Welcome Robin Marty (RH Reality Check) (Twitter), Jessica Mason Pieklo (RH Reality Check) (Twitter), and Host Leigh Ann Wheeler (Binghamton University) (author, How Sex Became A Civil Liberty)

Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard In Women’s Health And How We Can Change That

Do you think the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established abortion rights? If you’re like the 53% of Americans polled by Gallup recently, chances are you don’t. In that case, you will be dismayed to learn in Crow After Roe: How “Separate but Equal” Has become the New Standard in Women’s Health and How We can Change That about the many creative ways that anti-abortion activists have undercut the right to abortion in the past forty years.

At the same time, if you identify more closely with the 29% of Americans who want to overturn Roe v. Wade, you may applaud the clever anti-abortion strategies detailed here.

Using court cases, newspaper reports, and interviews with activists Robin Marty, RH Reality Check’s senior political reporter, and Jessica Mason Pieklo, an RH Reality Check senior political analyst, show how efforts to weaken Roe have resulted in a separate standard of health care for women—separate and anything but equal.

In this sex-segregated health care system pregnancy can compromise a woman’s rights to medical information and render her more vulnerable to criminal prosecution. In some states doctors can conceal fetal abnormalities from pregnant women in order to discourage them from seeking abortions. In others, women who miscarry late in a pregnancy may face criminal charges. And in at least one state a failed suicide attempt followed by a stillbirth has led to a murder conviction.

Pregnant women who seek abortions face an even more discriminatory health care system that is focused less on their health needs than on encouraging them to carry the pregnancy to term. In some states women are limited to surgical abortions even when medication-induced abortions are safer and less expensive. In others, women must divulge their private health history to a counselor at a “pregnancy help center”—a faith-based, “pro-life” organization—before obtaining an abortion. Many states have passed such broad “conscience” laws that practically anyone—from a bus driver to a pharmacist—can refuse, on grounds of conscience, to provide services to a woman who might be seeking an abortion or dealing with the aftermath of one. Several states require abortion clinics to meet expensive and unreasonable standards, impose unnecessary and uncomfortable procedures on women, and use “informed consent” and waiting periods to discourage women from obtaining safe abortions.

Perhaps the most sobering finding in this book is this: whereas traditional anti-abortion statutes targeted abortion providers, more recent laws and regulations aim at pregnant women themselves. So rather than identifying “two victims in every abortion—the mother and the child,” they increasingly treat women as villains—villains who should be suspected of trying to end their pregnancies and be punished if they actually succeed in doing so.

It is hard to dispute Marty and Pieklo’s central claim that when it comes to reproductive health, women’s care takes place in a segregated and discriminatory system—one that often treats women’s health as subordinate to the health of the fetus and the beliefs of others.

What is a pro-choice citizen to do amid this assault on abortion rights? Marty and Pieklo suggest a recipe for “Taking Back Control.” We need to roll back initiatives against abortion rights, prevent new anti-abortion laws, and elect pro-choice legislators by revitalizing the pro-choice movement. But we also need to pursue campaign finance reform and focus on judicial rather than legislative change.

Marty and Pieklo show that anti-abortion activists have exercised impressive ingenuity in their efforts to erode the promise of Roe. In response, they call for a revitalized pro-choice movement to “reaffirm the principle that a [pregnant] woman’s right to control her body supersedes the right of the state.”

Maybe, though—and this is my personal contribution—pro-choice activists would do better to realize that preserving Roe is not the solution. In fact, by dividing pregnancy into trimesters in order to construct a careful balance between the rights of a pregnant woman, her physician, and the state, Roe has provided anti-abortion activists with inspiration for many of the strategies they have developed. Until the High Court and/or the U.S. Constitution recognizes that women have an absolute right to equal treatment under the law—including the right to make independent decisions about their own health and bodies—anti-abortion activists will continue to exploit a law that recognizes as legitimate the interests of physicians and “the state” in controlling women’s bodies.

Obviously, anti-abortion activists are going to come at this issue with very different ideas. So we should have a rousing discussion!


[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

137 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Robin Marty and Jessica Mason Pieklo, Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard In Women’s Health And How We Can Change That”

BevW April 28th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Robin, Jessica, Welcome to the Lake.

Leigh Ann, Welcome back to the Lake, thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

So happy to be here, and cannot wait to talk about the book!

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Thanks so much for hosting us, and I can’t wait to chat!

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Just start talking; really scary stuff. I live in TX.

dakine01 April 28th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Good afternoon Robin, Jessica, and Leigh and welcome back to Firedoglake this afternoon.

Robin and/or Jessica, I have not read your book so forgive me if you address this question in there but why do the pro-forced birth people pretend abortions did not happen prior to Roe v Wade and that they won’t happen if it is overturned?

I believe it was Amanda Marcotte who wrote a recent post for RH Reality Check pointing out that the actions of Kermit Gosnell are due in large part to the restrictions placed on abortion and women’s choice and it really is a short step from there back to the coat hanger (sad to say)

I was in college when Roe was handed down and knew women who had abortions thanks to a friendly doctor even in areas where it was not legal

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hello Everyone! Give me a moment to get caught up!

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Welcome to Firedoglake Robin and Jessica! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Crow After Row and anticipate that we will have a lively and interesting discussion this evening. I see we already have a question posted, so would you like to begin there?

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

How is the 53%-47% divided among women vs. men?

What are the state results, esp red states-blue states?

Who are funders of anti-choice?

On edit: How have the polling results changed in the last decade or two?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

And when you’re ready, I’d like to hear you talk a bit about how you chose the name for your book. I’m especially interested in your choice, because I recently read a book by Serena Mayeri, Reasoning from Race, that traces the history of parallels drawn (and intersections discovered) between race and gender. Your title suggests a comparison between Jim Crow segregation in the pre-1960s South and women’s health care today. Why did you create a title that suggests a parallel between women’s health care and racial segregation?

