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Prolonged Eye Contact

Glad to see some reporting on the fact that legislators spent International Women’s Day holding a hearing on CIANA

As always, this legislation affects all pregnant people, not just cis women.

An excerpt from Huffington Post:

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on Thursday to discuss the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), which is sponsored by two Florida Republicans, Marco Rubio in the Senate and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the House. The bill would make it illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion — even if her parents are absent or abusive.

Perhaps more significantly, the bill is the latest in a long series of attempts by Republican lawmakers to criminalize physicians who perform abortions, to chip away at women’s constitutionally protected right to decide when and if they will have a child and to otherwise politicize women’s health.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), a member of both the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus and the subcommittee that heard the bill Thursday morning, said he would like to send a message to his male Republican colleagues that continue to legislate issues like abortion and birth control: Stay out of issues you don’t fully understand.

"As a father, I’ll be honest — my daughter’s not going to come to me with questions about why you would use the pill for medical reasons. She’d talk to my wife," he told HuffPost. "My question is, how the hell will [men in Congress] know of all the intricacies of such a personal decision, an aspect of health care that’s so complicated? The absurdity of men in D.C. involving themselves with such a complicated, critical, emotional, basic right is what’s mind boggling to me."

An excerpt from Mother Jones:

The bill requires a minor’s parent or guardian to be notified in writing and a 24-hour waiting period after that notification before the young woman can obtain the abortion.

Doctors or anyone who assists the minor without first informing her parents may be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to a year for violating this law. Thirty-seven states currently require parental involvement of some type, if a minor seeks an abortion, the law is meant to prevent anyone from traveling to another state to avoid those laws. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) introduced the Senate version of the bill last June as well, declaring that it was an effort to ensure state parental laws are not “undermined and circumvented.”

While the sponsors insist that the law would not apply in cases of “medical emergency, abuse or neglect,” it would put the burden on the young woman to prove that she is, in fact, a victim of one of those circumstances. The Center for Reproductive Rights contends that the law would subject the young women, their doctors, and anyone who might help them to a “confusing maze of overlapping and conflicting state and federal laws—making it more difficult and more dangerous for young women to obtain abortions.”

The bill, CRR maintains, “fails to consider the reasons why a teen would turn to another adult like her grandmother or aunt for support, and could force young women to instead rely on an abusive caretaker, choose to travel alone or turn to unsafe alternatives to terminating her pregnancy.”

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the post I made about CIANA with links to the testimony of the witnesses and resources on why these parental laws are so dangerous for young people.


[TW illegal abortion methods. Emphasis mine.]

"Most commonly, they ingest a whole bottle of quinine pills, with castor oil…we try to get them to the ER before their cardiac rhythm is interrupted…Sometimes they douche with very caustic products like bleach. We had a patient, a teen, who burned herself so badly with bleach that we couldn’t even examine her, her vaginal tissue was so painful…."

"Our local hospital tells me they see 12 - 20 patients per year, who have already self-induced or had illegal abortions. Some make it, some don’t. They are underage or poor women mostly, and a few daughters of pro-life families…"

If you assume the quotes above come from a veteran of the abortion rights movement, talking about the “bad old days” before Roe v. Wade, when desperate women suffered death and injuries because abortion was illegal, you’d be partly right. The speaker is a longtime worker in reproductive health, whose involvement with abortion started before Roe. But the situations she describes are occurring now.

Jen (not her real name) is administrator of a women’s health clinic in the South that provides abortions. She has noted with alarm the recent rise in illegal abortion in her community. For some of the women she sees - after their initial attempts at abortion fail - whether Roe v. Wade is technically still the law of the land is beside the point. The combination of the procedure’s cost, the numerous regulations that her state imposes and the stigma surrounding abortion is leading a growing number of women to choose self-abortion or an untrained practitioner over legal abortion. Finding accurate data about the number of cases is almost impossible. However, Jen’s abortion-providing colleagues in other parts of the country, who communicate their experiences through a listserv, share her observation of a recent perceptible rise in illegal abortion in their clinics as well.

Indeed, in another eerie echo from the pre-Roe era, the increase in illegal abortion in Jen’s area is so significant that a doctor from the hospital mentioned above contacted her. He asked for her help in setting up a special ward for the treatment of illegal abortions when Roe is overturned, because he knows the caseload will mushroom then. “He didn’t say ‘if’ - he said ‘when,’” Jen said. “Chills ran down my spine.”

Why is all this happening when abortion is still legal? Though the cost of abortion has remained remarkably flat since Roe - the cost of a first-trimester abortion at Jen’s clinic is $380, actually less than it was 20 years ago, adjusting for inflation - it’s still too much for a woman who, as she puts it, “is on assistance, has two or three kids already and has no money whatsoever.” Teenagers in the state where Jen works also need parental consent before they can have an abortion. And for many teens and adult women alike, the overwhelming culture of shame that hovers around abortion prevents many from going to a clinic.

"Reproductive Regression," Carole Joffe, 23 January 2006,