Reproductive Rights Updates: Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, & National

Hello all! I'd like to start off apologizing for my absence lately. Offline life has been in upheaval for months and has only really just now settled down. So, if you were glad I was gone: too bad for you now! Muwahahaha!

In Iowa, a judge recently temporarily halted the Board of Medicine's ban on people being able to use teleconferencing for medication abortion services (which, as you can imagine, mostly serves rural citizens).
Polk County District Judge Karen Romano ordered a temporary stay on a rule passed by the Iowa Board of Medicine, which effectively would ban use of the first-in-the-nation video-conferencing system. The medical board said its rule was based on concern for patient safety. But Planned Parenthood supporters said the rule was a political attempt to limit rural women’s access to legal abortions.


Romano wrote that medical board members “have not supplied the court with any evidence whatsoever that telemedicine abortions are unsafe or negatively impact patient health.”

The judge expressed sympathy for Planned Parenthood’s argument that the medical board’s rule singled out the private agency’s video system, which has similarities to other health care providers’ systems.

“With respect to the lack of an in-person meeting, it is peculiar, as petitioners point out, that the board would mandate this for abortion services and not any other telemedicine practices in Iowa,” Romano wrote. “There is simply no evidence the court can rely on to come to the conclusion that the telemedicine abortion procedures, which have been offered for five years without issue, do not ‘protect the health and safety of patients.’ ”
The Board of Health is insistent that they are so, so right (they are not so, so right) and the fight will continue in court. The Des Moines Register editorial board strongly believes in the judge's ruling and wrote a kickass editorial yesterday.


In Missouri, a federal grand jury has indicted Jedediah Stout with regards to attempting to torch Planned Parenthood clinics early in October.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment Wednesday against Jedediah Stout in connection with arson attempts at the Planned Parenthood center in Joplin on Oct. 3 and 4.

Stout, 29, of Joplin, had been charged with the failed attempts to torch the Planned Parenthood building at 701 S. Illinois Ave. in a complaint filed Oct. 21 in U.S. District Court in Springfield. The indictment handed up Wednesday replaces that initial complaint.


Court filings have indicated the existence of some physical evidence allegedly linking Stout to the Planned Parenthood attempts.

When police stopped him a few blocks away after the second attempt at the Planned Parenthood center, he reportedly had a lighter in his possession, and an officer reported that one of his hands smelled of fuel.

Investigators said they have tied Stout to the purchase of a backpack and other components of the device that was used in the first of the Planned Parenthood arson attempts through manufacturing tags, uniform price codes and surveillance footage at a Wal-Mart store in Joplin.

They also allegedly found his fingerprint on a bottle containing accelerants that failed to ignite in the Oct. 3 attempt at Planned Parenthood.
He is still being held without bond.

This is another reminder of what people who work--and volunteer--to provide reproductive health care must face when it comes to their workplace.


For some reason I'm getting a lot of emails about articles being written praising the efforts of anti-choice citizens in New Mexico working to get a 20-week abortion ban on the Nov 19th ballot. The ban would only affect the city of Albuquerque (granted, it's a big city). Besides being reprehensible, this ban is unconstitutional.
A proposed ban of abortions past twenty-weeks would not be legally enforceable according to Attorney General Gary King.

The question will go to Albuquerque voters on November 19 and was brought up by ballot initiative after anti-abortion activists collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot.

“It is important that voters know that federal and New Mexico constitutional limitations make a ban on any otherwise legal abortion unenforceable,” says Attorney General Gary King. “Additionally, recent federal court actions have struck down ordinances identical or similar to the proposed measure in Albuquerque.”
Despite all this, anti-choicers are convinced that it'll hold up if it passes a vote. Reality: not living in it. For the citizens of ABQ and New Mexico, if it passes, it will be a blockade to health care until it gets an injunction and eventually struck down (taxpayer court costs! I'm sure the state doesn't need the money for anything else!).


Speaking of reprehensible 20-weeks bans, the news from Washington is that Lindsay Graham has decided to take up the mantel of Ginormous Anti-Autonomy Asshole Senator and lead the way with intro'ing this legislation on a national level.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday introduced legislation that would ban abortions nationwide for women more than 20 weeks pregnant, the senator's office announced.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act draws on scientific evidence that says an unborn child can feel pain, according to Graham's office. The legislation would make it illegal for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion after 20 weeks, or six months, of pregnancy and would mandate a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child prior to any abortion operation.

The legislation would make exceptions only in the case that an abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor.
This is constantly being pushed by Rep. Trent Franks and is boilerplate legislation written by Americans United For Life (which they refer to as "a winning strategy"). "Pain Capable Abortion Act", "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act", "Pre-Born Pain Bill"--all titles of the same legislation intro'd in various states and DC over the past couple years. Besides being a gross violation of autonomy, the "science" behind this legislation has been debunked.

Not all republican senators seem to be on board with this and democratic senators have pretty much guaranteed that it'll go nowhere. So this is more using people's health and safety for political grandstanding bullshit to try and garner votes among those who could equally give a shit about the health, autonomy, and lives of the people affected by such legislation.


And speaking of reprehensible bullshit, Senator David Vitter wants to tack on anti-choice legislation to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (more info on ENDA). What is Vitter calling this? PRENDA: Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act. Yes, you read that right.

"PRENDA" is about banning "selective sex abortions", in part because Vitter is convinced immigrants are having abortions due to having female-sex identified fetuses. Yes, you read that right too.

It is unlikely that this will pass and is highly likely that it, too, is all posturing political bullshit to garner votes among anti-choice people.

Historical side note: when Trent Franks into'd this sort of legislation in 2011, he called it the "Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011". Yep.

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