Air Date 5/14/2022
[00:00:00] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast in which we shall take a look at the options and actions still available after the Supreme Court overturns Roe for those seeking abortions, and reproductive justice more widely. Plus, we give an obligatory explanation of how we got to now.
Clips today are from Amicus, This Is Hell, The Rachel Maddow Show, Amanpour, Serious Inquiries Only, Start Making Sense, Red Flag Radio, and the Thom Hartmann Program, with additional members-only clips from Short Wave and Serious Inquiries Only.
Learning from Pre-Roe to Navigate Post-Roe - Amicus With Dahlia Lithwick - Air Date 5-5-22
[00:00:38] JESSICA BRUDER: It came up, even in the... the preview for "Slow Burn;" that, "We won’t go back! We won’t go back!"
One thing that came up in my reporting is, there are some ways in which we actually can’t go back. And part of that is because science has advanced.
And the most important thing I should tell you about that is, we’ve got abortion pills. And a lot of people in the U.S. actually don’t know what they are, which is amazing, considering that in 2020, 54% of abortions on record were accomplished with abortion pills.
Meanwhile, we’re at a point where, still, 90% of abortions in the U.S. are in the first trimester. That’s when these pills are used, and they are becoming increasingly popular. Also, they allow people to have an abortion in the privacy of their own home.
And so I’d love to introduce you to them:
This is Mifepristone. Mifepristone is known also as RU486. It’s the French abortion pill.
This little hexagonal creature is Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec. It was originally created to help people with stomach ulcers.
So, when we talk about abortion pills, most people are actually talking about those two different pharmaceuticals. The way they work is Mifepristone is, essentially, a progesterone blocker, that’s one of the hormones needed to maintain a pregnancy; and Misoprostol induces cramps. The backstory there is that it was introduced in Brazil in the eighties, and the women there were very creative, and saw on the label that people were not to take it if they were pregnant, because it could induce cramps. Lo and behold, some people did not want to be pregnant, and discovered that it was a potent abortifacient.
So, today, the combination of pills is FDA approved for ending pregnancies up to ten weeks. And the World Health Organization, meanwhile, is a little less conservative; they have protocols for using them up to 12 weeks and even after that.
So how do people get the pills? What do they do with them?
Before the pandemic, there was a rule, federally, that for Mifepristone, one had to actually go to the doctor, and take it in front of the doctor, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because when you take it, nothing happens. It’s not like you grow a third head. It’s not like you have an abortion on the spot. It’s a slow process, so people had to go and take it, and then they were given the rest of the pills to take home.
That restriction was lifted during the pandemic. It was briefly reinstated, but now it’s gone for good. This led to a flowering of telemedicine startups, all offering the pill, many of them with video consultations. So now, depending on where you are, there’s a great website called plancpills.org and you can put in your state-- since we know this is all going state by state, and that that’s even been happening before Roe-- and figure out how to get them.
For the Atlantic Story, I ordered them from "Aid Access," which is a group based in Europe. They actually send them to people in all 50 states, even in states where they’re already restricted, because they are out of our jurisdiction. And they also supply them for what’s known as "advanced provision." Some of our viewers may have read earlier today that people are stocking up on pills while they can, just out of concern. And to the best of my knowledge, I think other people are trying to start offering them for advance provision. "Aid Access" will actually offer them to people as kind of a break-under-glass sort of thing.
So that’s what’s going on with that. But even before this decision comes down, medication abortion has really become one of the hottest fronts in the fight over control over women’s bodies. We know that in the first three months of this year, more than 100 restrictions were passed on medication in the states.
That’s part of a much larger picture, where more than 1300 state restrictions have been passed on abortion since Roe versus Wade. It’s, kind of, death by a thousand cuts, in that many places-- I spoke with activists, and they said, like, "Look, Roe might as well not be the law of the land here already because the issue is access." So, for example, you tell me, "Jess, you can go to the moon!" Great! I’m so pleased that I have the freedom to go to the moon! But if you’re not getting me a ticket, I am staying in my seat. Right?
So it’s the same thing. We have, for that reason, a very strong grassroots of abortion funds. There are more than 90 of them in the U.S. and they do the roll up your sleeves work of helping raise money for people who can’t afford pills or procedures.
We know that since 1976, the Federal Hyde Amendment has made abortion funding ineligible for... you can’t get it through federal Medicaid, basically, it’s not supported. So abortion funds are amazing. I know everybody saying "Donate to Planned Parenthood," but abortion funds are kind of the unsung heroes that are also always short on resources.
So, we have the grassroots, the people who have, kind of, grown up in the cracks, because Roe has been gutted so badly already by all of these restrictions. And then we have The Underground. The Underground is people, basically, doing a lot of different things extra-legally, is what we’re talking about. Whether that’s the activists I spoke with who mailed pills to a 13 year old who was pregnant, and did not want to be, in Texas, on the eve of the ban; women in Mexico offering to bring the pills over, misoprostol is available over the counter there, and Cytotec.
So people bring it in. Again, it’s going to be a patchwork, like it is now, and people who can afford to will be going to other states. I spoke to somebody who was bullet-proofing vans to bring them to the borders of hospitals state.
So we can get into the diaspora there. But... but I should probably stop. And, yeah. End rant.
[00:06:06] DAHLIA LITHWICK - HOST, AMICUS WITH DAHLIA LITHWICK: It’s really useful to hear what you’re saying, Jess, because one of the most enduring lessons I had this year came on my podcast when Professor Kathryn Francie reminded me that the day after Roe, Roe was not the law of the land; that since there’s been a Hyde Amendment; that since there has been huge, huge amounts of restriction that have burgeoned in recent years; the fact is that Roe was a paper right for an awful lot of people, particularly the folks that you’re describing, in this, sort of, desert area of the country, where it has been actually not a real right, or a meaningful right, or an achievable right, for a long time.
Jess, can you talk for a minute, if you would, about-- I’m sure you’re getting a million fold the questions that the rest of us are getting-- about what’s the best thing to do? Who do I support? Who do I help? What am I meant to do? And my snippy answer tends to be, "Invent a time machine! Go back three years! Care about the composition of the Supreme Court." But that’s not super helpful to our viewers and listeners.
What are you telling folks who really, really feel as though they’re looking at a juggernaut here? And if what you were saying, and Melissa is saying, it’s going to get exponentially worse, what are you telling folks to do?
[00:07:25] JESSICA BRUDER: Yeah, well, I do think, actually, your time machine thing isn’t that bad, because I do think we need to remind people to vote, and we do need to remind people that this is a long game. I think everybody’s adrenalized right now, and in, kind of, fight or flight mode. And people have seen this coming for a very long time. And again, Roe has essentially not been the law of the land for a lot of people in many areas of the country, and in many communities. Often the people who are most marginalized when it comes to getting medical care in general.
So looking at it, I did mention abortion once before, and I don’t want to just keep beating that horse, but it’s it’s so important. And if you look at the website for the National Network of Abortion Funds, they’re all over the place. And they’re local, and they’re grassroots, and they’re doing the work.
People also volunteers as clinic escorts to help patients get passed protesters. There are just all sorts of things.
And again, those funds are a great way to reach out. Repro justice organizations are always looking for volunteer help. There are tons of places where one could donate if one were so inclined.
There’s a really cool organization called "If, When, How," and they are all about, basically, protecting people who are involved with self-managed abortion. So they have a defense fund for that, they have a helpline for that, people can call them up.
