ISSUE BRIEF: This Month in Reproductive Health

reproductive health

Every week, PRA brings you a monthly update on a different social justice issue! This week, we’re recapping the last month in Reproductive Health.


Koch Brothers Donate $8.2 million to Anti-Choice Groups
The Koch brothers, not particularly well known for their support of social issues, are in the spotlight again. A recent report published by Politco revealed that the “Koch’s secret bank” donated $8.2 million to the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), the legislation and advocacy arm of anti-choice CWA. CWALAC has already lobbied for the bills that effectively banned all abortion 20 weeks after fertilization in Texas, and now with this donation, one can only assume what moves will be made next following the financial boost.

Conservatives Use Abortions in India to Propose American Anti-Choice Bills
Conservative politicians sink to a new low by exploiting India’s “missing girls” for their own anti-choice propaganda. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (R) and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith (R) have discussed the sex-selection abortions occurring in various states of India where some potential Indian girls are aborted, resulting (in Haryana) a ratio of 832 girls for every 1,000 boys. Instead of discussing the sexist injustices that have caused alarm for human rights advocates, these politicians are co-opting it as a basis to ban all abortions. Human rights advocate, Mallika Dutt, noted that, “Claiming to ‘protect’ women’s rights by denying women rights makes absolutely no sense.”

Oklahoma Abortion Case Moves to SCOTUS
Despite multiple court successes by the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice to block a 2011 law that restricted the way doctors could administer abortion-inducing medication, the state of Oklahoma continues to appeal their lawsuits. Two victories issued by the state judge and Oklahoma Supreme Court has not stopped the state from appealing the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court for more clarification on the law. Depending on whether the Supreme Court allows the lower courts’ decision to stand or whether they’ll look into it themselves can determine how significantly reproductive rights will progress.

Mississippi Anti-Choice Groups Make Unfounded Complaints About State’s Last Abortion Clinic
Anti-choice groups, including Leaders of Pro-Life Mississippi, Physicians for Life Mississippi, Mississippi Right To Life, and Pro-Life Action Network have filed a complaint with the health department of Mississippi, claiming the Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the only abortion provider left in the state—has been failing to accurately report its data. Despite having no independent evidence to prove the clinic is lying about its statistics, these anti-choice organizations continue to push state health officials into looking at JWHO and its compliance with the law.

NY Times Publishes Report Validating “Pseudoscience” Anti-Choice Propaganda
The New York Times recently published an article entitled “Complex Science at Issue in Politics of Fetal Pain,” which essentially promoted bad science as good. Writer Pam Belluck offered multiple opinions in the debate over so-called “fetal pain,” but presented them as equally valid. One of these opinions came from a policy director at a national anti-choice group. The notion of “fetal pain” has already been dismissed as pseudoscience by Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but the newspaper still printed this study as an objective look into the subject matter. Rather than discussing scientific evidence, or simply not presenting the story at all, the New York Times legitimized a falsity being pushed by anti-choice propaganda.


Men-For-Choice Group Holds Fundraiser in D.C.
NARAL Pro-Choice America held its ever first annual “Men for Choice (And the Women Who Love Them)” fundraising event September 18 in Washington D.C. While reproductive rights are always and foremost an issue related to people who can bear children (in this case generalized as women, but can include trans* men and non-binary people), NARAL decided to rally the people who cannot (in this case, generalized as men), but who support reproductive rights by honoring them at the event. NARAL is calling its function a success, with pro-choice men, including notable figures such as Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s son Nathan Daschle attending in support of a woman’s/person’s right to choose what to do with their bodies.

Pro-Choice Group Rallies Against New Mexico Anti-Choice Bill
Once again, another bill proposal is undergoing the process of hindering a person’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the city council voted to put a bill on their November ballot that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The Albuquerque chapter of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) is fighting back, issuing a call-to-action to intervene on the proposal. With support from members of the community as well as local and national women’s groups, including NOW (National Organization for Women); Respect ABQ Women; NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; Young Women United; and Personhood for Women, WORD will be busy working to oppose any ballot measure that would strip away the reproductive rights of the citizens in Albuquerque.

California Passes New Law Expanding Access to Abortion
California is likely to soon put a new law into place promoting reproductive rights and ensuring their proper place in the Golden State. As of this writing, the state is simply awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature to enact the law, which will expand the number of medical professionals who can legally perform abortions. This broader access will allow nurse practitioners and trained physician assistants to perform abortions, giving women the ability to have early abortions and avoiding delayed procedures in the case of locating the nearest doctor possible. In addition, California legislators are working to ensure abortion clinics are not held to the impossible standards which have closed many clinics across the United States.

Rutgers Holding 40th-Anniversay-of-Roe Conference
On October 11, the Center for Reproductive Rights will co-sponsor “Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World” at Rutgers School of Law for the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Speakers at the event are expected to not only focus on constitutional rights, but the broader themes of reproductive justice and reproductive oppression. The scheduled topics will range from abortion regulation to justice in child birth, with Byllye Avery, founder of Black Women’s Health, to present the keynote speech.

Women of Color Call for Repeal of the Hyde Amendment
On the 37th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, women of color gathered together to call for legislators to repeal the law banning federal Medicaid coverage for abortions. Jessica González-Rojas of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Eleanor Hinton Hoytt of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, and Miriam Yeung of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum wrote an article for RH Reality Check discussing the struggles women of color have had dealing with the limits on reproductive rights, saying that the Hyde Amendment “violates principles of racial and economic justice.” On its 37th anniversary, these leaders and organizations, along with their supporters, pushed to spread information about this injustice, creating the “All Above All: United to Restore and Sustain Abortion Coverage for Low-Income Women” campaign.

Next Friday: This month in LGBTQ