Pearl Ricks: Race and Privilege are Major Gatekeepers to Abortion Care

The recent June Medical Services vs. Russo decision safeguarded the right to abortion access for vulnerable communities in Louisiana—but it was a small victory in the larger battle for abortion rights and access. Ms. talked to Pearl Ricks, Executive Director of the Reproductive Justice Action Collective, about the June Medical decision and the gatekeeping of abortion in the U.S.—and who it affects most.

“People in the South want to be able to access abortions—whether they ever get one in their lives or not. But who are the louder voices? Who are the ones most adamantly going out and voting?”

The Weekly Pulse, July 19-24: Repealing the Hyde Amendment, School Openings Up in the Air

For The Weekly Pulse (a revisit of an old Ms. column!), we’ve scoured the most trusted journalistic sources—and, of course, our Twitter feeds—to bring you this week’s most important news stories related to health and wellness.

In this edition of The Weekly Pulse, we start by running-down the most recent findings, wins and attacks to reproductive health—then bring you the good news and (unfortunately) the bad, concerning the pandemic.

Compassionate Strangers Made My Abortion Happen

When I realized I needed an abortion, I didn’t realize that it would be a destination abortion. I didn’t realize how many barriers—how many people—would be in my way just so I could get the abortion I wanted, when I wanted it. But thankfully, with the help of complete strangers, I was able to get the abortion I wanted at 30 weeks.

I wonder what our society could look like if we all held a bit more empathy and grace for people like me, who have later abortions and no one to support us.

The Abortion Pill Mifepristone Just Became Easier to Get

Last week, a federal judge in Maryland issued an 80-page decision temporarily suspending enforcement of an FDA restriction on the abortion pill, forcing patients to make an unnecessary trip to their health care provider just to pick up the medication and sign a form. U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang ruled the FDA requirement of in-person visits during the pandemic imposes a “substantial obstacle” to abortion health care that is likely unconstitutional. Judge Chuang’s order allows patients to receive mifepristone from their doctors through the mail.