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With the stakes for this election getting higher by the day and millions of Americans casting their ballots early, all signs point to a record-breaking turnout in November.

Now more than ever, reproductive rights are on the ballot — and not just at the top of the ticket.

While contests for president and Congress dominate the headlines, state legislators and governors play a critical role in protecting — or restricting — abortion access nationwide. Since 2011, state legislatures have passed more than 400 laws restricting access to abortion, pushing abortion care further out of reach for millions of women across the country. …

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This week Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton’s long-running efforts to ingratiate himself to President Donald Trump were rewarded when Trump put the Senator on his “short list” for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senator Cotton promptly tweeted: “It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go.”

Republican attempts to mobilize their political base at the expense of women’s health and well-being are certainly nothing new. And the conventional wisdom has long held that anti-choice policies help motivate Republicans to the polls. Just this week, an attack ad is taking aim at U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier for voting against an abortion ban.

But the evidence is growing that these extremist politicians — by promising to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion entirely — are overplaying their hand. …

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With the Republican National Convention upon us, it’s fair to predict we’ll be hearing all sorts of negative and misleading information about abortion. So as we prepare ourselves for the onslaught of everything from general misinformation to outright lies and threats, I’d like to take a moment to clarify five of the lies that need to be exposed, once and for all:

  1. LIE: Women choose to have abortions because they’re reckless and don’t care about children. At Trust Women, around 70 percent of our patients are already parents, which is higher than the national average of 60 percent. Anti-abortion politicians are notorious for shaming and stigmatizing women for seeking abortion care, but the number one reason our patients choose to end their pregnancies is because they want to be the best parents they can be for their children. …

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The Supreme Court’s ruling in June Medical Services striking down a Louisiana law intended to shut down clinics was a surprise victory for a reproductive rights movement that had been bracing for the worst.

The feeling of relief ended abruptly less than two weeks later, when the Court upheld a Trump administration rule allowing employers to opt out of covering contraception in their employees’ insurance plans due to religious or moral objections.

Access to abortion and reproductive care have come under sustained assault from politicians across the country who continue to devise new and ever more draconian ways to deny people care. Each year, people’s access to abortion becomes more and more dependent on their geographical location or their income — with the greatest burdens falling on women of color and those in rural communities. …

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Decision holds admitting privilege law to be unconstitutional

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2020

CONTACT: Laura Swinford, laura@gpsimpact.com

WICHITA — The Supreme Court, in June Medical Services v. Russo, struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, which effectively eliminated access to abortion care and harmed patients’ health. The decision, consistent with the precedent established in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, affirmed that admitting privileges laws are unconstitutional because they shut down clinics without providing any health or safety benefits to patients.

Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women, which operates clinics providing abortion care in Wichita and Oklahoma City, made the following statement in response to today’s…

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For the past few weeks, everyone in the reproductive rights movement has been on pins and needles awaiting a momentous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

At issue is a medically unnecessary “admitting privileges” law enacted by Louisiana in a thinly-veiled attempt to close clinics and push care out of reach. Everyone knows these laws are a sham and just four years ago the Supreme Court agreed. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court ruled that an identical law in Texas was unconstitutional and failed to provide any health or safety benefits to patients.

The pending decision in June Medical Services v. Russo will determine whether states will have the green light to effectively push abortion care out of reach or whether the Supreme Court will again recognize these laws for what they are: unconstitutional attempts to bully women, shutter clinics and deny people care. …

Each year during this time, we grieve the loss Dr. George Tiller, my hero and mentor, who provided abortion care to families from not only the Wichita community, but from around the world.

Dr. Tiller understood that people need help every once in a while and that decisions about pregnancy, as with the totality of life, can be complicated and challenging. He helped people grapple with those difficult decisions with compassion and empathy. He helped people so that their hopes and dreams could come true.

Dr. Tiller did not set out to become an abortion provider, he even resisted following in his father’s footsteps and held out on taking over the family’s medical practice. But when he learned that his father had been quietly providing safe abortions years before the procedure was legal in Kansas, he realized there was an urgent need for women in his community and across the country. …

This is an incredibly difficult time for so many families and communities, but your support over the past couple of weeks has truly meant the world to us.

Whether you sent a kind note on social media, joined us for a virtual event or contributed a few hard-earned dollars to keep our clinic doors open — from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

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We’ll never stop fighting for access to essential reproductive health care — and we know you won’t either.

Trust Women supporters from across the country are stepping up like never before to defend our hard-won rights.

Meanwhile, we’re doing everything we can to continue providing care by adapting to this new normal. …

About

Julie Burkhart

Founder and CEO of TrustWomen.org

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