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 5

Thanks for the question and I think it raises one of the most critical points in the debate over accessibility, which is who stands to gain if abortion is re-criminalized. The anti-choice movement dodges this question in part by perpetuating this fiction that if Roe goes away so too do abortions. We all know that is ridiculous. But if the anti-choice movement acknowledged that re-criminalizing abortions means MORE Gosnell’s, for example, then the debate would be over and they would have to acknowledge a certain deep-seated misogyny in their position.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 8

If you’re referring to my introduction–it’s 53% for Roe–29% against Roe and the rest undecided. How these numbers break down by sex and section of the country I don’t know. But I too am interested in knowing more about the anti-choice funders.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 5

Hi, Dakine, thanks for the welcome. I don’t think that its a matter of them believing abortion didn’t exist, but a love of having an apparatus in which abortion was a “punishment.” A safe, legal abortion, especially stigmatized, does away with the idea that sex outside of marriage is something to be battled. It is the same reason that so many who are the most adamant are also against birth control, and why you will so often hear people who usually say that they are against abortion say that they are against “abortion as birth control.” If sex only happens in a committed, married relationship dedicated to producing children or at the very least willing to have them should a pregnancy occurs, there would be no need for legal abortion, in their opinions. The rest is about codifying their beliefs into the legal system.

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Thanks for the clarification with the large % undecided.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 10

I too find the question of “who stands to gain if abortion is re-criminalized” a fascinating one. So, what’s the answer? And can you explain your reference to “Gosnell’s?”

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 10

How do you explain the zeal and the stupidity? For instance, in TX, the wife of our Gov is the daughter of a Dr….Why is there such intrusivness about women’s health care? I guess I seem very naive. I really would like to understand more….

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:13 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 12

Great point re: keeping abortion illegal and unsafe as a punishment!

dakine01 April 28th, 2013 at 2:14 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 12

Of course, I have known married women who had an abortion rather than have a child as the couple was going through a divorce.

But I do think you nail it as it is always the same people who are against birth control for any reason at any time, who also pretend there is no one having any sex outside of marriage. It is all part and parcel with controlling women and supporting the patriarchy

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:15 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 12

But I think it’s also noteworthy that a large percentage of abortions are done for women who are married mothers–and who see abortion as a procedure that will help them be better wives and mothers.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 17

I’ve known married couples who had children already and opted for abortion simply because they had already completed their families.

dakine01 April 28th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Kermit Gosnell wiki

Kermit Barron Gosnell (born February 9, 1941) is an American physician who practiced as an abortion provider in Philadelphia and nearby states between 1972 and 2011; and as of April 2013 is on trial for first and third degree murder, illegal prescribing of drugs, conspiracy related to corruption, and illegal abortions and related medical malpractice offenses, at his abortion practice.[1]

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:17 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 8

The funders are an interesting question, and one a lot of people are paying a lot of attention to. If you read much pre-Roe historical accounts, you’ll learn that a lot of what we think of now as the modern anti-choice movement was already coming into place before abortion was actually legal, as a preemptive move by the Catholic church. It was from this section of their “Life initiatives” sector that eventually evolved into what became the National Right to Life Committee, and that was who encouraged first a branch in each state, then, by extension, into local communities. These days we will see that when it comes to, say, electing candidates, the NRLC, the Susan B. Anthony List and other special interest groups will all focus on the same races, which would make it seem as if there were a common backer behind many of these groups. But who has the money itself? I wish I knew, I would be able to write another book. :)

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I’d love to tackle this, Leigh Ann! First off, thanks for hosting. The title is meant to create an analogous way of thinking about abortion restrictions and the fight for bodily autonomy. Jim Crow was not just a broad legal system of differential treatment made possible mostly by state laws and enabled by a federal judiciary. The result was a two-tiered system of justice, of civic participation and recognition, and one that played on deeply ingrained cultural bias. The current attacks on reproductive choice mirror this structural assault. Furthermore, Robin and I argue that that bias is further exacerbated along all sorts of other lines–race, class, rural/urban. By calling on some of the language and framing of the pre-1960′s civil rights case law, that stratification becomes more apparent. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about the right of people to control when and how they reproduce as an issue of fundamental civil rights, which is one of the goals of the book.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:18 pm
In response to RevBev @ 15

Hi Bev–

I wonder this: If I really did believe that innocent little babies were being slaughtered by the tens of thousands….what would I do? So I feel as if many anti-choice folks really do think that babies are being murdered. I mean, they say that in very sensational ways, but I suspect that many of them really do believe it. How else to explain their incredible commitment to their cause?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 22

Do you think this separate(-and-not-equal) approach to women’s health goes beyond abortion and reproductive issues? I mean, your subtitle indicates that it might.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

It’s interesting that on the one hand we have such a vast majority of women seeking abortions who already have a child, yet at the same time, a number of the newest restrictions that we are seeing are based on an idea of “informed consent.” As we discuss in the book, ultrasounds are seen in Texas and ruled by the court as not being an intrusive overreach by the government into medical practice but as the most “modern” up to date to the minute version of “informed consent,” as in “hey, this is literally exactly what is in you.” The original idea behind informed consent laws were to explain procedure to people who have never undergone a given medical process. Even today, anti-choice activists explain that ultrasounds or looking at websites of fetal development are necessary so women know “it’s not a blob of tissue.” But most of the women having abortions already have had a child. She already knows what a pregnancy is.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Maybe it does. Yet the chapter on TX also includes all the info about poor women not even having access to health care, birth control, etc. The deprivation is cruel and seemingly so preoccupied with women’s bodies. Including complaints about all these poor women exploiting services in the ER….Taken together, there is a horrific picture.