So I would urge people to look past the headlines and the big names and look for the people who are in the trenches, and maybe less recognized that way. Because many communities have them, and they need support. According to the network, I believe, in 2019, they were only able to field 25% of the calls they got, because they’ve always been under resourced, and that was before this. So, I mean, basically, the house was on fire already. Gasoline has been poured on it. But there are things you can do to show up with a bucket, if you want.
Sebastian on the anti-abortion right in the United States - This is Hell! - Air Date 5-5-22
[00:09:16] SEBASTIAN - PRODUCER, THIS IS HELL!: So let me talk about abortion rights and the history of abortion rights in the United States.
In the early United States, as in most places in early modern times, the very definition of abortion was very different from what it is today. Human life was not thought to have begin at conception and a human fetus was not considered a human being. Life began in that conception back then with what was generally referred to as "the quickening," which is not a bad Highlander movie, but the moment from which on out movement in the fetus can be detected by the mother and/or by others.
If a pregnancy ended before that time, before a fetus quickened, usually no tears were shed, no garments rendered. And certainly nobody went to jail for murder and no remains were buried. As historian Lesley Regan put it, "Whether or not an abortion was lawful and morally rights went hand in hand with women's experiences of their own bodies. It was them, after all, who felt the baby quicken."
The criminalization of abortion did not happen out of ethical reasons. But, well, but: this is America, after all. So it was classism, profit-seeking and white supremacy that were the reasons that abortions were criminalized. Most of the people who performed, or rather induced, abortions in the early 18 hundreds -- so in the early days of the United States -- were herbalists and midwives, people generally outside of the emerging American medical profession, and also women, right? The American medical profession was mostly men. And so the earliest proponents of anti-abortion policies were doctors who sought to get rid of pesky competition in the 1820s. And they were later helped by western expansion boosters by the mid century when the drive to conquer the rest of the unsettled continent came into full swing. And so abortions, by that logic, had to become illegal so the white man could outbreed the rats, the red and the brown and the black.
So for those keeping score, abortions were outlawed for classist and profit-seeking reasons. And then basically just for white supremacy. In defense of Justice Alito's position, both of those issues, white supremacy and profit-seeking, are of course deeply rooted in American history and tradition, but none of those early anti-abortion movements had much to do with religious reasons or were directly concerned with the life of the child.
Later in the 19th century, most states banned abortion unless they were necessary for medical reasons. And in practice this translated into poor women either being jailed until a few decades later medical practitioners performing the abortions became the target of legal ire or poor women just died trying to have an abortion.
And meanwhile, wealthy women had neither of these issues because they or their husbands or baby daddies could afford better doctors and lawyers. But how bad was it really for the poor women? So in terms of statistics, by the early 20th century, about one out of every five women who died from child-related complications, died off results from botched abortions. About 2,700 in the year 1930, which is a year we actually have reliable numbers for, and by the early 1960s, this number rose to one out of four in white women. Among women of color and black women, meanwhile, every other death -- so every second death -- every one in two deaths from childbearing-related complications came from botched abortions. And, when calls rose for abortion legalization in the early 1970s, affluent white women had long established what amounts to a thriving abortion tourism industry from America to countries that had in the meantime loosen their abortion laws. Most of those voices calling for abortion legalization were medical practitioners who were on the front line of witnessing the scope of the damage on the nation's uteruses that illegal abortions had caused. And then Roe v Wade came along in 1973 ending almost a century of abortion restriction. But as this little exercise should demonstrate, abortion was not much of an religious issue ultimately, not at that point.
Anyway, it became one when it was a made one, when the American right realized they would lose public support if they kept on being openly, blatantly racist. And so they turned on abortion as a rallying cause. The case that galvanized the religious right was when the IRS tried to take Bob Jones University's tax exempt status away after the wing nut institute of higher education -- yeah, right -- maintained racially discriminatory practices, segregation, and a ban on interracial dating, which the university, by the way, kept until the year 2000. So on Bob Jones University, you could not date somebody who was not from your race until the year 2000.
So Bob Jones Jr., Jerry Falwell, Sr. and other ghouls got their well coiffed heads together and try to figure out how to maintain power in a world that broadly rejected their backwards ideas. And that's when they came up with the idea of championing anti-abortion instead of segregation. And the trick worked. Now, the religious right got their ducks in a row, all waving the banners of opposing abortion and getting outraged about that, even though only a few years earlier, as in the case of the Southern Baptist Convention, which in 1971, still rallied for illegal abortions, many of the abortion haters were, in fact, not bothered by the practice in the least. The people who were bothered by abortions for the longest time were Catholics actually. But Catholics for most of American history constituted mostly a minority. So they didn't matter that much. Granted that changed into the present, but that's a different story for a different time.
But anyway, so if you ask any good religious scholar though, about religious reasons to be opposed to abortion, they will tell you there's actually not much if anything in the Bible that forbids abortions. And on the contrary, that the Bible establishes the principle that the mother's life is always more important than the child's, as in if you have to decide whether the mother should die or the child, because of certain complications, then the mother should survive because while the mother can make more babies. And if the child is already endangered, chances are the child might die anyway. And then if both the mother and the child die, then, well, there's going to be fewer babies at the end of the day or the year or something.
So what does this mean? So mostly it means that the far right is whole shoot. Only I'm not saying shoot. You're smart, you know what I mean. It's one big hypocrisy. Justice Alito is simply lying when he's denying that abortion rights have no historical place in the United States. Sure, there's people who actually believe this nonsense, but underneath it all, there is no good argument.
Abortion is an issue that helps the religious right to maintain power. And that's it. It's not about life. It's not about God. It's not about religion. It's just about some people having the power to tell other people what to do with their bodies and what to do with their lives, and then getting real hissy when they're being told no.
So what can you do about all this nonsense, other than making no friends at the next family gathering reciting the things that I told you here? Well, how about donating a few bucks to your local abortion fund? Go to abortionfunds.org/funds to find a list of abortion funds listed by state.
Activists leap to action as expected Supreme Court attack on abortion rights comes to bear - The Rachel Maddow Show - Air Date 5-3-22
[00:17:27] ALI VELSHI: Let's talk about this believability gap because it's obvious and it's widespread. There are reasonable people who just have not been around long enough to understand what it was like for women who couldn't get abortions, who looked for alternatives in many cases, alternatives that were either unsafe or unaffordable.
And now that it is upon us, what does this clarion call say? What are people who are now coming to terms with the fact that this may be very real in a matter of months, Roe v Wade could be gone. Abortion protections could be gone. They could fall very quickly in 26 states and possibly more as time goes on. What does the clarion call say? What is one to do?
[00:18:06] AMY HAGSTROM MILLER: No, the courts have made it really clear. The Supreme Court has made it really clear. We can't rely on the courts to protect our constitutional rights. So the clarion call is we have to hold our elected officials accountable. We have to fight back and push back about the encroaching extremism from the GOP. The rise of authoritarianism. It's deeply connected with the fight around voting rights and democracy reform. Eight out of 10 Americans in this country support a constitutional right to abortion. Yet we have a court that is poised to overturn that right. We have a majority being ruled by a minority, a religious extremist minority.
So I think the wake up call is to fight back. And that we have to hold elected officials accountable up and down the ballot. That's Congress, that's state houses, that's governors, that's attorneys general. And we need in this midterm election for our base to be energized like they've never been before. And we're hoping this will be the opportunity to really raise that awareness.
[00:19:08] ALI VELSHI: In just a few moments, I'm going to speak with Pramila Jayapal who has tried to move this forward in Congress. And there's obviously been a lot of discussion about doing that.
In your opinion, what does codifying abortion rights look like? Is that something that is done at the federal level? Is it done at the state level? Is it both? What does success look like in codifying legal protection for abortion rights?
