was pregnant when I got up to get off the table,” Marcie said with a laugh.

Her aunt was blunt, asking a simple question: “What are you going to do?”

“That’s when I realized I had options,” Marcy said.

Like the Missouri woman, Marcy soon searched online to find potential abortion providers, making an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic—one of more than 100 in the state—about 10 miles from her apartment.

In California, an online search for Marcy has no legal significance. Abortion is legal in the state for any reason until a fetus is viable, and information about abortion, contraception, and other reproductive health care is widely available.

But many worry that online searches like this could be used as evidence of a crime in Missouri. The state’s ban makes it a felony for a healthcare worker to provide abortions in non-emergency situations, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and possible loss of a medical license. It is not yet clear how online searches, phone calls or any other electronic trails may be used in any future lawsuits.

After her online search, Marcy called the clinic. Among other things, he was asked what service he was looking for. At the time, Marcy said, she didn’t know.

Nine days later she met a nurse practitioner. That conversation included questions about Marcie’s general health and her previous pregnancies. Although she was provided with what she described as an “equal dose”, factual information about whether she would have given up her pregnancy if she had a child or was given up for adoption. Pressed for information on termination.

“I have two kids. I know how this process works and what I need to do if I want to see my doctor,” Marcy said.

“I was asking how an abortion would work.”

During that initial meeting, Marcie said she had an ultrasound and found out she was seven weeks pregnant.

Three days later, at home, she took the first of the two pills needed to complete a medically induced abortion. A day later, when she took the second pill, she stayed home from work and watched “The Wedding Singer” with her aunt.

Two days after that, she spoke on the phone to her nurse practitioner, who asked how she was feeling and any side effects from the drug. She also took another pregnancy test; It came back negative.

In total, Marcy said, she spent about $200 on co-pays; Insurance covers the rest. If she wasn’t able to afford the procedure, Planned Parenthood would have covered the costs, as would state insurance.

Marcy said she still wishes this episode never happened, but that the actual process of terminating her pregnancy was “as easy as it used to be.”

“I don’t regret the choice,” said Marcy. “I wish I didn’t have to make it, but I don’t regret it.”

now what?

So, how much jail time does a woman in Missouri get?

The answer, for now, is none. The state’s abortion ban specifically exempts pregnant women from prosecution.

But it is not clear whether this will always be true. This year, ahead of the Roe ruling, Missouri officials proposed making it illegal for residents to travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies, and considered pushing for similar anti-abortion laws in other states. are doing.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson Signed A Proclamation After The Us Supreme Court Overturned Roe V. Wade, Making Missouri The First State To Outlaw Abortion.  (Ap Photo/David A. Lieb, File)
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson Signed A Proclamation After The Us Supreme Court Overturned Roe V. Wade, Making Missouri The First State To Outlaw Abortion. ( Associated Press Photo/David A. Lieb, File)

Abortion is a state-by-state issue, with leaders in states such as California and Missouri loudly pushing legislation that figures to expand their differences.

“We know that states like Missouri are already targeting women seeking abortions in states like California where abortion is legal,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed AB-1666 on June 24, his state protects health workers from punishment. by other states.

“This law seeks to protect women and care providers from civil liability imposed by other states, and sends a clear message that California remains a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive health care services in our state. Will stay.”

If this is true then it could be a big deal in the future. A new study from the Center on Reproductive Health, Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law found that after Roe America, 16,000 women a year will travel to California for abortions, and 9,700 of those will be women. Los Angeles and surrounding counties will choose to do so.

Until, of course, abortion stops being a state-by-state issue.

Days after the Roe regime, prominent Democrats and Republicans called for national laws that would codify their party’s priorities on abortion. And if Republicans win control of Congress and the White House in 2024, many experts agree that national sanctions are a possibility.

Mike Parson, a Republican, called his state’s abortion ban only an important step — not the final step — in a protracted battle.

“Thanks to decades of conservative leaders, Missouri has become one of the most pro-life states in the nation, and our administration has always fought for the life of every unborn child,” Parson said.

“Our efforts have produced what generations of Missourians have worked for and prayed for … We have won our fight to protect innocent lives.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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