JillCurrier517 April 28th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

As someone who was previously a prolife supporter before coming over to the reproductive justice side, I think I can answer this a bit. While I’m sure are in fact many people who do genuinely believe that little babies were being slaughtered every day, the prolife movement was much more an extension of otherwise conservative ideology: appropriate gender roles, power structures, etc. I believe the prolife government officials we’re dealing with these days are much more interested in punishing women with pregnancy and child birth than they are in preventing abortions. They are more invested in the health and well being of a fetus than they are in a newborn baby and its mother in their jurisdiction.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I think there is a very real fear of women being able to control their own destinies by controlling reproduction. I don’t mean to just brush it off as “patriarchy” but I do think it’s a cultural force and why it’s important to re-frame, as often as possible, the fight over abortion rights into one not just of choice but of autonomy. There’s a host of “soft” discrimination made possible, for example, because of women entering and exiting the work-force due to pregnancy/childbirth. And we’re seeing some of this play out with the legal challenges by for-profit enterprises against the birth control benefit in Obamacare. Maybe its cultural/religious, maybe its just corporate-greed gone bananas, but either way it depends first on an assumption that women are second-class citizens.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:25 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 25

I find this informed consent issue fascinating. In my book–How Sex Became a Civil Liberty–I write about the ways that feminists in the American Civil Liberties Union developed informed consent procedures in the 1970s in an attempt to protect women (primarily African American, Latina, and poor) from coerced sterilization. They came up with…..you guessed it! Waiting periods, mandatory counseling, videos, age restrictions, etc.–all with the goal of making sure that disadvantaged women were not railroaded into a sterilization they would later regret. Now those very same strategies are being used by anti-choice activists to make abortions more difficult to obtain.

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:26 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 21

A bit offT but may get you thinking along some lines as to funders.

Toll Brothers (McMansion builders) are big R.C. supporters and made a lot of money buying properties the R.C.s had to sell to settle lawsuits. Part of the quid pro quo might be financial support for anti-choice.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:26 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 27

And that IS the major inconsistency!!! All of this concern for fetal life among anti-choice conservatives evaporates in a hurry once the fetus becomes a baby. Good point!

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

If I really did believe that innocent little babies were being slaughtered by the tens of thousands….what would I do?

I think this is a VERY important thing to remember. When it comes to the basic “should abortion be allowed” question, a number of those who identify as pro-life do believe in exceptions, and believe it because although they believe abortion is ending a “life” it’s not “murdering a baby.” Hence the “abortion shouldn’t be used as birth control” argument. Abortion as a means of “avoiding responsibility” is wrong, but not murder. But those who are “anti-choice” versus pro-life — the Mourdocks and Akins, the people at Americans United for Life writing model bills, etc, they DO believe that a fertilized egg is the equivalent of a 3 month old, or close enough that it doesn’t make a difference. So yes, it does help sometimes to think about what it really would be like if you honestly thought thousands of babies were being slaughtered a day. I recommend Monica Miller’s book “Abandoned” to see it from their eyes. I don’t agree by any means, but it did get across to me what a horror it appears if that is your belief system.

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:28 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 27

The agenda behind the agenda. Interesting stuff.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

One of the points we wanted to make in the book is just that–that anti-choice activists have successfully embraced so many of those feminist victories and turned them on their head. And the idea of civil liberties for women is one I think we need to talk A LOT more about. “Liberty” assumes a certain wholeness/autonomy that the government simply cannot breach. And it’s an idea that resonates deeply politically but again doesn’t “stick” the same way for women now as it should.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 27

Interesting! I grew up fundamentalist Christian so, in many ways, I made a similar journey to the feminist, pro-choice side of things.

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I’ve read that half of A-A pregnancies end in abortion. It was internet find so I’ve kept a skeptical eye until I find a source that seems well grounded.

Do you know if that statistic is accurate?

JillCurrier517 April 28th, 2013 at 2:32 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 32

Having “crossed over” from their belief system, though, I think that there is a real possibility in having people change their views, at least to a degree. While the idea that thousands of little humans are being obliterated is a terrifying one if that’s the belief system you cling to, yes, our current system is a scary one. But to cling to that belief system, you have to also fully embrace the idea that a fully formed adult human woman has NO RIGHTS separate from the fetus upon becoming pregnant. In my experience, lots of pro-lifers aren’t quitteee willing to go that far. I think there’s room for us to find common ground in getting people our of their “you’re all murderers” mind set and talking them down a notch.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 34

Along with all the implications of the unwanted pregancy…either out of marriage or in a bad/abusive marriage, etc. Part of this is why the issues are so well-addressed in the whole model of women’s health.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I believe the first mandatory waiting period for an abortion was actually supported by pro-choice activists, because women were literally finding out that they were pregnant and then being put into the stirrups for an abortion. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, since women didn’t usually have access to pregnancy tests, they would come in to find out for sure that they were pregnant and the same clinics would then do the abortions, and I can definitely see how just learning you are pregnant and then jumping right in could be coercion. The waiting period was a part of Webster v Reproductive Health in Missouri, and that was one of the pieces some of the clinics were ok with, since the “good” clinics were already waiting at least 24 hours after a pregnancy test. But, like most of the laws we are seeing now, they are using 70′s and 80′s era issues to say there is a need for them today. Women don’t show up at a clinic unsure if they are even pregnant as a norm today. Yet the bills assume they are.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 32

Yes! By the way, a colleague of mine, Johanna Schoen (in the History Department at Rutgers) is writing a book tentatively titled ABORTION AFTER LEGALIZATION. She spoke here at Binghamton University recently and included lots and lots of “pro-life” propaganda that highlighted for me the horror of abortion for many people and certainly at later points in a pregnancy. But back to the hypocrisy that many “pro-life” folks exhibit–a close family member (so yes, fundamentalist Christian) who will always vote a straight anti-choice ticket, pressured his single daughter to get an abortion when she became pregnant by an unworthy beau. So….well….there you go.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Welcome Robin and Jessica,

When I first got your book, I jumped immediately to the chapter on Kansas. I am a Lutheran pastor in greater KC (on the MO side), and often write here at FDL on religion. Thus, I’m quite familiar with Sam Brownback and his anti-abortion antics.

