FM Weekly 3.20
8 May 2022
when I say I am pro-abortion, I mean I celebrate abortions as I celebrate births — fiercely, unabashedly, jubilantly. - Shivani Bhatia, the copper apothecary
pro-life is a lie!… we will have abortions forever! I will give abortions forever! - Dr. Mary Bowman, Chicago for Abortion Rights Rally May 7th, 2022 (link to full speech below)
This past week was my tenth year celebrating International Day of the Midwife (happy happy belated to all the midwives reading!!!), and National Nurses Week started on the same day (happy nurse’s week to all the nurses reading!!!). These celebrations are bittersweet, for a few reasons, including my own grief around not being in practice at such a crucial time in healthcare. Specifically this time in full scope, comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare. Just days prior to IDM the leaked draft SCOTUS opinion hit the news waves, and the workload in the advocacy world skyrocketed. Many of us had been preparing for June, knowing what was likely to come, but didn’t have our capacity built up for an early announcement. Never fear, we are here, but folks are dipping in and out of the early discussions knowing we have so much work ahead of us before the final ruling comes.
I’ve started to create lists of Do’s and Don’t’s of abortion advocacy work, which I’m copying below, and I include some links to other folks doing the same. This FM Weekly is a focus on abortion information and care, with links and resources so your FYPs can be pro-abortion and pro-advocacy and pro-information (especially since there’s a lot of misinformation floating around). This is intentional: we need as many people on the same page as possible, because the clinical and advocacy conversations are ten paces ahead of the foundational questions like “What is self-managed abortion?” and “Where should I donate?” and “What’s the difference between medication and procedural abortion?” These are great questions, and you can find the answers below or within the links I’m sharing here, but please know we need everyone to catch up because things are about to get very hard for very many.
I hope that these excerpts, these podcasts, these twitter feeds, these stories move you. Anger you. Inspire you. Change you. No action is too small, no share goes unseen. Even if your first step is to boldly share pro-abortion language on your own pages for the first time, or add a few more folks to follow on Twitter or IG, or share a fundraiser through your community or professional listservs, it’s a start. Join us. There’s so much more to say but I’m at my email length limit. More next week.
And from the Midwest Access Project’s recent newsletter, take note:
First and foremost, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. Abortion is legal. We know this is just a draft opinion – the Supreme Court has not yet made a ruling. Abortion clinics and funds are open and ready to support patients in every state. To find a clinic in the US, go to www.ineedana.com. If you need help funding an abortion, go to www.abortionfunds.org.
This week’s listen(s): Featuring abortion providers Dr. Bhavik Kumar and Dr. Sarah Traxler
Podcast - Boom! Lawyered: We Are In The Bad Place
There’s no sugarcoating it, folks: We’re in the bad place.
In this emergency episode of Boom! Lawyered, co-hosts Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy bring you everything you need to know after Politico published a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that fully reverses Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. After the recording of this episode, Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement that verified the authenticity of the opinion.
It’s full chaos, and there’s no one like Jess and Imani to help you understand what it all means and where we go from here.
White feminism (or rather, white feminists: do the work):
Adaku Utah Believes Abortion Care Goes Beyond Legality by Wren Sanders for them.
“…As the Organizing Director at the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), Utah’s circle of concern has expanded considerably, though their belief in the power of collective action remains consistent. In this role, Utah’s work is to help deepen the mission of the NNAF’s roughly 90 member organizations, extending their political reach from offering practical aid toward movement building.
“We know that direct service is crucial, but direct service alone won’t eliminate the systemic forces of violence that make abortion access so inaccessible,” Utah says. “We have expanded our strategy to include building power so that we can center the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and folks of color in this work — not just as recipients of services, but as leaders transforming the abortion landscape.”
When we speak over Zoom, Utah exudes none of the despair one might expect of someone whose job is poised to grow increasingly difficult in the coming weeks, months, even years. “I feel a lot of clarity,” they tell me. “This is ancient work that our people have done outside of the state and will continue to do, I think, forever.”
