. Group of pregnant women and women with children. Vector illustration

#MaternalHealthAwarenessDay: Three Policies to Push

By Joelle Boxer

Today is Maternal Health Awareness Day, focused on the theme “Access in Crisis.”

“Crisis” is the right word, yet still an understatement. In the U.S., for every 100,000 live births in 2021, nearly 33 pregnant people lost their lives. In Norway, that number was 2. Black and Native American women in the U.S. are particularly at risk, with death rates 2-3 times higher than those of white women, due to structural racism.

What can the law do to prevent these deaths? Medicaid pays for more than 40% of births in the U.S., covering 64% of Black mothers and 66% of Native American mothers. Examining efforts at the federal and state level, I highlight three options, leveraging Medicaid as a policy lever.

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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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Health insurance application form with money, calculator, and stethoscope.

Going Public – The Future of ART Access Post-Dobbs

By Katherine Kraschel

The loss in Dobbs and the bleak outlook for abortion rights within the federal courts may afford advocates a unique opportunity to fully adopt a reproductive justice framework and apply it to access to fertility care, as other contributors to this symposium have argued.

This article outlines specific strategies for blue states eager to stake a claim in the reproductive justice movement to consider.

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Vintage history book and magnifying glass on wooden background.

The New Search for Reproductive Justice in Old Laws

By Katie Gu

In the post-Dobbs fight to safeguard reproductive healthcare, a new spotlight has been placed on two existing federal laws: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). 

Guidance documents issued over the summer by federal agencies emphasize how these laws can be used to protect reproductive health privacy and access.

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American Constitution - We the people with US Flag and gavel.

Abortion Bans Threatening Pregnant Patients’ Lives Are Unconstitutional

By James G. Hodge, Jr., Jennifer Piatt, Erica N. White, Summer Ghaith, Madisyn Puchebner, and C. McKenna Sauer

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the constitutional right to abortion, laws went into effect in multiple states that restrict when abortions may be provided, including during potentially life-threatening emergencies.

To the extent highly restrictive, amorphous, and indeterminate abortion bans contravene physician implementation of life-saving interventions for pregnant patients — and thus infringe upon the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of the right to life — they are unconstitutional.

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Washington, DC, USA, May 5, 2022: people protest the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion

Stemming Supreme Court Rights Reversals

By James G. Hodge, Jr.

Based on the May 2022 leak of an initial draft, most believe the Supreme Court will carry through some rescission of abortion rights later this month through its final opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Already, concerns have arisen over other freedoms the Court may seriously reconsider down the road, including rights to gay marriage, intimacy, contraception, and informational privacy.

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