The connection with race is one that has raised its head in the last month in the KS abortion debates, as I wrote here a couple of weeks ago as the legislature debated (and passed) the most recent set of additional restrictions:

The debate on all this was raucous, even by Kansas standards. A GOP senator compared Roe v Wade with Dred Scott, which prompted Democratic Senator David Haley (of the same Haley clan made famous by Roots) to take umbrage at the “narrow, Taliban-like philosophies” of the abortion opponents. He later backtracked a little, in the interests of comity, but noted that this Dred Scott-Taliban kerfuffle “does bring into crystal clear focus how many people feel repressed, especially women, by some of the views that emanate from this chamber … that are telling women what they cannot do with their own bodies.”

There is one strand of the anti-choice voices that compare the debate on abortion with the 19th century battle over slavery as the Great Moral Question of the era. It’s mindboggling, though, that the solution proposed by the anti-choicers is to reduce the full humanity of women in the paternalistic manner you lay out so well in this book.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 37

Also, it’s important to remember that faith-leaders were instrumental in helping women access abortion care pre-Roe (establishing abortion funds, working with doctors), because the debate was one grounded in social justice rather than a narrower “women’s rights”. I think that history speaks to this idea that many in the anti-choice movement support abortion access, even if it’s limited access.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:37 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 37

I agree with the implication here–that we should try to talk TO each other more–that there might be common ground we are missing–and that takes me back to my family member who will always vote anti-choice yet pressured his own daughter to get an abortion (which she did)–like, how do you deal with that sort of disconnect? Or is it not a disconnect at all–perhaps HE wanted to maintain control of the decision and if abortion were illegal, he might have more control over it than he does as long as abortion is legal. By the way, he and they live in TX!

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 39

That is VERY interesting and makes me wonder how the advent of over-the-counter pregnancy tests correlated with changes in abortion laws and regulation.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 36

I believe it’s about 40%, yes. The reason behind this has less to do w/ “OMG THEY ARE ABORTING ALL THE BLACK BABIES” and instead to do with the fact that communities of color also have much higher unplanned pregnancy rates. A lot of that is because of poor sex ed, lack of affordable contraception and higher rates of poverty. It’s ironic when you look at it, because on the other side, there is a constant cry that “look, a majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods!” as a way to try to shame family planning services out of the communities that need those services the most. Until we address the underlying issues that result in more minority communities having higher rates of poverty than yes, we need family planning clinics in those areas first to provide those services affordably and because a population in poverty is one that can’t afford to travel somewhere else for services.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to Peterr @ 41

Thanks, Peterr, for both reading and being an active member of the faith community that supports reproductive choice! I think that element of the anti-abortion movement depends on folks having a broad brush understanding of American history, if at all, and you hit the fundamental hypocrisy of it right on the head.

eCAHNomics April 28th, 2013 at 2:42 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 45


JillCurrier517 April 28th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

It could certainly be a control aspect. What I see/hear a lot is some of the following views:
“Well IIII would never have an abortion, and I believe it’s wrong, but people can do what they want with their life.”
“Abortion is wrong, but there are certain circumstances that are MORE wrong where having one makes sense”
“Abortion is always the taking of a life….but if it’s to save the life of the mother, or in a case of rape or incense or very young girl, well, circumstances change.” Etc, and I’m sure we could all go on and on.
Your family member may be of the ilk that ‘abortion is wrong, I will always vote for antichoice candidates because I believe it’s wrong. But this is MY daughter; this is HER life that’s going to be messed up. This is DIFFERENT.’
There are many many people who are prolife (and to be fair, prochoice) that put interesting qualifiers on their decisions. I think it’s campaigns like 1 in 3 and other public awareness initiatives that can help us reach people and help them understand, it’s ALWAYS going to be SOMEONE’S daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

As I read your book, I was really amazed at the wide array of very creative strategies anti-choice activists have developed to make abortions difficult for women to obtain. It’s sort of like a kitchen-sink approach–throw everything you’ve got at Roe and see what sticks to it and sinks it. Were you surprised, as you conducted your research, at the incredible variety of anti-abortion measures out there?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 46

Ditto! Thank you Peter!

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
In response to Peterr @ 41

Thanks, Peter, and it’s only getting worse. One of the states I pay a lot of attention to recently due to a battle over Medicaid funding of abortion is Alaska. It didn’t make many of the media outlets outside the state, but one of the senators trying to end coverage for poor women was continuously comparing abortion to the freed slaves act. I think there will be a continuing of this narrative, especially as more of the youth of the movement become vocal about seeing themselves as “abortion abolitionists” as they call themselves. I do think that Lynn Paltrow, who we talk to extensively in our Indiana chapter on feticide, puts it best when she says that personhood cannot be compared to freeing slaves or suffrage, because in order for an embryo or fetus to be a “person” with full rights, a woman must give up some of hers in exchange. No one lost any “rights” when the slaves were freed or when women gained the vote.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 48

And the prochoice conversation is certainly helped by remarks like
the one that says rape does not cause pregnancy. I hate to give credit for
stupidity, but there you’ve got it. I do believe that some of the excesses can have a beneficial outcome.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Robin may have a slightly different take on this question, but I was less surprised at the variety and more shocked at what happened when we pieced together each of the individual attacks on the issue of access–the layer upon layer and how EFFECTIVE the incremental attacks have been. We talk about “legal in name only” but more many women, that’s simply the truth. They may live hundreds of miles from a clinic in a state with a waiting period that does not allow Medicaid funding for abortions. Taken alone each restriction may sound, to someone who is not invested in the day-to-day fight, as “reasonable”, especially those promoted in the name of “safety.”