[00:19:32] AMY HAGSTROM MILLER: So Pramila Jayapal and Nancy Pelosi and the team in the House has already passed the Women's Health Protection Act. Chuck Schumer has tried. We had a unsuccessful effort. He's bringing it back next week, so we're really excited to support him there. But look, it's both. It's all of the above. It's state legislative efforts. It's efforts like governor Gavin Newsom. It's efforts like Gretchen Whitmer fighting back with litigation. It's ballot initiatives in places like Kansas and Michigan, as well as federal legislation. And there's also talk -- and I think there needs to be really, we need to be really big and bold in how we imagine the future of reproductive freedom in this country. We need to be thinking about constitutional amendments. We need to be thinking about the ERA. We need to be thinking about an equality amendment. All cards have to be on the table. We have to fundamentally re-imagine how we want to protect this right in the future.
But we have a lot of options, but it all comes down to the access to the ballot box and voting. So the fact that we have an extremist GOP that has really aggressively attacked our fundamental freedom to vote, is hand in glove with these attacks on abortion rights, the attacks on trans kids, the attacks on LGBTQ communities, it's all connected. And we really need to wake up as organizations across the progressive ecosystem -- and I know Pramila is really leading the charge here -- and understand how intertwined these fights are and how intertwined these attacks are.
Why this former anti-abortion activist regrets the movement he helped build - CNN Amanpour - Air Date 5-4-22
[00:20:58] FRANK SCHAEFFER: Billy Graham, the great evangelist was pro choice.
Most evangelicals don't know that he refused to participate with us in our seminars, even though he and my father were. He said, Fran, you know, you've made a mistake here. I think people, women ought to have a choice, Dr. Chris wall of the Southern Baptist convention, the president of the Southern Baptist convention.
And for Americans, they will understand that's the most conservative group of evangelicals in America. He was pro choice, even preached sermons on choice. We had to convince evangelicals, you know, I think a lot of commentators looking back think somehow this was always part of the evangelical movement.
It was. Abortion was legal in the United States up until, uh, the 19th century when, and, and into the early 20th century, when the American medical association tried to push women out of the midwife business, as it were, and take this over for professional gynecologists and so on, it had not been part of American history to be antiabortion.
It was a new phenomena that we had to talk evangelicals into, but once we talked them into it, the reason it became a thing is Republican leaders. Like our friend, John. Gerald Ford, the president, my parents were friends with his. They would stay in the white house. His son, Mike was living in my house. His wife, Gail was babysitting our daughter, Jessica, et cetera, et cetera.
We were very connected with the early stages of the religious, right? Once other evangelical leaders saw this as an easy fundraising tactic to keep people angry, babies are being murdered. We can raise money. And when people like Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan and other people, we knew really. The apathetic evangelical majority that didn't even care about voting.
Suddenly it could be energized because they had lost the fight on segregation and the segregationists like Jerry Falwell. Now we gave him something new. And, and so two big agendas happened, an anti-gay agenda and an anti-abortion agenda. And the antiabortion agenda became the litmus test, became the red meat.
That's why it caught on it caught on because of money fundraising by evangelical leaders. And it caught on because the Republican suddenly said, aha, this apathetic group that barely votes, and half of them vote for Democrats, we can energize them if we can create. Into a moral crusade. So it was a very convenient thing for Republican leader.
[00:23:12] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR - HOST, AMANPOUR: I think all these decades later, it is extraordinary to learn from you that it was not a political issue for the evangelicals. Pretty much. It was really the Catholics. Right. Who were mostly in the forefront of anarchy. Yeah.
[00:23:27] FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah. Not only was it not a political issue, you have to understand our big fight was with evangelicals, the editorial board of Christianity today magazine the bastion flagship flagship of evangelical Christianity.
They were pro-choice at the time they refuse to, to endorse our film, Billy Graham, Dr. Criswell on and on and on it changed when it became a matter of coming. But so what, what time and other right wing activists,
[00:23:54] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR - HOST, AMANPOUR: right? So what time period are we talking about? Because we know we just mentioned, and you did that C Everett Koop was president Reagan's surgeon general.
And that, that was at the same time, the rise of what's known as the moral majority with Jerry Falwell and others, what actually changed, how did it, you've talked about people realizing that it's a fundraising issue and they could fire up the base, so to speak. Uh, how, what was the process of making it into the issue that it is today?
[00:24:26] FRANK SCHAEFFER: We made a good film series. If you want to call it good. And the technical sense, it had a huge impact on people. And as the audience is beginning, And then we were getting picketed by people like the national, uh, narrow and other, uh, pro-choice organizations. And it started getting into the news. But what really changed was my father.
And I would go around talking to people like Jerry Falwell, pat Robertson, the televangelists, and convincing them that this was going to be a big thing, an issue. They had to be talked into it. And that's where my father really played an instrumental. On two fronts, one tens of thousands of evangelical Christians started watching these films in seminars and then in churches and in schools and in high schools and so forth.
And then the next thing that changed, we, we began to convince them through the films that were very effective as propagate. And then the next thing that happened is that leaders like Jerry Falwell, who had been a segregationist decided his next big issue is going to be to fight the gay rights movement and the pro-life movement.
He would adopt these things as kind of a Clarion call to his people. They were talked into this by. And before that they had not been in this camp
when it comes down to these moral issues of choosing. It all is a matter of trust. Who do we trust? Do we trust judges on the Supreme court or the federal bench put there by Donald Trump in a bargain with people like Ralph Reed and the other evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham, who said, look, here's our list from the Federalist society.
You appoint them and we'll bring you millions of voters and it worked, or do we trust women, but we have to trust someone someone's opinion. And me personally, if I've learned anything over the last 70 years, Uh, being a father and grandfather and someone who does child care for, for my own children and grandchildren.
It's this, if you don't trust women, why would you trust a gynecologist, a male white gynecologist. If you don't trust women to make choices, why would you trust a group of nine judges instead of the individual? In making the choice I trust women. Does that mean, I think women or men or nonbinary people, whomever always make the right choice.
No, but you've got to give someone the choice in these matters all matters were to educate a child who to marry pair, bonded, to be, to live a gay lifestyle, to be nonbinary. These are choices that belong to individuals. They do not belong to the state. So, and so when you see what's happening now, you, you understand that it's not going to end
[00:26:53] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR - HOST, AMANPOUR: there.
Well, that's what I was going to ask. Are you going to start taking choices? That's what I was going to finish up with because you know, you're, you're very passionate. Now you obviously regret deeply, you know how your talent. Got the U S to this point in terms of a culture war, but what do you think will happen next?
Because we spoke to the opposing view yesterday on this program, we gave her plenty of time to, to lay out her position. And she said, no, no, no. The fact that we don't want to bullshit doesn't mean that we're going to lobby to turn back, you know, gay marriage, interracial marriage, any of the other, you know, human rights issues that have been adjudicated by the Supreme court.
Do you believe.
[00:27:37] FRANK SCHAEFFER: Of course not look at Gorsuch. You look at these people who sat there and this in the Senate confirmation hearings and looked right into the eyes of the senators and said, we believe that this is a stated principle that will not be changed. They, they, they, they gave their word. They said that it would not change it.
These are people are our political ideas. And the same ideology that takes away the right to choose is going to take away the right to gay marriage. The same ideology that is now changing the law in state house after. In favor of Republican, not only gerrymandering, but the kind of thing that Donald Trump said, where he still claiming to be president somehow that the vote was stolen.
