This story contains references to rape.
It has been weeks since the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which recognized a nationwide right to abortion.
The June 24 6-3 ruling caused legal shock in the US, with about half of the states expected to take action to restrict or ban abortion. Thirteen states, including Texas, had so-called “trigger” laws meant to go into effect if Roe v. Wade was dropped.
The controversy over abortion rights in the US has since intensified, at times exposing the immediate consequences of the decision, some experts warn. .
Here are five things you need to know this week.
Texas sues Biden administration
Texas sued the federal government Thursday over a new Biden administration directive directing hospitals to perform emergency abortions despite the state’s post-rule ban on the procedure.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in the lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attempted to “use federal law to turn every emergency room in the country into an abortion clinic.”
The lawsuit focused on a guideline released Monday that says a federal law protecting patients’ access to emergency care requires abortions to be performed when doctors believe a pregnant woman’s life or health is in danger.
The guidance comes after President Joe Biden, a Democrat, signed an executive order on Friday aimed at making it easier to access post-rule abortion services.
US President Joe Biden. Source: AP
Abortion services ended in Texas after the state Supreme Court — at the urging of Mr. Paxton — cleared the way on July 2 for a nearly century-long ban on abortion to take effect.
HHS said its agency’s guidance to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US is not a new policy, but reminds doctors of their obligations under the Emergency Medical Care and Active Labor Act.
But the lawsuit, filed in Republican-led Lubbock, Texas, argued that federal law never authorized the federal government to force doctors and hospitals to perform abortions and that the guidance was illegal.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement “it is unthinkable that this government official would take legal action to prevent women from receiving life-saving care in emergency rooms, a right protected by U.S. law.”
A law professor has accused a Missouri Republican senator of using a “transphobic” interrogation line during a hearing on the impact of the Supreme Court ruling.
Professor Hiara Bridges of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law on Tuesday testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the hearing, Senator Josh Hawley asked Professor Bridges who she meant when she spoke of “people who can get pregnant.”
– Are they women? the senator asked.
“Many women, cis women, are capable of pregnancy,” Professor Bridges replied.
“Many cis women are incapable of pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy.”
“So it’s not a women’s rights issue?” Senator Hawley replied.
“We can acknowledge that it affects women and also recognize that it affects other groups. These things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley,” Professor Bridges said.
When asked again to explain “the basis of her argument”, Professor Bridges told the senator that his line of questioning is “transphobic” and that it “opens up transgender people to violence without acknowledging them.”
“Are you saying that I abuse people by asking if women can get pregnant?” Senator Hawley said.
“I want to note that every fifth transgender person has attempted suicide. Denying that transgender people exist and pretending not to know about their existence is dangerous,” the professor replied.
Man charged with raping 10-year-old girl who crossed state lines for an abortion
An Ohio man was charged with raping a 10-year-old girl who later traveled to neighboring Indiana to have an abortion, a case that Mr. Biden brought to the attention when criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, who was arrested Tuesday, appeared in municipal court in Franklin County, Ohio, to face charges on Wednesday. The police investigator testified at the trial that the man confessed to raping the girl at least twice.
According to the officer, the victim in the case had an abortion in Indiana on June 30.
Ohio’s statewide ban on abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy — before many women know they’re pregnant — went into effect just hours after the Supreme Court’s decision.
The incident gained attention this month when the Indianapolis Star reported that she had to travel to Indiana for an abortion because she was three days over Ohio’s six-week limit, which does not include exceptions for rape or incest.
Indiana’s attorney general said Thursday he is investigating whether the doctor who performed the abortion complied with state laws requiring doctors to report abortions and alleged cases of child abuse.
But the same newspaper said it obtained documents through a public records request showing the doctor complied with disclosure requirements on a form she filed with the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Children.
Abortion after six weeks remains legal in Indiana, although the Republican-controlled state legislature is expected to consider new restrictions later this month.
US President Joe Biden mentioned the young girl while speaking to reporters about access to abortion on Friday.
“Just imagine you’re that little girl – she’s 10 years old,” he angrily said at the White House.
Mr. Fuentes is being held on $2 million ($3 million) bail and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 22.
Abortion bans prevent women from getting the medicine they need
Annie England Noblin, a 40-year-old from rural Missouri, has never had a problem getting her monthly prescription for methotrexate until this week.
On Monday, Ms Noblin’s pharmacist said she could not give her the medicine until she confirmed with the woman’s doctor that the medicine would not be used for an abortion. Methotrexate can be used to terminate a pregnancy.
Nearly all abortions are now banned in Missouri, and methotrexate is also one of the first drugs prescribed by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more than a million Americans and nearly one in 50 Australians.
The pharmacy ended up filling the prescription, but Ms Noblin said she would likely switch to another, more expensive drug if they refused to fill her prescription in the future.
More than 30 states have passed laws restricting access to drugs that can be used to terminate a pregnancy.
Texas woman claims unborn child counts as passenger after fine
A pregnant Texas woman who was ticketed for driving alone in a car lane said her fetus should be considered a passenger due to strict new abortion laws.
Brandi Bottone, 32 and 34 weeks pregnant, vowed to take legal action after a police officer pulled her over in Dallas last month and fined her.
She was driving in a lane reserved for vehicles in which there were at least two people, a fact she did not dispute.
But Ms Bottone told a police officer that her unborn child was a person in the eyes of the law, as the Supreme Court had overturned Roe Wade’s decision a few days earlier.
“He said, ‘Is there anyone else in the car?'” Ms. Bottone told CNN on Sunday. “I pointed to my stomach and said, ‘Right here.'”
When the police officer said the pregnancy “doesn’t count” because two people must be “out of the body,” Ms Bottone insisted “it’s a baby.”
The Texas Penal Code, like many conservative states, recognizes a fetus as a “human”, but this does not appear to be the case for laws governing transportation.
Even before Roe v. Wade was dropped last month, a new Texas law banned nearly all abortions after six weeks — before many women even knew they were pregnant.
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