I was also surprised at how effective the federal courts have been in enabling the rash of anti-choice laws, especially when the Casey, Gonzales, and Ayotte cases are laid out one right after the other.

grayslady April 28th, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to JillCurrier517 @ 48

An important point. One way we were successful in pushing the ERA back in the 1970s was to ask men how they would feel if their daughters were unable to obtain a job they were qualified for, or if that daughter were to be paid less simply because she was a woman. When the men began to see how it affected their own families, they voted for equality.

JillCurrier517 April 28th, 2013 at 2:50 pm
In response to RevBev @ 52

I’m right there with you, Bev. When politicians and talking heads let “slip” some of their more bizarre thoughts, I think it has been beneficial for the prochoice movement because people otherwise uninvolved watch the news and think, “Prolifers believe WHAT?” Of course it’s not indicative of all of them, but some of this bad press for them is good press for us. It hopefully involves people in the conversation who may not have otherwise done so.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:50 pm
In response to RevBev @ 52

I agree! Fundamentalist Christian family members of mine were horrified by Todd Akin’s claims that rape cannot result in pregnancy.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how deliberate and methodical the legal challenge set up has been so far, for the most part. It took talking to Jessica to help me see that there was a pattern to what, in my opinion, was this massive onslaught. She helped me see that a 20 week ban in certain states would set the precedent to overturn viability, or how you could get competing rulings to drive a law up the channel to get it to the Supreme Court, such as in the ultrasound rulings. There is so much cleverness, frankly, in their incremental approach. It’s one of the reasons I found this year baffling with things like successful heartbeat ban laws or personhood. Frankly, the incremental approach was working brilliantly and they may be allowing their zealots to ruin it by pushing too hard too fast.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

And, if you can’t tell how much time we spend writing together, Jess and I are even stunned by the same things :)

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Im glad to know we can still be shocked. In TX we hear so much crazy
stuff (like doing away with Federal agencies we can’t name)it gets harder to separate the sane from the not…..

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
In response to grayslady @ 54

Speaking of the Equal Rights Amendment–that is one thing that you don’t mention in your conclusion as necessary for getting rid of the separate standard for women’s health care. Have you considered the relationship between the ERA and abortion today? Why was an ERA not one of the things you mentioned as a strategy for establishing women’s rights to abortion?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 2:55 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 58

Why did you decide to write this book–and why together–and what was that like? If that’s too many questions to tackle at once, just take the first one.

grayslady April 28th, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Robin and Jessica, I’ve read that college-age women and women in their 20s are less likely to be pro-choice than we were back in the 1970s. Why do you think that might be, especially when polls show increasing numbers of young people are no longer religious?

Also, do you think the fact that NARAL is nowhere to be seen in these state legislative fights is part of the problem?

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

One of the biggest problems that I see for those with pro-choice religious voices is that all too often, the picture of “what religious people believe” presented in the media is that of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. At the national level, consider this: Timothy Dolan can appear on the Sunday morning talk shows any time he wants; religious leaders from other faith traditions are much, much less frequent guests.

Among pro-choice religious leaders, whose voices do you hear that cut through the anti-choice USCCB?

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:01 pm
In response to grayslady @ 62

I wonder if the Komen debacle fits in here as well. Just fewer voices,

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Well, the book in it’s form was Jess’s brain child, but was based off an article we wrote together about how a 20 week ban on abortion in DC could overturn Roe. The book itself is sort of the product of these discussions, as more bills would come about and she would explain how each one could potentially provoke a challenge or overturn a precedent. As for writing, the actual function of doing it together was much easier than the fact that to be as up to date as possible, we wrote it very quickly to get it to the printer. That…was an adventure.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’m glad this came up because I’ve been thinking more and more about the role of the ERA in all of this and the connection between the ERA and how the court has described abortion rights. Justice Ginsburg argues that many abortion restrictions should be viewed as an issue of “equal protection” since they specifically target only one class of persons. I agree, but so far the rest of the justices haven’t (it is an argument that makes the anti-choice movement VERY nervous though. James Bopp Jr. in his testimony regarding the Ohio heartbeat ban mentions this ‘destructive’ idea of abortion restrictions as a violation of equal protection). So, passage of the ERA would be one way to address that issue, especially should Roe be struck. I’d add it to the list.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

The Akin campaign was truly an amazing thing. It gave the world a clear unvarnished view of the rightwing patriarchal mindset.

The best — absolutely best — commercial during that whole campaign was “My Country – My Choice” which featured a refrain “If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?”

This message is one that I think needs to be lifted up and repeated across the country.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 65

Robin and I are lucky that we work well together. The entire sprang from a lot of the fight in Texas with the Perry administration actually creating a separate women’s health program so as to avoid providing access to abortion care (among other services) and who that would impact, etc…

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:07 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 66

I was just thinking how the vaginal ultrasound laws would operate here;
surely it takes a male Gov. to come up with such a requirement.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to Peterr @ 63

So what would you two say to Peter’s question about media coverage (or political attention to) religious voices that reflect more moderate or even pro-choice positions on abortion?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
In response to Peterr @ 67

Oh my goodness–that is the BEST!!! I did not see this commercial, but I want a bumper sticker and a pin and a baseball cap and a t-shirt and a tattoo that says this!

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to RevBev @ 69

Related to this: I loved the moment in your book when you discuss the strategy used by one legislator against anti-choice colleagues who wanted to require that pregnant women undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before being permitted to have an abortion. He (I think it was a he) suggested that men who wanted Viagra prescriptions be required to undergo prostate exams. Love it!

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to grayslady @ 62

This is a complicated question. On the one hand I think of my own evolution on this issue– I’m 39 and legal abortion is all I’ve known. Yet even growing up in a liberal household abortion was something that wasn’t talked about in terms of women’s autonomy as much as it was “respecting choice.” Don’t get me wrong, I think respecting choice is critical, but I think we need to do better making sure people understand that abortion is one possible outcome of a pregnancy, and that this is as much a public health conversation as a religious one. Abortion shame/stigma play a big role in this and one we need to work hard to eradicate if we want to move the needle on this issue.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 68

So…is Texas the worst state in the nation with regard to abortion rights?