And now all of a sudden voting rights themselves are in question. If you had gone back 40 years ago and asked Gerald Ford or any of these people, are you ever going to be part of a demo of a Republican party? That's going to push against voter rights for African-Americans. They would've said that's never going to happen.
Lindsey Shares Her Abortion Story - Serious Inquiries Only - Air Date 5-5-22
[00:28:32] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Can I ask, were you in an area where this was, like, pretty easy to accomplish, or were you in an area... at the time, were you're living in an area where this was difficult, or...?
[00:28:40] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Uh, no, actually, here, this is where I'm living now, right? And, uh, it was... it was fairly easy to access an abortion pretty... pretty quickly. I had to jump through the hoops that you might imagine, you know, they have to do the two appointments, or whatever; but no, it was fine. My experience with it was... was pretty streamlined.
But yeah; so, I had... I was, you know, I was in a stable job, I wasn't in an abusive relationship, I wasn't raped, none of those things. I was... I was 25, I was in a committed, long-term relationship with the man that I later married. Again, had... had a stable job, very early in my career. And... and I had no reason to think that the pregnancy wouldn't have been healthy. It probably would have been.
So, I am clearly, in all ways, like, not the case that is usually discussed here. I'm not the 10 year old girl who got raped by a family member. And again, I understand why those cases are invoked so much. They are the most vulnerable, they need to be protected. But that was not me. I was and am privileged... relatively privileged, white, middle-class professional woman.
And I knew, and have known every day since then, that I did not want to have a child. It's not in me, for some reason.
And I still vividly remember the moment that I saw that positive pregnancy test. And not only did I feel nothing... positive; like, I didn't even feel any ambivalence about it. Like, all I felt was dread and depression and hopelessness.
And when I imagine what that moment might've been like if abortion had been illegal at that moment, I genuinely do not know what I would have done. I think I would have been willing to take some pretty significant risks to procure an abortion, if safe and legal ones were not available.
And if I hadn't had that as an option, like, I don't... I genuinely don't want to speculate about what I might've done. It was... it felt like my life was ending.
And I think that a big part of why I have been uncomfortable sharing this with anyone for... for a very long time, like, for... for years aside, from my partner, I only told two of my closest friends about this. That was the only people I told. And I've told a few more people recently, but it always felt like a very big deal to tell someone that I had an abortion.
Until 2:00 AM, after this thing was leaked, and I'd put it on Facebook. Cause it just seemed like the good moment to do that.
But. Um, but anyway, I think a big reason of the part that I was uncomfortable with telling people about this is that, for me, this decision just came down to what I wanted for my life, which I think a lot of people, particularly Christian conservatives, cast as a selfish and insufficient reason to end a pregnancy.
And you know, abortion is stigmatized, period. But I think that I look a lot like the Christian stereotype of an immoral woman who is avoiding the consequences of her sins. And even though I'd been an atheist for many years prior to having an abortion, it is very hard to shake those feelings, and that, you know, I've had to work through a lot of internalized shame around that.
And by the way, shame was not helped by the fact that I experienced some pretty blatant, condescending, sexist, bullshit from the male physician that actually dispensed the abortifacient.
[00:31:38] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: There it is! I knew there had to be some negative experience in the medical system. It's hard to get through totally unscathed.
[00:31:45] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: It's true. It's true.
But, you know, I went to Planned Parenthood, and the vast majority of folks who were helping me through this process were amazing, I had a good experience.
But yeah, the actual physician who dispensed the abortifacient felt the need to explain to me what the barrier method was, because obviously anyone seeking an abortion must need a lecture on how condoms work. So that was, that was really nice. That was great. I was like, "Motherfucker, I've been having sex for a lot of years!"
[00:32:09] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Like, before you were born, son! Oh, no, that doesn't... probably not. He's probably 80.
[00:32:14] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Um, no, actually he was a young guy.
[00:32:16] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Oh, okay.
[00:32:17] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Yeah. Yeah. So that was... that was a really nice moment for both of us. It... that really felt great.
But, point being: kept this private for a long time, because some... some significant part of me believed that I am not the person that abortion rights are designed to protect. You know? I felt like I was freeloading off of a system that was not really designed for me. It was designed for the people who are in these more extreme circumstances. You know? Who don't... it's not just that they don't want to be pregnant, it's that they can't be pregnant.
And I wonder how many other people feel like that, and how helpful it would be to have more folks talking about their very vanilla abortion experiences, because it turns out that I'm incredibly typical of the kind of person who seeks an abortion in the United States. Most people are in their twenties, that... they have abortions; people from all different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds get abortions.
And most importantly, for the point that I want to make here, is that the majority of people who seek abortions do so for reasons that look very much like mine: they just don't want to be pregnant, for some reason, right? Either at that point, or, just, ever.
Um, like, the... the majority of the time it's... it's, like, financial reasons, having a kid at that time would be too expensive, or would interfere with education, or work, or something. Sometimes it's the relationship issues; and... but... but a lot of people are just saying some version of, they just don't want to be pregnant.
And I believe
[00:33:35] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: The majority, I think-- correct me if I'm wrong-- are people who already have one or more children?
[00:33:40] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: That's correct. Yeah.
[00:33:41] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: And, for whatever reason, don't want to have another one, don't feel like they're in a position to have another one. Yeah?
[00:33:46] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Mmm hmm. Yeah. Yeah, that... that is... that is the most common thing. The number of abortions that are the result of rape, and incest, and these other... these other kinds of fringe cases, a very various false small percentage-- and I'm not saying that at all to diminish the importance of those cases, but to highlight the fact that, like, access to abortion is important in a much broader way than those cases might suggest.
And I'd like to see more rhetoric focused on that point, you know? It was... it was the most important thing in the world to me that I'd be able to access a safe abortion at that point. And it remains one of the most important decisions I have ever made in my life. And I mean that in an unequivocally positive sense.
And what I've been mulling over for the past few months, as we've been waiting for this decision to come out is the fact... like, I've been turning attention explicitly toward the fact that, like, actually not wanting to be pregnant is enough of a reason to not be pregnant. It's not selfish. It's an active choice about literally the rest of your life.
And my concern in only focusing on the edge cases is that those are the easiest cases for us to find common ground with Christian Pro-life activists. And I... that... I don't know if that sounds counterintuitive as a concern, but I can explain.
I don't often see my experience represented in this debate. And that feels very pointed, given that my experience is so incredibly common. And it feels to me like the implicit message there, intentional or not, is that it's difficult to defend my decision to have an abortion.
And I think that if you really inspect where that comes from, it comes from the terms of the argument as conservative Christians have defined it. Like, to them, bearing children is a fundamental, sacred duty. To them, people who have sex under circumstances that they don't approve of deserve to be punished with pregnancy and parenthood.
I... and, you know, I don't need to say that that's not hyperbole. I saw people arguing on... in Facebook comment sections all day yesterday, about how, if people aren't prepared for the consequences of sex, they shouldn't have sex. And fuck that! Sex is a fundamental human experience. And I'm very grateful that we have technology that makes that separable from parenthood.
[00:35:56] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: That we've been using since time immemorial.
And also, by the way, when you say people there, too, they mean, obviously, mainly women, the person who can become pregnant.
[00:36:06] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Correct!
[00:36:06] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Who will end up with the consequences. "Face the consequences!" mean, "Women, face the consequences!" essentially.
[00:36:12] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Exactly.
So, I thought it was worth talking about this in this moment, because I.. I think... I think that we need to make Pro-life advocates say, explicitly, what they really think here. And I think that it's very hard to explain to a person like me why I should have been forced to completely derail my life in a completely permanent way without making arguments that are explicitly about the oppression of women, and/or explicitly about imposing specific Christian doctrines on me that I don't believe in, that I don't share.
