Clarifying Misinformation Behind Abortion Bans

Photograph by Jules Wolfers

Photograph by Jules Wolfers

Editor’s Note: Jules submitted this reference list as well as a clarification on the impact of these abortion bills being passed throughout the nation to The Deaf Report to help the community better understand what is really happening.

Written by Jules Wolfers

You can call me Wolfers. I am Deaf, and I want to make sure that you understand I speak for myself. I have been involved with reproductive justice for a long while in many ways, working with with Kentucky Health Justice Network (KHJN) and the local clinic escorts. Kentucky Health Justice Network provides assistance with vouchers for abortion funds for people who may not afford the cost of abortion determined at weeks of pregnancy; transportation, gas cards, and hotel costs for people across Kentucky. KHJN also helps cover the cost of interpreting services for non-speaking Deaf people seeking an abortion.

Keep in mind that Kentucky has only one clinic providing abortion services (pill and surgical) for the whole state, so that creates barriers for people who do not live in Louisville. That contributes to stress for people who struggle with poverty, non-transportation, taking a day or two off from employment, that is if they have employment in the first place, as well as finding childcare for their children.

That is where KHJN comes in to help people, breaking down those barriers as possible. To add to that, patients then face hostile anti-abortion people at the clinic, from parking at a meter to the entrance of the clinic doors. This clinic does not have private property so that means the client has to walk to the clinic from as far as a block away, facing the gauntlet of screaming anti-abortion people. That can add unnecessary trauma to the patients.  So that is where the clinic escorts come in, offering their aid walking with them to the clinic, going around the barriers of the body-sized signs and bodies utilized to block the path to the clinic.

Before I explain about abortion laws recently passed in those states (Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi), I want to call attention to this: abortion is STILL legal in all 50 states. There is a myth that all abortion bans were bans, which is not true. Some states ban abortion after 6 weeks (Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio), while Alabama has a total abortion ban but for one exception: danger to the pregnant person’s health. Rape and incest are not exceptions for Alabama. Abortion bans are unconstitutional as they violate the viability part of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case (argued in the United States’ Supreme Court) and create a clear undue burden, which violates Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Now pay attention to what I am about to tell you, as most people miss this in media.

There is an assumption that the abortion bans start immediately, which is NOT true. For instance, Alabama’s ban will not take effect for another six months while Ohio’s and Mississippi’s laws will not take effect until July 1 and July 10 this year (respectively). After one of Kentucky’s bans was struck down recently, their three bans are on injunction; ACLU is fighting the state on those unconstitutional laws. In all the states listed in this article, those laws are being fought in court while clinics are still open. Abortion is still legal in those states, so people can get the procedure today, next week, in two months, and until then. When you remove all abortions from the south, the barriers only increase from there.

I want to make it clear that abortion bans will not stop abortions. What it stops is safe abortions with trained doctors. Taking that right away will NOT stop people from seeking the termination of pregnancies in any way they could find, as it was before Roe v. Wade. People always have and always will have abortions, whether it is legal or not, and we need to focus on supporting people in the access to SAFE abortions, sometimes with pills at home.

Abortion is still legal in all 50 states. Due to confusion by media, people think you cannot get an abortion in those states as listed and that is not true. You can STILL get an abortion—and there are groups in each state helping people acquire what they decide is right for themselves through transportation, emotional support, escorting, and empathy.  If you want to know how to help....

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References (click on the hyperlinks)

National Network of Abortion Funds

Information About Abortion Pills

Handbook for a Post-Roe America

Abortion Bans: How State Laws Have Limited The Procedure This Year

Kentucky Health Justice Network

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