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to grayslady @ 62

i think younger women are still pro-choice, especially as they find themselves needing to fight for their own access. In some ways, I think they are becoming more active than those of us sort of in the older cusp of millenials, who have always known abortion as legal and mostly accessible. For the 18-25 crowd, they have been less likely to be married, less likely to have health insurance unless they are still on their parents, and have spent the last 3 years seeing not just abortion but birth control under attack. I just don’t think they identify with the “pro-choice” jargon of it. As for NARAL, I can NOT say enough about the work that the NARAL state affiliates are doing on the ground. I watched states like South Dakota and Ohio fight against some of the most serious bans, and they spend every second trying to protect access for women. I think that the lack of a NARAL in every state is one of the biggest problems we face in the movement right now. So, to summarize, state level NARAL affiliates are amazing.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Must have been a he….makes one wonder what “they” know about the female

Thanks for the book comment; sorry, that would not be me.;)

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I’d love to see this. I think on a broader issue we saw a little of this on the Ryan budget with the Nuns on the Bus and the push back toward social justice within the RC tradition. The question is HOW to get that coverage beyond outlets that are already sympathetic and I think there if we can successfully re-posit abortion rights as an issue of social justice we could hopefully have some traction.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to RevBev @ 76

Oops–I wrote this as if it were to Robin and Jessica.

grayslady April 28th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 75

That’s good to hear about state affiliates of NARAL, especially since it was Partnership for Civil Justice that lead the way on the morning-after pill.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

That’s definitely a race to the bottom. I think Texas, North Dakota, Kansas and Mississippi all deserve attention for similar reasons. These states are creating actual health care deserts where women simply cannot access care they need and when they do, they can’t trust the care given as a result of restrictions and expanded religious objections.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 77

I have to say that it makes me nervous to think that we can’t get traction on abortion rights if we frame them as “women’s rights” but maybe we can if we treat them as matters of “social justice.” I mean, if women’s rights were considered matters of social justice, that’s fine. But if women’s rights are NOT considered matters of social justice and that’s exactly why we’d need to distance abortion rights from women’s rights in order to align them more closely with social justice….well, that makes me nervous.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 77

I wonder if Sojourners Magazine has spoken out much on this topic? I really do not know, but social justice in a mostly religious context
is its thing, so to speak. That voice has credibility.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
In response to Jessica Pieklo @ 80

That leads me to a methodology question. How did you decide which states to focus on in your book? Are these simply the worst states? And how did you locate them as the worst?

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
In response to grayslady @ 79

I just want to second the love for state affiliates of NARAL. In places like Wisconsin and South Dakota they’re doing amazing work in practically impossible conditions.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I think Jess has been leaving Peter’s question for me, because she knows the religious aspect is my pet project right now. It’s actually something I want to do more of, make it more clear that just because the major religious voice being heard currently is either USCCB or the right wing evangelicals, there is by no means a consensus that abortion (and especially birth control) is bad. Specifically for this book we spoke with Catholics for Choice, but I’m interested in branching this out much further, talking to Faith Aloud, more members of Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, etc. As a post-Roe generation member, I didn’t realize how much of a role the clergy played pre-Roe to get women to safe, legal abortion, especially via the clergy referral project. Every religious leader I talk to wants desperately to be back in that role in upholding the civil rights of women, but many feel like they aren’t sure how to approach that discussion when so much of the younger wing of the pro-choice movement mistrusts religious leaders. There’s a major schism, and it’s one we absolutely have to heal, and soon, before it’s too late.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I write too long of answers, I keep falling behind. I need soundbytes. Or tweets…

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

We’ll let you catch up!

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I hear what you’re saying, Leigh Ann. It should be that women’s rights ARE matters of social justice because, well, they are. So I guess I’m not advocated for abandoning the idea of abortion as an issue of women’s rights, but pushing us to expand that explanation of how abortion rights fits into that larger social justice framework since the current legal structure has reinforced this idea that the state is justified in treating women differently with regard to health care because of the possibility they may be pregnant one day.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

First of all, I still firmly believe that despite everything, South Dakota is the worst. The crazy ever extending waiting period and only having one clinic is bad enough, but the fact that they would legislate forcing you to talk to someone you have never met to give them a chance to talk you out of an abortion shows such a disregard for women’s intellectual capabilities it astounds me. It literally means legislators believe women are so stupid, fickle, or easily led astray that they are only making this decision about their body and their lives — and families — that they will just agree with whomever talks to them last.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

As to methodology. Some states we chose because they are important locations for key legal decisions– Nebraska for example. Other chapters like DC laid out both a track to Supreme Court review and a history of pushing access away from vulnerable populations. There were states we didn’t focus on but could have–Utah, Virginia, Iowa… and now of course Arkansas and North Dakota– simply because we needed an ending point. The book is in many ways a beginning of the conversation and framing.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 89

Are there legal challenges? Sounds like that harks back to the old days when women could not own/manage property. Crazy….

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

On the other hand, the opponents of abortion are trying to cast their language around abortion in a way that embraces other issues. The Catholic church’s “culture of death” framing puts their anti-abortion stance alongside anti-LGBT positions (the only life-giving sexuality is heterosexual; homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered”). Debates around “conscience” are pushed to include not only abortion, but also end-of-life issues (think Terry Schaivo).

I’ve run into a number of LGBT activists who were not worked up about the creeping abortion restrictions, but when they saw that the same language was being used against the pro-choice folks, it really got to them.