And I think... I think they need to be forced to say that out loud, because we all know that this argument cannot legally rest on discriminatory ideas, or ideas that impose specific, really, religious beliefs on people. That's illegal, and conservative lawmakers know that, and I think that that's why they've shifted their language to this apparently secular space of arguing where... when life truly begins, and making these vaguely scientific sounding claims about when the heartbeat, um, develops, or whatever.
And this has never been about that. If it... if it were-- and I'm plagiarizing this point from you; I've heard you say this several times, and I... it's... I think it's really important-- if it were about that, than rape exceptions would be a complete non-sequitur. It would make no sense, because it's about the fact that that's a life, and you can't murder it.
This argument is explicitly about restricting the autonomy of women. And for many, if not most pro-life activists, it's explicitly about their personal Christian beliefs, and wanting to codify those into law. And for those of us that are active in the secular humanist and atheist spaces, like, keeping that point as central and explicit in our discussions as we can, I think, is super important.
And maybe that entails defending people like me. I don't know.
Amy Littlefield on the fight for Abortion Rights - Start Making Sense - Air Date 5-12-22
[00:37:58] JON WIENER - HOST, START MAKING SENSE: We've talked about the immediate need for. Funding to get people to places where they can get abortions. And there's also the longer term task, a what you call deep, slow educational work organizing that will not only help people safely access abortion in the short term, but will change.
How people, especially people of faith think about abortion in the long-term. This is something, you know, a lot about the work being done by church groups, not only to provide, uh, funding, but the vast time and energy they dedicate to shaping how people think about abortion in the nation. You focus on a group called faith choice, Ohio.
You call it the future of abortion rights activism. Tell us about them.
[00:38:47] AMY LITTLEFIELD: Faith choice, Ohio. This is another group that used to be part of a national umbrella called the religious coalition for reproductive choice. They're now fully their own organization. And I attended a training that they did last September, where they had about 20 people.
Everyone was on zoom. Some people were members of the clergy. They were even wearing their clergy collars. Right. Some people were just sitting there and their t-shirts, you know, hanging out at the end of the day, ready to learn how to help people self manage their abortions. And. This training was remarkable to me because it was framed in the language of faith and religion and sort of the moral case for helping one's neighbor in a situation like this.
And I think in one sense, this is really important because helping people get access. To safe abortion inducing medication is going to be a huge, hugely important part of the organizing in the post-roll landscape. Unlike before 1973, we now have safe medication that can be used to induce an abortion. And so part of what this group is doing is training clergy members, so that when someone comes to you and says, I need.
I can't make it to the nearest clinic. That's four hours away or I can't fly, you know, to. That they have the resources and the training and the understanding to know how to help someone in that situation. But the other part of this that's so important is that churches have been the base of power for the religious.
Right. And I think the anti-abortion movement has been extremely skilled. Organizing and those spaces at, in making sure that abortion is part of Sunday school classes and sermons, and that pastors are talking about it from the pulpit. And this has been a decades long project of, of reaching people in their places of worship.
And, and in these. Really important intimate spaces of their lives to, you know, preach about abortion and Elena Ramsey. The ahead of faith trace Ohio was one of those people. She grew up in Ohio going to the assemblies of God church, and she would hear all this anti-abortion messaging that she absorbed until she herself was raped in college.
And, and that sort of opened up a different perspective for her. And so I think that work of culture, change of educating people, that you can be a person of faith and still believe in the right to abortion. And even believe that supporting the right to abortion is part of your faith. That is a sort of granular grassroots work that I think really has to be done by organizations based on the ground in communities like Ohio.
[00:41:41] JON WIENER - HOST, START MAKING SENSE: In conclusion, let's not forget that the right to abortion passed because of a national movement that was rooted in states and cities and overturning Roe now may be a move that leads to a revival of that movement and its transformation into something stronger because after all the great majority of Americans support the right to abortion.
It's been about 60, 40 in favor for, for decades now. And the most recent poll, only 8% of Americans said abortion should be illegal in all cases. So the great majority is with us. It is a grim time. We have a lot of work to do, and it's good to be in this fight with such good allies, the ones you have told us about and the ones that you report.
Resisting attacks on abortion rights in the US with Emma Norton - Red Flag Radio - Air Date 5-9-22
[00:42:30] ROZ WARD - HOST, RED FLAG RADIO: Let's start with something that we take for granted that socialists support abortion and socialists have always been part of the campaigns in support of choice, women's choice. Why, though, do socialists support abortion rights?
[00:42:46] EMMA NORTON: Yeah. Good question. It's a no brainer in many ways. But I think it's worth reflecting on. And socialists have supported this right to abortion and to reproductive rights for a long, long time. And I think it's partly because socialists are just for the maximum amount of human freedom. That's what we're fighting for really. One of the worst things about capitalism is that in order to exploit people, it has to exercise arbitrary authority over pretty much every aspect of our lives. And that's exercised by all these capitalist institutions, like the state, that are decide a lot of things for us.
And I think with something like abortion, this should be the decision of women or people who are pregnant, not anything to do with the state really. And socialists have recognized that from early on. Similarly, recognize that people's sexuality, what they do with their bodies, should be their decision, not that of the state.
And I think the other important reason is that the denial of abortion rights is really important. And just the control of women's reproductive systems is an important part of women's oppression. And, that's where the origins of this really is, that the system has oppressed women in the nuclear family and use them as the empty vessels that churn out babies and raise the next generation. And, even though a lot of things have moved on in many ways or improved for women, that's still an expectation that women do most of the domestic labor and the raising of the next generation. So it's always been important to capitalism to have some control, exert some control over that process and to keep women in the nuclear family.
And I think for the right, especially, that's really important to defend that as part of defending the system overall.
[00:44:28] ROZ WARD - HOST, RED FLAG RADIO: Yep. So what does this have to do with the working class politics that define socialist politics?
[00:44:36] EMMA NORTON: Yeah. I think it's really a cost question in many ways. And this has been the case again from early on that the socialist movement and the workers movement took abortion rights and reproductive rights very seriously, because they could say that how terribly it affects working class women in particular. For one, working class women are much more burdened by their role in the home. Having a million kids contributes to that. And the socialist movements always maintained that women have a right to engage in politics and social life outside of the home.
But I think the question of abortion and reproduction is a cost question. You think about it: wealthier women can afford, and always have been able to afford, expensive contraceptives or upmarket clinics. For working class women, though, they've just been butchered by the back alley abortionists or poisoned by what used to be called abortifacients, I learned recently. These dodgy vials of stuff that working class women were sold on the cheap to supposedly get rid of their pregnancies, but would often kill them as well. So it's along a history of the workers movement fighting for this. And actually in Australia, there's some nice stories of the union movement teaming up with women's rights groups and pro-choice groups to push back against antiabortion legislation, like with Joh Bjelke-Petersen in Queensland when he tried to move against abortion. Yeah, I think it's really intimately linked.
[00:46:01] ROZ WARD - HOST, RED FLAG RADIO: I think we shouldn't forget the fact that we're talking about thousands of women dying through not having access to abortion or through a botched backyard-type illegal abortions in America. And that being obviously disproportionately poor working class women and people of color in particular in America right now. So yeah. It's an extremely serious issue for working-class women.
