Rows of gold post office boxes with one open mail box.

Plan to See ‘Plan C’ This Year

By Joelle Boxer

Tracy Droz Tragos’ new documentary, “Plan C,” follows the work of a grassroots organization dedicated to improving access to the abortion pill by mail in the U.S., while navigating an increasingly restrictive legal landscape.

There is no better time to hear the perspectives of these patients, providers, and activists. Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court took on a case to determine the legal status of the pill, also called mifepristone. With a decision expected in June 2024, Tragos’ film shows us what’s at stake.

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FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA, USA - NOVEMBER 4, 2008: Women voters at polls during presidential election, paper ballots.

Taking Abortion to the Polls: What To Expect in Ohio

By Joelle Boxer

Dobbs “return[ed]” the authority to regulate abortion to “the people and their elected representatives.” The people of Ohio will act on that authority on November 7, demonstrating yet again the emerging role of referenda in American abortion law.

The referendum will determine if “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment,” or Issue 1, is added to the Ohio Constitution. It reads as follows: “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”

The amendment would establish a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability (around 22-24 weeks gestation), and would include exceptions for later term abortions in instances where it is necessary to protect the pregnant person’s life or health.

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State of California flag on a flagpole.

California’s Reproductive Freedom Efforts Should Meaningfully Include People With Disabilities

By Joelle Boxer

Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of nine reproductive health care bills, following the passage of fifteen such bills in 2022. While the state should be lauded for its efforts, it has come up short. Recent legislation largely excludes up to 25% of the adult population: Californians with disabilities.

People with disabilities in the U.S. experience wide disparities in accessing reproductive health care, rooted in a long history of oppressive reproductive control. California should take action now to address these disparities and fulfil its goal of becoming a “reproductive freedom state” for all.

This article will examine recent movement on reproductive health care legislation in California, explain its failure to meet the needs of Californians with disabilities, and suggest a path forward in line with principles of disability reproductive justice.

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Puebla, Mexico - September 28, 2020: With green scarves, members of feminist collectives demonstrate in the streets of the Historic Center of Puebla to demand the legalization of abortion.

Sex Equality in #SeptiembreVerde: Examining the Mexican Supreme Court’s Abortion Decriminalization Decision

By Joelle Boxer

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a ruling decriminalizing abortion nationwide, setting a powerful example in the global trend of abortion law liberalization, including on the grounds of sex equality.

Hailed as “incredible” by reproductive justice advocates, the decision will be most impactful in the 20 Mexican states where local laws still criminalize abortion, potentially removing access barriers for more than 42 million women.

This article will explain the origins of the case, what the decision holds, and what it says about sex equality.

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Medical Caduceus Symbol as Scales with backlight over Wall in dark room.

Gender-Affirming Care, Abortion, and the Politics of Science: A Response to Wuest’s ‘Born this Way’

By Aziza Ahmed

On August 21, 2023, the 11th Circuit issued a decision that allowed a ban on transgender care to go into effect in Alabama. The Alabama ban, formally called the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, is one of the most extreme of the many bans on gender affirming care. The law defines sex as the “biological state of being female or male, based on sex organs, chromosomes and endogenous hormone profiles…genetically encoded into a person at the moment of conception…” and targets physicians who might undermine this notion of sex with criminal prosecution. Their punishment could be up to ten years in prison.

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Washington, DC, USA - December 1, 2021: Abortion rights rally at the Supreme Court, Jackson Women's Health v. Dobbs.

Biological Determinism, Scientific Uncertainty, and Reproductive Rights

By Mary Ziegler

As Joanna Wuest writes, the role played by science in the LGBTQ+ movement “is at once a celebratory and cautionary story.” Something similar could be said of struggles over reproductive rights in the half century since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.

Today, after decades of staying on the sidelines, physicians have once again been at the forefront of struggles over abortion, launching a ballot initiative in Ohio, bringing lawsuits, and speaking against state criminal bans. Physicians’ investment in the struggle — and the scientific arguments they bring to bear — seem like a possible turning point in future struggles over reproductive rights and justice. After all, medical professionals have both special expertise and political capital that could make a difference at a time when disapproval of abortion bans is already high.

But history suggests that arguments based on science have played a far messier role in struggles over reproductive rights. As often as scientific evidence has advanced reproductive rights, abortion foes have used claims about scientific uncertainty to justify new restrictions — and have harnessed claims of biological difference to assert that there is no connection between sex equality and abortion.

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Austin, TX, USA - Oct. 2, 2021: Participants at the Women's March rally at the Capitol protest SB 8, Texas' abortion law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Why Must Abortion Providers Needlessly Travel to Texas?

By Carmel Shachar

This year, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) — the organization that runs the exam doctors must take to become certified in obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) — is requiring all candidates to attend in-person examinations in Dallas, Texas. By doing so, ABOG is failing its duties to its membership by asking the practitioners who are most likely to provide abortion services to travel to a state with a legal regimen that is particularly hostile to them.

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Washington, DC, USA - December 1, 2021: Abortion rights rally at the Supreme Court, Jackson Women's Health v. Dobbs.

Assisted Reproduction in a Post-Dobbs US

By Chloe Reichel and Seema Mohapatra

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) face an uncertain future as anti-abortion policymakers and advocates work to restrict access to reproductive care post-Dobbs.

Until last summer, modern ART had been performed in the United States with the Constitutional protection for abortion care in the background. After Dobbs, fertility doctors and patients have begun to realize that strict abortion laws and policies affect not only those who do not wish to continue a pregnancy, but also people who very much desire to have a child.

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