The fight you describe so well in the book is a fight in which the right wing would like to bring a patriarchal, Father-knows-best world into being, and the abortion battle is but one battle in a larger war. They post this as a return to a better time; it is, however, a time that never existed except when history is read through some very rose-colored glasses.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Another thing that really struck me was your claim that anti-abortion strategies are becoming focused less on targeting providers and more on targeting the women who seek abortions. What do you think is causing that shift?

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 89

As for why we picked the states — these are in each respect the original or near original use of each bill, which is usually then passed on as a model bill that would be used across the country. We’ve been calling them the “grandfather” bills, the original models, as it were. They also were picked because they had both an engaging legislative narrative (because seriously, antics like Janet Porter in Ohio make for good stories), or subjects with stories that simply had to be told, for good or for bad. There is no person who has read the story of Bei Bei Shuai’s suicide attempt and not responded that a murder charge is wrong. Jennie Linn’s illegal self abortion is a story of huge conflict, and it’s not a pleasant one, but it’s common much more than we want to believe and could be where many women end up if clinics are closed for good. We picked these states because sadly, they are the ones most likely to be our future unless we change directions.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to Peterr @ 92

Peter, that is a very interesting point–that “pro-lifers” are casting their position in very broad terms so that pro-choicers might need to do so as well.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 89

I don’t know, Robin. I’m leaning toward Kansas myself.

Thanks to the newest law I referenced earlier, doctors in Kansas are now required to lie to their patients, telling them that there is a scientific link between abortion and breast cancer, the word of the National Cancer Institute notwithstanding.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
In response to RevBev @ 91

The waiting period and mandatory counseling was challenged. Planned Parenthood dropped the challenge to the waiting period, allowing the 72 hour wait to go into effect if the state chose. Instead, the state proposed a new bill stating that 72 hour wait could not include weekends or holidays. So it’s closer to a week now. However, the mandatory counseling at a CPC is still blocked and being challenged.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 94

So you have laid out a “Hand-Maid’s Tale” of our future here. Yikes! Speaking of Shuai–do you have an update on her case?

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
In response to Peterr @ 96

True, but they do have the option to do what Dr. Willie Parker and Dr Curtis Boyd does, which is give the info and say it’s a crock. Both providers told us that they tell the patients that the state says that they have to say XXX, but that no medical evidence supports it.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:34 pm
In response to Peterr @ 96

It’s hard for me to believe that doctors are willing to do that. Are they? Of course, when I lived in Ohio, there was a mass exodus of ob-gyns in response to anti-abortion legislation that left them vulnerable so…do you stand to lose ob-gyns in Kansas?

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I think one thing that’s causing that shift is those promoting the most radical abortion restrictions do see them both as punitive for bad behavior and necessary to “protect” women. It’s what happens when people like Todd Akin are elected to Congress, even temporarily.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Thank God about the counseling….in my own life when I was getting married years ago, I asked the dr. about birth control. His advice was the “old fashioned method….to keep your feet in a bucket.” So much
for counseling. And it took the US Supreme Court to say in La that the man was not “head and master” of the community property…even if some belonged to the wife. They really were the bad old days.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I don’t get the “necessary to ‘protect’ women” piece. How does targeting women protect them?

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Bei Bei’s jury selection starts at the end of August with the trial scheduled to be in September. A judge ruled that the forensic expert’s medical testimony was inadmissible because they never tested for any cause of death for Angel besides the rat poison and that rat poison doesn’t cross the placental barrier. The state has hired a new medical expert to look at the evidence, which is why the trial has been delayed. But at least she’s out on bail, so that’s a start.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:36 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 85


On a very local level, after George Tiller was murdered, people were surprised to learn not just that he was a churchgoing person, but was killed while serving as an usher. Every church has ushers, and the day I spoke about his murder, everyone in worship that day looked at the ushers in the narthex a little bit differently.

So much of the debate pushes things to the abstract, and our best way of opposing the kinds of things you lay out in the book is to make them particular and concrete. George Tiller was not some bogeyman, waylaying unsuspecting and easily manipulated women into having abortions for some Josef Mengele reason. He was a compassionate doctor serving a very marginalized set of patients.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:37 pm
In response to RevBev @ 102

Oh Bev…you have seen a lot of bad, bad stuff!

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 104

I didn’t notice in your footnotes–did you interview her?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Robin and Jessica, one of the things you call for in your final chapter, “Taking Back Control,” is a revitalized pro-choice movement. What did your research suggest to you about the relative strength of the “pro-life” versus pro-choice movements?

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

All abortion laws are written with the assumption that a woman needs “protection.” From a doctor who wants her money, from a partner who wants to absolve himself of responsibility. It’s another form of “protecting” her, just like the bills that change how abortions can be performed for her “safety.”

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

No, she wasn’t allowed to do interviews at the time. We talked with her attorney a bit and used some of their briefings in our chapter.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

And some pretty amazing changes; folks like Perry etc seem like
such throwbacks. Thanks.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Yes, they have to do that, though I expect they will also do as Robin said and present it in such a way that it is clear that this is a legislative requirement and not scientific fact.

At its heart, this requirement is aimed not so much at women as at doctors. The state legislature wants to make it as difficult as possible to be a doctor who provides this service. In that same bill, there were a bunch of tax-related provisions, which are aimed at removing any and every deduction (both individual and business) related to an abortion.

Right now, the biggest thing slowing down the anti-abortion crowd in Topeka is the University of Kansas Medical Center. Kansans are rightly proud of KUMC and it has a great national reputation. Some of the most sweeping anti-abortion restrictions have been derailed (at least temporarily) when KU’s legislative lobbyists noted that a proposal would jeopardize KU’s license to provide medical education or otherwise hurt KU and its reputation for excellence.