[00:46:29] EMMA NORTON: Yeah. And it's why, if I can just add, the demand for socialist women hasn't just been -- oh, sorry for socialists -- around this issue has not just been abortion rights should be legal. It's that it should be free, on demand, safe, accessible. It's meaningless -- and some of the states in America prove this actually -- it's quite meaningless to have abortion rights if it's not cheap or free or available nearby. And again, that's something that for ruling class women, wealthy women, doesn't really matter that much because they can often catch a plane somewhere where abortion is legal law, accessible. For working class women, it's a major demand and always has been.
Roe v Wade Can't Be Saved By Your Vote Featuring David Daley - Thom Hartmann Program - Air Date 5-9-22
[00:47:08] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: We caught this article on the Boston globe, your vote won't help restore abortion rights, which is certainly a thought provoking or provocative headline. Um, it w it's written by David Daley. He's a senior [email protected] Uh, he's also the author. In fact, he's been on the program before, uh, of the book IRAT F to why your vote doesn't count.
And unregard how Americans are battling back to save democracy. Also, the former editor in chief is Salada. Uh, you can tweet him at Dave Daley, number three, or at fair vote. Dave, welcome back to the program. Uh, tell us about why our vote won't help restore abortion rights.
[00:47:47] DAVID DALEY: Thanks for having me back on Tom.
Um, the short answer is gerrymandering. What justice Alito said in this draft opinion that is presumed likely to become the new law of the land is that it was time to return abortion, uh, to the political process in the states. The trouble is as justice Alito. Well, and fully knows, uh, that the, the game has already been rigged by his side in the states Republicans rule from the minority in places like Ohio and Florida.
Texas, uh, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, where, uh, it is all but impossible for even majority's of Democrats amounting to hundreds of thousands of voters, um, to, to, to change their elected representatives and, and put the other side in power. So if you cannot, um, If the state legislatures are wired in such a way that one side has all of the power, even when the voters around the other side, returning the process to, to politics, it doesn't work.
Yeah. So like
[00:49:04] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: in Florida where Ron DeSantis won by 33,000 votes, uh, Donald Trump carried the state by only 51%. You note in your article here in the Boston globe, and yet in their house of representatives, the Florida house of representatives, even though the state is about 50 50 in. Or 51 49, in terms of people voting for Democrats are voting for Republicans.
They have 78 Republicans and 39 Democrats, um, which is pretty mind boggling and Republicans holds 65% of the state house. And, uh, and, and that's, I mean, you know, the same thing in Ohio, the same thing in Wisconsin, the same thing in Michigan as you pointed out. So, uh, number one, I'm assuming that in part, this is something that could have been corrected by the Supreme court long ago, but they chose now.
[00:49:50] DAVID DALEY: exactly right. Uh, the us Supreme court effectively blessed the radical, extreme partisan gerrymandering of our states. Uh, you know, in a handful of decisions back in the last decade, especially in one, uh, in 2019 in which they closed the, the federal courts to, to partisan gerrymandering claims. And what they said then was kind of hilarious.
They said, well, if voters want to do something about Jeremy, They can elect different people to draw these maps. And the entire problem here is that the maps are drawn by politicians to lock themselves in power and to keep the voters on the other side, even huge majorities of them. Um, and the polls on this issue, haven't really budged in two decades.
A majority of Americans want to see Roe vs. Wade remain law. They do not want to see abortion. Overturned. This is the case in Florida. It's the case in Texas. It's the case in Alabama, in Oklahoma, in Ohio, in Georgia, in state, after state, where legislatures are moving to restrict reproductive rights and in all of the states where they will jump on the.
Uh, in the next several weeks, if this draft opinion becomes law, the polls are on the other side, Alita wants to turn it back to the political process, but that doesn't work when the game is rigged. So,
[00:51:15] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: and, and, uh, to, to kind of issues come to mind. One is a number of blue states. A number of democratic controlled states have basically unilaterally disarm to California, for example.
And I know they're not the only. Um, I'm guessing you've got this stuff right at the top of mind, um, has a nonpartisan commissions that draw districts that are, you know, drawn along geographic and demographic lines or, or population lines, space. Um, so they're not, you know, taking into consideration the kinds of things that you do when you gerrymander, you know, uh, raised their political affiliation or affluence or whatever.
Um, and you know, there are some folks who are saying, you shouldn't do that. You should, you know, if the Republicans are going to gerrymander, you should gerrymander like crazy until you get, you know, enough of a cause. Cause we're, you know, th the, the reason that everybody is saying that the Democrats are probably going to lose the house of representatives.
Is because so many states now have so effectively gerrymandered. And when Democrats try like a New York state, it gets struck down by a bunch of democratically appointed, uh, Supreme court justices states, Supreme court justices. And when Republicans try in, in some states and against struck down, they just say, screw you, we're going to do it in.
[00:52:30] DAVID DALEY: You're exactly right. We're watching this unfold right now in the state of Ohio, where Republicans have drawn a 13 to two map. That is, uh, that has been rejected by the. Supreme court now four times, and yet they are just persisting and they have run out the clock so long that they're going to have the 20, 22 elections in Ohio for Congress on a map that has been declared unconstitutional.
Republicans will likely win 13 of the 15 seats in a state. That's probably 53 47 on a presidential breakdown. It'd be 54, 46. Um, and that could shift four or five congressional. The balance of power in Congress right now is only four or five congressional seats. So this unconstitutional map could make all the difference for the entire country.
So I think you're exactly right. When you say what Democrats have done. Is not enough. Um, we have got to be thinking not just about how you fix partisan gerrymandering, which is a huge problem, but we have got to be thinking about the structure of the U S Senate, where it's right now, 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, even though 41 million more people nationally preferred democratic candidates.
In 2020, uh, by 2035, you are likely to have a us Senate, uh, that 70% of the population lives in 30 states and has 30 senators. So when you add the filibuster in, you are giving. Smaller whiter, rural conservative states and effective veto power over everything.
[00:54:15] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: Right? That's the whole point of it. I mean, just be up front about this.
Um, so, uh, first of all, it seems to me that Democrats messaging sucks on this. Nobody knows what gerrymander means. They need to stop referring to these things as gerrymanders and start calling them rigged elections. Amen. And, and, and, and so, uh, number one, number two. Um, how, uh, you know, the Republicans got their rigged elections through a court based strategy.
They took case after case, after case to the Supreme court and packed the court as heavily as they could so that they could be allowed to gerrymander. Um, eh, there was no mistake about it and they also, uh, just pull out all the stops and pour massive amounts of money into state after state in the elections in the years that that end with zero or the a year immediately thereafter, where, where these maps are doing.
So what's your Democrats be doing now?
[00:55:11] DAVID DALEY: They need a long-term structural game to win back power in state legislature. They need to be really focused on 2022 governor races. And these gerrymandered states like Wisconsin and North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where that the governor is the only thing that hangs between, um, uh, a majority of voters and extreme one-sided minority rule, even in states that ordinarily.
Fairly blue. And I think it is time for us to be talking about what we're going to do to fix the United States Supreme court, which has six conservative justices, five of them appointed by presidents that lost the popular vote and confirmed by a us Senate that lacks.
[00:56:08] THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: Any that represents a minority of Americans who want majority.
[00:56:12] DAVID DALEY: Right. Uh, and so, um, we have to be talking about how we are going to balance and right-size the federal judiciary, if we want to have any hope of remaining a country in which the majority rules.
The Turnaway Study What The Research Says About Abortion - Short Wave - Air Date 5-9-22
[00:56:27] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: Dr. Diana Green foster is a demographer by training. That's someone who, as she puts it, quote is good at statistics and cares about people's outcomes. Demographers study, birth, death migration, and in looking at abortion, the turn away study was the first of its kind in the UK.
