Texas *Still* Wants to Trap Abortion Seekers

On Oct. 23, three male Lubbock County commissioners approved an abortion trafficking ordinance making it unlawful to transport anyone seeking an abortion through the unincorporated area of Lubbock County—all thanks to tireless crusader Mark Lee Dickson, director of East Texas Right to Life and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, who is pushing to bring about the day when “abortion is considered a great moral, social and political wrong and is outlawed in every single state.”

Even Justice Brett Kavanaugh—certainly no fan of Roe—expressed the view in his concurring opinion in Dobbs that a state cannot bar its residents from cross-border abortion travel.

‘Comstocked’: How Extremists Are Exploiting a Victorian-Era Law To Deny Abortion Access

In June 2019, the all-male city council in Waskom, Texas, unanimously voted to make the tiny town of just 2,000 residents the nation’s first “sanctuary city for the unborn.” Characterizing fetuses as the “most innocent among us [who] deserve equal protection under the law,” the ordinance expressly bans abortion within its municipal boundaries. The man behind the ban, anti-abortion zealot and pastor Mark Lee Dickson, has since expanded his campaign to outlaw abortion “one city at a time” into at least six other states.

(This article originally appears in the Fall 2023 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

‘Babies Are Good. More Babies Are Better’: Pro-Natalism Takes Center Stage in Austin

On Dec. 1, 2023, the Natal Conference will be held in Austin, Texas. Promising to gather the “brightest minds in the world,” the conference is aimed at turning around the world’s “shrinking population,” which represents “the greatest population bust in human history.” The meeting will solidify links between the far right and right-wing influencers. Fiercely anti-feminist speakers will join them.

“It’s not surprising to see far-right folks, eugenicist types and white nationalists joining forces at a conference like this,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project on Hate and Extremism. “They have become bedfellows.’”

How Texas Plans to Trap Abortion Seekers

Anti-abortion activists and elected officials hope to keep abortion seekers walled in within the borders of their home states.

Today, Texas is home to approximately 50 sanctuary cities, and they have expanded into six other states, including the dreaded border state of New Mexico, which the Guttmacher Institute ranks as “very protective” of abortion rights, as well as the “protective” state of Illinois. If the campaign succeeds, those seeking cross-border abortion services may find their path out from under Texas’ draconian ban an increasingly risky one, especially if trafficking is defined to include the provision of financial assistance. 

Judge Kacsmaryk Embraces the ‘Pro-Woman, Pro-Life’ Anti-Abortion Fabrication

On April 7, in a decision replete with “junk science,” Texas federal district court judge Mathew Kacsmaryk issued an unprecedented ruling revoking the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone. The Supreme Court has since blocked his order while the appeal is pending—a somewhat hopeful sign, beyond the immediate benefit of mifepristone remaining available on the market for now—until there’s a final ruling on the merits of the case. But there is no way of knowing with certainty what the outcome of the case will be, and whether any elements of Kacsmaryk’s decision will remain standing as good law. 

We’re still far from the final word on what could ultimately be a legal advance of the religiously inspired ‘abortion regret’ narrative.

Idaho Makes ‘Abortion Trafficking’ a Crime—Going Further Than Any Other State in Limiting Teens’ Access to Abortion

After nearly 20 years of failed attempts to deter cross-border abortion travel by teens, anti-abortion lawmakers in Congress largely gave up the fight. However, last week’s victory in Idaho makes clear that their long sought-after goal of restricting cross-border abortion access has been resurrected in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. This first-of-its-kind law in the nation brings to fruition a long-standing goal of the anti-abortion movement—namely, preventing teens from cross-border access to abortion.

The ‘Anti-Life’ Implications of State Abortion Bans

In rural northern Idaho, Bonner General Hospital announced it had made the “difficult decision to discontinue providing obstetrical services.” Although the press release does not use the word “abortion,” there is no doubt it’s calling out the state’s lawmakers for enacting laws that “criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care.”

Medical providers say they are facing impossible situations that pit their ethical obligation to patients who are dealing with traumatic and dangerous pregnancy complications against the fear of lawsuits, loss of their medical licenses and incarceration.

Idaho Seeks to Redefine Assisting a Pregnant Minor to Obtain an Abortion as Human Trafficking

As if teens seeking to terminate a pregnancy in this bleak post-Roe landscape do not have enough obstacles to contend with, particularly in abortion-hostile states, Republican lawmakers in Idaho recently introduced House Bill 98, which would make it a crime to take a teen out of state for an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian. On Tuesday, the Idaho House voted 57-12 to advance the measure.

The right of teens to obtain an abortion without the knowledge or involvement of their parents has been constitutionally protected—at least until now.

Safe Haven Laws Were Never Supposed to Be an Alternative to Abortion

The case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has thrust safe haven laws back into the public spotlight. Safe haven laws ignore the very real risks and burdens associated with pregnancy and childbirth, particularly for vulnerable communities, and were never intended to be a literal alternative to abortion.

These laws ignore the very real risks and burdens associated with pregnancy and childbirth, particularly for vulnerable communities. They also represent an abandonment of “troubled young women” by “deciding that their deep-rooted problems can be saved by an after-the-fact, quick-fix solution.”