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

It doesn’t. But, the “logic” is that women can’t be trusted in any capacity when it comes to sex and reproduction so the state must come in and “protect” them from their own bad choices. It’s an extension of a legal tradition where adult women were treated akin to juveniles and it’s creeping back. Most recently we’ve seen a pregnant woman charged with child-endangerment after she was in a car-accident, a woman charged with feticide after falling down the stairs and miscarrying because she expressed concern about how she was going to support the baby if it were born.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:45 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 109

But that still begs the question of why laws and policies are increasingly targeting not the doctor or the partner or anyone else who stands to profit from abortion–but women themselves.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to Peterr @ 112

Yayyyyy! KU! I’m from Kansas by the way–though I went to K-State as an undergrad.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

It seems to me at least in part that the women are the most vulnerable. Drs. certainly are not and partners can walk away. And women are so sinful, dontcha know?/s

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot more organization on their side than ours. Even the last few weeks, their focus on Gosnell, or on fighting a reproductive parity bill in New York that hasn’t even been released yet, shows, that they have a majorly coordinated group working together. I have to admit I sort of envy them that. We really don’t seem to find it easy to coordinate when its our turn to fight.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I mentioned in my introduction that maybe pro-choice activists would do better to realize that preserving Roe is not the solution. Because Roe divided pregnancy into trimesters and used those trimesters to craft a careful balance between the rights of a pregnant woman, her physician, and the state, it seems to me that Roe has provided anti-abortion activists with inspiration for many of the strategies they have developed. What would you say to that?

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:48 pm
In response to RevBev @ 116

I get that…but that’s always been the case. So it makes one wonder why abortion providers were targeted for so long only now to see a shift toward abortion patients….

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:49 pm
In response to Robin Marty @ 117

Is that in part because they are so connected to hierarchically organized religious institutions?

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I think in part the answer is also that there are fewer ways to target providers at this point BECAUSE providers were the focus for long. We’ve got a host of informed consent requirements, TRAP provisions, etc…

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I see them targeting the doctors and providers at least as much as the women right now. Revised building codes, requirements that facilities be able to handle medical surgeries, tax law changes, limits on tax money being spent on anything tangetially related to abortion, restrictions on planned parenthood from offering sex education materials in any facility or event supported with taxpayer money, . . .

The whole “conscience” issue relegates women to the back seat. “Don’t make me spend money or take actions against my conscience.” It privileges the conscience of the powerful over the patient.

If the USCCB can control Catholic hospitals, and Catholic hospitals can get increasingly expansive “conscience” protections so that they don’t have to provide certain procedures or medications, the conscience of the woman doesn’t come into the discussion at all.

BevW April 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Robin, Jessica, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the need for a real Women’s Health / Social Justice movement.

Leigh Ann, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Robin and Jessica’s website (RH Reality Check) and book (Crow After Roe)

Leigh Ann’s website and book

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Interesting–I wonder too though if it’s because women are finding new ways to take matters into their own hands–by getting RU-486 off the internet, for example, as one woman in your book did.

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I clearly do not know, but women are more “uppity” and now seen as so much
more as a force than they might have been. What you are describing really is a more punitive practice. Just a hunch.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Wow–that was a quick two hours! Thank you everyone! Thanks especially to Robin and Jessica for writing such an informative, provocative and important book! And thank you Bev for making the Firedoglake book salons such wonderful intellectual events!

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:55 pm
In response to RevBev @ 116

It’s a two pronged attack — if they target doctors, people become afraid to be providers. The targeting of women first allows them to say they are making laws under the rules of Casey v. Planned Parenthood, where the legal ruling says abortion regulations are allowed in the first trimester if it protects women’s health or safety. The other aspect of it is that if it becomes a procedure that will allow them to jail a woman, she can then turn in the doctor who provided the abortion as a means to get out of jail. So it’s an alternative way to stop providers.

Also, realize that the biggest threat to abortion becoming more accessible is the internet. Jennie Linn bought drugs and did it herself. That’s why they tried to jail her, to have that threat out there in case other women try. They hate telemed for the same reason and have placed laws mandating all abortions must be face to face. If women could just get pills, and have an abortion, without going to a clinic, without having to face “sidewalk counselors” without them getting a chance to take a shot at talking her out of it? That’s their nightmare.

Peterr April 28th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks, Robin and Jessica, not just for this book, not just for coming by the Book Salon to talk about it, but for your ongoing work!

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

At times I’m tempted to throw away Roe altogether and I don’t think it’s a “good” decision in terms of how it frames abortion rights. My concern in abandoning it is pragmatic though– and replace it with what? Maybe that’s where the ERA comes in, but under the current legal and political climate I don’t see an expansion of rights if Roe is abandoned, only an even deeper stratification of who can access care and who cannot. And on that point the problem is more from Planned Parenthood v. Casey than Roe. It wasn’t until Casey, and then later thanks to the Gonzales decision, that the state-level attacks became so, so prominent.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:56 pm
In response to Peterr @ 128

And thanks for yours too Peter!

Jessica Pieklo April 28th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Wow that went fast! Thanks everyone for reading, joining in, asking questions. This was so much fun!

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to Peterr @ 122

even worse, Peter, we are seeing a bill that will forbid any hospital that takes “public funding” from being allowed to have anything to do with abortion. That includes transfer agreements and admitting privileges. So, take out the Catholic hospitals and the public hospitals or University hospitals, and what’s left? No one.

Robin Marty April 28th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Oh, man, how can we be done? Thanks so much for letting us talk, and for supporting the book!

RevBev April 28th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Really good conversation; thanks for the hard work.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I see the pragmatism argument. But getting rid of Roe could provide some common ground between the pro-choice and anti-choice movements. Until, though, we have an S.C. in place (or an ERA) that is likely to issue a pro-choice friendly decision, we should refrain from this strategy. But I’m not so sure that holding Roe up as the ideal we’re trying to preserve is a good idea.

hpschd April 28th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thanks all for an enlightening discussion.

Leigh Ann Wheeler April 28th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Bye everyone! Great discussion–great research–great political commitments all ’round!

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