For over a decade, it tracked the lives of just under a thousand women who all saw abortion care. Dr. Foster and her team recruited participants from 30 facilities in 21 states across the U S
[00:56:57] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: in 2007. When I started this study. Specified that the eligibility criteria was pregnant women. And so when I talk about the study, I use the word women, but I think the experiences of trans men and non-binary people might show even greater hardships in accessing care.
[00:57:17] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: who participated in the study fell into a few groups broadly, they got the abortion, they sought because they were under the cutoff window for their state. Or they were turned away and were denied an
[00:57:29] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: abortion. They closely resembled the population of people seeking abortions nationally. So 60% of the women were already mothers, about half were in their twenties, which is typical.
About three quarters were already below the federal poverty level. Um, at the time they were seeking an abortion. So
[00:57:50] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: to summarize the typical study participant was just like the typical abortions. Already a mom in her twenties and living below the federal
[00:57:59] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: poverty line. And the only real difference is that they tend to be later in pregnancy because we recruited them right up near the gestational limit.
And for the
[00:58:08] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: next five years, Diana and her team called up these study participants every six months in those phone calls, they checked in on a range of outcomes, like their health, their economic wellbeing. And how they felt about their decision.
[00:58:22] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: And I think I had a idea before I started the study that people seeking abortion later in pregnancy would somehow be different.
And that turned out to be completely false with the exception that they tended to have been a lot later in realizing they were pregnant and then can happen to people when they don't have pregnancy symptoms. When they have a chronic health condition with symptoms that are in common with pregnancy.
When they were using contraception in the month, they conceived. And so they thought they were protected. And so they didn't realize they were pregnant
[00:58:58] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: and let's just state around 90% of women who seek an abortion do so in their first trimester, your study found that those who seek an abortion in their second trimester did so for a few reasons, it was because they found out about their pregnancy late, uh, Or because they experienced real obstacles to getting an abortion earlier.
What were some of
[00:59:20] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: those obstacles? When we ask people what slowed them down? The leading reason is that they needed to take time to raise the money, to either pay for the procedure or pay for travel laws around abortion seemed designed to slow people down. For example, we have laws that say that private.
And public insurance can't cover an abortion procedure. So then there's this medical expenditure that people have to pay out of pocket and they take time to raise that money, pushing the abortion later, we even have mandatory waiting periods. So those like by definition, slow people down. So we do not have a streamlined legal approach to having people get their abortions.
And there are huge areas of the United States without abortion providers.
[01:00:09] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: So the study part of what makes it unique is that it looks at women who were denied, who were turned away. What did you learn about their lives? After five years of follow-up
[01:00:18] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: conversations, we see a couple areas where their lives dramatically diverge in outcomes.
The first is health so consistent with the medical literature, carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering a child is. More physically risky than having an abortion. Even a later abortion, we see much more severe physical health complications from birth, including. Most tragically to women who died after delivery, one died of an infection and one died of a very common pregnancy complication.
The other area that we see big differences is in socioeconomic well-being. This is not just about poverty. Although we see that people who are denied abortions are more likely to live in households where there just isn't enough money for basic living needs. And they're more likely to be raising. Alone.
If they are denied the abortion, then if they receive one, wow. Um, they're equally likely to be in a relationship whether they received or were denied an abortion, but those who receive the abortion report, that their relationship is higher quality. Um, so it's changing the fundamental aspects of people's lives.
When somebody receives an abortion, they're more likely to be able to have a subsequent pregnancy under better circumstances. Do we see better maternal bonding with that child and better economic circumstances? So more likely to live above the poverty level and with enough money for basic living needs.
[01:01:59] EMILY KWONG - HOST, SHORTWAVE: For those women who were able to get an abortion, who you followed in the turn away study, what did you and your fellow researchers find about? We
[01:02:08] DR. DIANA GREENE FOSTER: see better mental health initially for the people who receive an abortion compared to those who are denied it. And for both groups improving mental health over time, we asked people about, um, six emotions, happiness, sadness, regret relief, anger, and guilt.
And we asked how often they were feeling these emotions over time. And then also how often they were thinking about the abortion over time. And what we learned is. Positive emotions outweigh negative emotions, but a substantial number of people do have negative emotions about it. People can experience the emotion regret and still feel like they made the right decision about having an abortion.
So I regret that I was in the position where I needed an abortion, but given that I was, I'm glad I had it and they can feel sad and sad is different than depressed. So people have a range of, of emotional responses and over time, People say that having strong, positive emotions and strong negative emotions, both of those reduce over time and people tell us that they stop thinking about abortion.
One woman told us, I only think about it when you call me for these interviews. Wow. So this idea that somehow this event is somehow disrupting people's lives forever. That is not accurate for the vast majority of people. This is something that people say they needed to do, and they did it and moved on with their lives.
Lindsey Shares Her Abortion Story Part 2 - Serious Inquiries Only - Air Date 5-5-22
[01:03:40] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: I remember back in, like, 2012 when this, like, kind of, made sense as a thing to say; now, it's just like, "Yeah, no, everything sucks. It's terrible. It's not at that point."
But, like, back then, it was, like, "Why don't we get any long form debates or discussions on personhood, on 'The Violinist' type thought experiments, on reasoning behind that?" I... it would have helped me get there sooner, you know? I didn't get there, philosophically, until embarrassingly late, because I bought into, like, the whole personhood-or-not-personhood thing. Uh, I think on the show, very publicly-- or, not this one, but, you know-- like, I... I... it would have helped me to have more exposure to those ideas.
So, totally agreeing with you, we should talk about cases like yours, and the philosophical arguments of why that's okay, and why it's not right to force someone into, not only the toll on their bodies for over nine months, but the toll on the rest of their lives, and their conscience, and their well... mental wellbeing, everything!
Like, that... I was going to bring up to you, you know, when Amy Coney Barrett takes the attitude of, "Well, you know, you just give it up for adoption, though."
[01:04:48] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Oh my God.
[01:04:48] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: "It's just solves everything." Would you... how would... how would that have gone for you?
[01:04:52] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Oh, really well!
I think that... yeah, I was, actually, thinking through this yesterday, that some people do say, "Well, no, it's not committing you to parenthood."
I'm like, okay. So as a first... this is my first year in my position, and I'm trying to think through, like, how much fun it would have been to deal... deal with pregnancy, you know, become, like, obviously pregnant, to people; and then have to... have to... you would have to explain, over and over and over, that, like, "No, like, actually I'm doing this... this adoption thing instead."
Like... it's... I mean, you know, the physical... the physical stuff is part of it, but, like, the idea that it's not disruptive just to be pregnant for... for nine months. But not just disruptive, that's... that's putting it way too lightly. The idea is that that doesn't make it...
[01:05:34] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: It's hell!
[01:05:34] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Yes! The idea that that doesn't make the entire experience, like, way more traumatic at every level is just ridiculous.
[01:05:43] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: And then, by the end, when all the brain chemistry kicks in, like, who knows if you'll be able to make that decision, and maybe you still can make that decision, but it will be that much harder.
[01:05:51] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Exactly.
[01:05:51] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: And feel that much worse.
[01:05:53] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Yes. Yes, exactly.
[01:05:55] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: It's a terrible idea! Instead of stopping the pregnancy when it's inarguably not a person, or even close, let's produce a person that then gets to be, from birth, unwanted by their biological parent. Like... I just can't... it's so morally backwards.
[01:06:12] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Yes. It does seem like there... there are very, very straightforward consequentialist arguments to be made about why abortion is, obviously, a good thing to have.