For Utah, the prospect of a post-Roe world is not daunting; folks in the realm of reproductive justice have been preparing for this reality for years. Rather, this feels like a moment to “keep reminding people that we’re here,” Utah says. “That even though institutions fail us, we are the ones that keep each other safe.”…”
Queer vibrance: Dr. Mary K. Bowman, DNP, APN, RN
(on a personal note, Mary is a dear, beloved friend of mine. I’m so fucking proud that they take a mic and scream radical, rational thought in the Chicago streets, and turn around and write book chapters and provide abortions all day. follow them. hear their words. say them out loud to yourself and others. i. believe. that. we. will. win.)
Midwifery / sexual and reproductive health / birth work:
These Laws Are Making Miscarriage More Traumatic in America by Jessica Grose for NPR
“…“Make no mistake, these laws have a chilling effect on the ability to practice safe obstetrics,” said Dr. Courtney A. Schreiber, the chief of the division of family planning in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “These laws put physicians in an impossible position of having to balance regulations that don’t take into account the complexity of pregnancy and an actual person’s urgent need to sustain their health,” she told me. When these laws must be applied “in real life to real doctors taking care of real women, the language doesn’t translate, the sentiment doesn’t translate. The level of confusion and fear is intense for physicians practicing obstetrics in states with these restrictions,” she added.
As The Associated Press’s Lindsay Tanner noted, medical students are already being affected by anti-abortion legislation. Abortion training is not available at medical schools in Oklahoma, and “bills or laws seeking to limit abortion education have been proposed or enacted in at least eight states,” Tanner reports. Since the surgical procedure that’s performed to end a missed miscarriage is the same as the one that’s performed in an abortion, fewer doctors trained to do this procedure, known colloquially as a D. and C., will mean fewer options for miscarrying women.
The Texas law and laws like it set up a situation where “anybody who experiences a pregnancy loss that they can’t explain to the satisfaction of law enforcement becomes suspicious,” Farah Diaz-Tello, senior counsel and legal director at If/When/How, a legal organization that works for reproductive justice, told me.
“This is a lawyerly point, but the idea that if it is a crime to have done something to have ended that pregnancy, that becomes a jury question. You have to put a person through a trial to determine whether a loss was ‘innocent,’” she added…”
What I’m into right now & Flipping the script: Funding abortion changes the narrative. So if you can, donate. If you can’t, you know people who can. If you don’t know people who can, you know people who know people, so no excuses. After you’ve donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds or to your own local abortion fund, here are two specific clinics to donate to, both of which include providers and advocates who are known personally to me and are good friends (Leah & Robin, Morgan & Diane):
Dr. Leah Torres is an OB/Gyn fellowship-trained in family planning and abortion provider, and Robin Marty is the author of “Handbook for a Post-Roe America “ and “End of Roe v Wade,” Operations Director of West Alabama Women’s Center. They are raising money to STAY OPEN in Alabama. FUND THEM NOW.
Partners in Abortion Care (Maryland)
We are an OB/GYN and a certified nurse-midwife with more than two decades of abortion care experience between us. We have dedicated our careers to ensuring people in need have access to the best care possible. We are excited and ready to open the only women-owned and operated, all-trimester abortion clinic in the United States.
We are seeking startup funding from you, our community, to open quickly and respond to the urgent need that’s coming. We could spend months or years raising money from foundations, but our patients don’t have the luxury of time.
Startup funding will go toward the build-out of a space we’ve leased. It will fund critical supplies and equipment to provide the care our patients deserve. And it will allow us to hire the staff that will complete our wonderful team.
Partners in Abortion Care is a community project and we are calling on our community to help us move forward toward an opening this Fall.
We need clinics in friendly places that can both serve their communities and be a safe harbor for abortion seekers who need to travel from hostile states across the country.
We need independent clinics that are:
- Near major transportation hubs
- Ready to work closely with abortion funds and practical support organizations
- Willing and able to provide safe, patient-centered abortion care to everyone who needs it
And that’s why we’re opening a new clinic in Maryland, one of the southernmost states where abortion access will be protected. This means we’ll be able to serve patients from the Southeast, where care will largely be unavailable. Existing clinics in the mid-Atlantic region already have a five-week waiting period, and demand is growing.
Stephanie (Feminist Midwife)