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This week on the VisuNews podcast I speak with Robin Marty, author of “A Handbook for a Post-Roe America” and operations director of the West Alabama’s Women’s Center. I called her to talk about the state of abortion access in Alabama and the recent announcement from the states Attorney General that he would be looking at potentially prosecuting women for trying to receive abortion pills under a chemical endangerment law that’s already on the books.
From a January 11th Washington Post article on the subject: “Alabama’s attorney general (Steve Marshall) became the most prominent Republican official yet to suggest that pregnant women could be prosecuted for taking abortion pills, saying in recent days that a state ban targeting those who facilitate abortions does not preclude the state from seeking to penalize women under other existing laws.
Since that was saying the quiet part a bit too loud for the more mainstream anti-choice activists in the country – his office has since backed off saying to the Washington Post that he will be focusing his ire at the pharmaceutical companies that are distributing them. Quote: “The Attorney General’s beef is with illegal providers, not women,” said Cameron Mixon, Marshall’s deputy communications director.
That was about a month ago, since then Alabama and 19 other states attorney general’s have sent letters to CVS and Walgreens to not send mifepristone, an abortion drug to their states threatening legal action. Saying: “We emphasize that it is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states,” the attorneys general said in letters to the nation’s two largest drugstore chains Wednesday.
To quote CNBC: The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago as a safe and effective way to terminate an early pregnancy. The FDA says scientific and real-world evidence demonstrate that the pill is safer than surgical abortion and childbirth.
This isn’t the only threat to abortion access currently in the works by conservative states trying to effectively prevent women across the country from receiving health care. In Texas there is a case in front of a Federal Judge brought by Alliance Defending Freedom along with the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PRO-LIFE OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS, CHRISTIAN MEDICAL & DENTAL ASSOCIATIONS they seek to pull the Food and Drug Administrations clearance of the abortion pill, mifepristone. The groups went judge shopping in their case and got exactly what they were looking for. Quoting an excellent article in Bloomberg law that I’ll link in the show notes – “The ADF filed its complaint in federal court in Amarillo, where the only district judge is Matthew Kacsmaryk, who’s written critically of the constitutional right to same-sex marriage and whose past rulings included one rejecting explicit health protections for LGBTQ people.”
The route to the US Supreme Court for this case could be quick, but in the meantime the ADF has asked for the use of the drugs to be enjoined while the case has been heard.
I’ll be covering the fight for abortion access quite a bit this year – so I’ll be returning to these stories when news breaks. Until then here’s my conversation with Robin Marty, recorded in January before many of these stories broke.
Donate to the West Alabama Women’s Center here: https://action.yellowhammerfund.org/a/wawc
Robin Marty on Twitter: https://twitter.com/robinmarty
West Alabama Women’s Center on twitter: https://twitter.com/alabama_west
Will someone do an update of Phil Och’s song?