You know, and you mentioned that... that this is not... this is not a new thing. Like, people have been terminating pregnancies for a very, very long time. I didn't know that until recently I listened to something a few months ago. Yeah, um, I didn't realize that there were, like, reliable abortifacients that were... that were used until, like, the mid-1800s or something, when this all started to become an issue.
And there was no stigma around it, apparently, either. It's just, like, "Yeah, no, that's..."
[01:06:45] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: I bet you it was something that men didn't even know about, you know? Like, it'd probably just be, like, "Yeah, this is, kind of, taken care of." And nobody really looks into it too hard, because, you know, women's stuff. I don't know. Like, who knows? They literally... back in the day, they used to make menstruating women leave the village. Like, men have long not wanted to take any role in this... in... in reproductive issues. And get as far away from them as possible, for some reason.
[01:07:10] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Until women started to become educated, and more autonomous. And then, boy, did people become interested in it!
[01:07:15] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Yeah,
[01:07:16] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: But yeah, it was... it was interesting. I think... I think the way she was talking about it was, like, if somebody stopped menstruating, it was, like, a sign of, like, dysfunction, or something? It's, like, not that it wasn't clear that it could have been a pregnancy, but, like, the... the abortions or... you know, the abortions that would happen essentially would happen, like, before they felt... Before they knew they were pregnant, essentially. I don't know, I'll have to find a link to it. It was really interesting.
And so the... the administration of, like, herbs and things that reliably induced miscarriage were seen as, like, getting somebody back into their natural, like, rhythms, or whatever.
[01:07:51] THOMAS SMITH - HOST, SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY: Right! Right, they would start, like, right away, possibly, if they missed a period, or whatever. Like, not as, like, "I'm gonna kill a child!' but, like, "This is a thing I do to get back to my normal cycle." Yeah. That's interesting. I think I've... I think I've read that, too.
[01:08:04] DR. LINDSEY OSTERMAN: Yeah, it was,... it was pretty interesting.
Final comments on how to make sure your efforts to support abortion access are well spent
[01:08:05] JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with Amicus explaining abortion pills. This is hell telling the story of the rise of anti-choice politics. The Rachel Maddow show called for fighting back Christiane Amanpour on CNN spoke with Frank Shaffer about his role in launching anti-choice politics into the evangelical world.
Serious inquiries only argued that we need to reframe the abortion debate rather than seed that it is morally ambiguous. Start making sense, discuss faith communities, teaching reproductive justice, red flag radio explained to the class element of reproductive rights and Thom Hartmann spoke with David daily about the uphill climb to overcome gerrymandering, to bring democracy back to the state houses and Congress.
That's what everyone heard. But members also heard a bonus clip from shortwave discussing a longitudinal study, following people after their abortions and serious inquiries only discussing. Why not just give it up for adoption idea to hear that and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly into your new members.
Only podcast feed that you'll receive. Sign up to support the show at Best of the Left dot com slash support or request a financial hardship membership, because we don't make a lack of funds, a barrier to hearing more information. Every request is granted. No questions asked and now I. A few more thoughts to tack onto the end of today's show.
First, I would like to warn against the entire, the Republican party is the dog who caught the car and doesn't know what to do with it kind of framing the right is not going to lose the ability to rally their base in anger, at least not for long, but probably not at all. As we heard today, there was a low.
In political enthusiasm for the Christian right after they lost the fight on desegregation, but they found a new issue in abortion to rally around that has suited them just fine today. Their movement is far more politically engaged than it was, and they already have fights lined up for days. Obviously, overturning marriage equality is going to be right near the top of the list, but looking forward to stuff that isn't nearly settled yet transmit.
Critical race theory. And the rest of all of their reactionary agenda is already laid out for them. There's no reason to think that they're going to sleep anytime soon. And in fact, the anti abortion activists have been talking about how their fight is just starting because now they have to take it to the state-by-state level because they don't want any of the pro choice states to be pro choice.
So they're going to fight those battles. And of course, they're going to try to pass federal legislation to make it. Across the board. So they're never going to stop fighting, don't assume for a second, that the energy is about to get sucked out of that movement. And secondly, I want to share more thoughts on what you can do in this moment.
And of course these, aren't my ideas. I came across a Twitter thread from an abortion fund activist that went modestly viral, who had some nuanced thoughts for those wanting to get active for the first time to help you find the most effective use of your energy. So we will link in the show notes to the.
Twitter thread along with other resources, but here is an abridged version of it. So the person writes. Are you again, horrified at the imminent demise of Roe versus Wade and wanting to get involved with abortion access. Welcome to the club. Does it seem like a good idea to connect with auntie networks and girls camping trips at this time?
If so, please read on about why you shouldn't practical support network. Help abortion seekers arrange and pay for travel related expenses surrounding people's abortions. Many of these organizations are run by volunteers and or rely on volunteers. You should be one of them. Practical support organizations, train vetted volunteers in reproductive justice, cultural humility, and anti-racist principles.
Once you are trained, you'll have an answer for the questions below, which are crucial to providing successful practical support. Number one, are there trap laws in my state? These are targeted restrictions on abortion providers. Ad-libbing living just a little bit. The point of this question is that if the laws in your state are sufficiently antiabortion, even if it's technically illegal, then your state may not.
Best place to encourage someone to go question number two, how many clinics are in my state? Where is my nearest clinic? And do they have a legal limit at which point they cannot perform abortions again, knowing the lay of your own land will help you understand whether or not it's a good idea to invite people to your state for therapy.
Number three, do I live in a state that already sees a lot of people coming from out of state, even states with friendly abortion laws are having to schedule people further out as more people from abortion hostile states come to the friendlier states to seek care that in the same vein, I think a self-explanatory question four.
Do you know what language is stigmatizing and what isn't are you willing to do? The anti-racism work necessary? To be truly supportive. This is one that I think a lot of people are going to stumble on because it's, it's a clear, I don't know what I don't know, kind of situation and people are so interested in being helpful and are so intent on their good intentions that they may lose sight of the fact that.
They really may need to learn some things about how to best do this work. And I think that question exemplifies that idea. Question five, how do you know this person is truly seeking abortion care rather than a hostile anti-abortion person? And if you are seeking abortion care, how do you know the person who offered to host me is truly supportive of your decision?
Now that question above maybe all others highlights the complicated nature of trying to create ad hoc support networks through the internet. And you may suddenly be realizing that a professional organization that has been doing this for a long time may be exactly what you need to plug into rather than trying to wing it.
So the thread concludes if this feels like a lot to consider and. It is, but it is very learnable too. It just takes more planning than a quick Facebook or Reddit exchange could ever offer. We're not here to discourage you from helping. We're here to make sure people do it safely. If you're going to make a true difference, you need to take the time to learn it and partner with others who are doing the same.
And with that, I will just reiterate that there are resources linked in our show notes, whether you are seeking an abortion or are looking to help those who are, you are not alone in this, and it should never feel like you are. So please plug into the existing networks. That will be more than happy to welcome you with.
As always keep the comments coming in at 2 0 2 9 9 9 3 9 9 1. Or by emailing me to Jay at Best of the Left dot com. That is going to be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show and participation in our bonus episodes.
Thanks to the Monosyllabic Transcriptionist Trio, Ben, Ken, and Scott for their volunteer work, helping put our transcripts together. Thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism, segments, graphic designing web mastering, and the bonus show co-hosting. And thanks to those who support the show.
By becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at Best of the Left dot com slash support through our Patrion page or from right inside the apple podcast app membership is how you get instant access to our incredibly good bonus episodes. In addition to there being extra content and no ads in all of our regular episodes, all through your regular podcast player.
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