CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Texas group that helps women pay for abortions halted its efforts on Saturday while assessing its legal risk under a strict state ban. Mississippi’s only abortion clinic continued to see patients while awaiting 10 days notice that will trigger a ban. Elected officials across the country pledged to take action to protect women’s access to reproductive health care, and abortion opponents vowed to take the fight to new arenas.
A day after the explosive Supreme Court decision overturned Roe v. Wade ended the constitutional right to abortion, emotional protests and prayer vigils resolved as several states enacted bans and abortion rights supporters and opponents mapped out their next moves.
In Texas, Cathy Torres, head of the organization of the Frontera Fund, a group that helps pay for abortions, said there was a lot of fear and confusion in the Rio Grande Valley, near the US-US border. Mexican, where many people are in the country without legal status. permission.
This includes how the state abortion law, which prohibits the procedure from conception, will be enforced. Under the law, people who help patients get abortions can be fined and doctors who perform them risk life in prison.
“We are a fund run by people of color, who will be criminalized first,” Torres said, adding that abortion funds like his that have suspended operations are hoping to find a way to restart safely. “We really have to keep that in mind and understand the risk.”
Tyler Harden, Mississippi director for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said she spent Friday and Saturday making sure people with impending appointments at the state’s only abortion clinic — which was listed in the Supreme Court case but not affiliated with Planned Parenthood – know they don’t have to overturn them just yet. Abortions can still take place up to 10 days after the state attorney general issues a required administrative notice.
Mississippi will ban the procedure except for pregnancies that endanger the woman’s life or those caused by rape reported to law enforcement. Republican Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said at a Friday press conference that he would oppose adding an exception for incest. “I believe life begins at conception,” Gunn said.
Harden said she provided information about funds that help people travel out of state to get abortions. Many in Mississippi were already doing this even before the ruling, but it will become more difficult now that abortions have ended in neighboring states like Alabama. Currently, Florida is the closest ‘safe haven’ state, but Harden said, “We know that may not be for too long.”
At the National Right to Life Convention in Atlanta, a leader of the anti-abortion group warned attendees Saturday that the Supreme Court’s decision ushers in “a time of great opportunity and a time of great danger.”
Randall O’Bannon, director of education and research for the organization, encouraged activists to celebrate their victories but stay focused and keep working on the issue. Specifically, he called drugs taken to induce abortion.
“With Roe headed to the dustbin of history and states gaining the power to limit abortions, that’s where the battle is going to be played out over the next few years,” O’Bannon said. “The new modern threat is chemical or medical abortion with pills ordered online and sent directly to a woman’s home.”
Protests erupted for a second day in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City to Jackson, Mississippi.
During the Los Angeles protest, one of many protests in California, hundreds marched through downtown carrying signs with slogans such as ‘my body, my choice’ and ‘give up court’ .
Turnout was lower in Oklahoma City, where about 15 protesters gathered outside the Capitol. Oklahoma is one of 11 states where there are no providers offering abortions, and it passed the nation’s toughest abortion law in May.
“I’ve been through a flurry of emotions over the past 24 hours. … It’s upsetting, it’s angry, it’s hard to put in place everything I’m feeling right now,” Marie said. Adams, 45, who has had two abortions for ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilized egg is unable to survive. She called the issue “very personal to me.”
“Half the people of the United States just lost a basic human right,” Adams said. “We have to speak loud and clear.
Callie Pruett, who volunteered to escort patients to West Virginia’s only abortion clinic before it stopped offering the procedure after Friday’s ruling, said she plans to work at voter registration in hopes of electing leaders who support abortion rights. The executive director of Appalachians for Appalachia added that her organization will also apply for grants to help patients access abortion care, including out-of-state.
“We need to build networks of people who are willing to drive people to Maryland or DC,” Pruett said. “This type of grassroots action requires organization at a level we haven’t seen in nearly 50 years.”
Fellow West Virginian Sarah MacKenzie, 25, said she was motivated to fight for abortion access by the memory of her mother, Denise Clegg, a passionate reproductive health advocate who worked for years at the state clinic as a nurse practitioner and died suddenly in May. MacKenzie plans to attend protests in the capital, Charleston, and donate to a local abortion fund.
“She would be absolutely devastated. She was so scared of this happening – she wanted to stop it,” Mackenzie said, adding, “I will do everything in my power to make sure this is reversed.
The Supreme Court ruling will likely lead to abortion bans in about half of the states.
Since the ruling, clinics have stopped performing abortions in Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Women considering abortions had previously faced near-zero bans in Oklahoma and a ban after about six weeks in Texas.
In Ohio, the ban on most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat became law when a federal judge dissolved an injunction that had suspended the measure for nearly three years.
Another law with narrow exceptions was triggered in Utah by Friday’s ruling. The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit against her in state court and said she would seek a temporary restraining order, arguing that she violated the state constitution.
Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, where abortion remains legal, signed an executive order protecting people seeking or offering abortions in his state from legal consequences in other states. Walz also pledged to deny extradition requests from anyone accused of committing acts related to reproductive health care that are not criminal offenses in Minnesota.
“My office has been and will continue to be a firewall against legislation that would overturn reproductive freedom,” he said.
In Fargo, North Dakota, the state’s only abortion provider faces a 30-day window before it must close and plans to cross the river to Minnesota. Red River Women’s Clinic owner Tammi Kromenaker said on Saturday she had secured a location in Moorhead and an online fundraiser to support the move had raised more than half a million dollars less of three days.
Republicans have sought to downplay their enthusiasm for winning their decades-long fight to unseat Roe, aware that the decision could energize the Democratic base, especially suburban women. Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said she expects abortion opponents to come out in large numbers this fall.
But Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said Saturday he thinks the issue will energize independents and hopes to translate anger over Roe’s demise into votes.
“Anytime you take half the people of Wisconsin and make them second-class citizens,” Evers said, “I have to believe there’s going to be a reaction to that.”
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press reporters Rebecca Boone in Olympia, Washington; Bob Christie in Salt Lake City; Ken Miller in Oklahoma City; Dave Kolpack in Minneapolis; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Christopher Weber in Los Angeles; and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed to this story.
For full AP coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, go to https://apnews.com/hub/abortion