Episode 2 Show Page

Listen to “Ep. 2 On the Battlefront for Abortion Rights with Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America” on Spreaker.

Sign Up to Volunteer with NARAL: http://naral.org/ladyliberty

NARAL president Mini Timmaraju joins the hosts for a frank discussion on what will happen in a post-Roe world and what we can do about it. This episode features discussions on the differences between contraception and medication-based abortions and offers hopeful polling data and ways for you to get involved.

*Nothing discussed in this episode is to be construed as medical advice. None of the hosts nor the guest are medical professionals.

All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)

There’s a patchwork of laws and restrictions in this country. There’s not one uniform abortion policy state by state, which is the challenge when Roe falls.

Mini Timmaraju (15:06)

In this episode:

Learn about the podcast guest and NARAL (05:48)
The pre-Roe world and post-Roe criminalization (07:02)
How criminalization impacts patients seeking abortions and anyone who helps them (15:53)
The differences between the morning after pill and medical abortion pills (19:04)
What NARAL does and how you can get involved (23:14)
Some of the latest midterm polling results in relation to abortion access (28:10)
Lady Liberty is V.E.R.Y. Pissed’s partnership with NARAL (28:57)

Betty Spence Opens the Show

Betty is V.E.R.Y. pissed about what happened this past week in Oklahoma, where their state legislature banned abortions all the way back to conception.

Gloria Feldt touches on a fact we should all keep in mind: 2/3rds of Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade, which flies in the face of what a lot of people believe because the other 1/3rd who oppose abortion make quite a bit of noise. 

The Pre-Roe World

After a brief introduction, Mini talks about back-alley abortions, dangerous procedures, illegal abortions, and people leaving the country to get access. In more than 20 states, abortions will be banned or severely restricted if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In 13 states, there are trigger laws, which mean that those bans will take effect as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned.

However, since there are states that will be providing safe and legal abortions, a lot of women will have access to abortions in other states, whether surgical or medication abortions. Thus, the back-alley abortion fear has been replaced by criminalization fear. Many of these state bills include prosecutorial implications for patients and doctors who provide procedures or medications. It also has huge implications for miscarriage management, since many procedures and medications can be used in both miscarriages and abortions. Some women will die, but many more will be subject to criminalization.

Gloria again points out that even with some states providing services, there are huge barriers to access, and thus vulnerable populations are even more marginalized. Barriers in the form of language access, information access, and financial access will prohibit a lot of people from traveling to other states.

Most people who have abortions already have children, which means leaving the state means they also have to line up childcare. The states that do offer services may have waiting periods, so patients may need to go back and forth several times.

Anti-Abortion Laws are Getting More Extreme

Mini discusses how the past years’ whittling away of reproductive rights that are not based in science have already restricted abortion access for a lot of people. Layering that with this moment where the Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade creates the perfect storm for a lot of challenges for a lot of people.  

Sherrye also brings up that enforcement have specific provisions for not only at the patients seeking abortions, but also any providers and pharmacists that help those patients. Additionally, anyone “aiding and abetting” someone looking to get care, such as driving them to a different state, can also be penalized under a lot of these new state laws.

“For every proposed solution to get people care, citizens see a new proposed restriction.”

Mini Timmaraju (16:49)

These restrictions make physicians hesitant to perform these services. In states with heavy restrictions, many physicians come in a few days a month and offer services, and then they return home. This means that it’s incredibly difficult to get appointments, just because of limited capacity. Read this NPR article about how clinics in Wisconsin and Illinois teamed up.

Abortion providers have always faced violence in the workplace. Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in 2009, and many abortion providers expect harassment and violence against clinics to continue and for that to escalate.

Conflating Contraception and Medical Abortions*

*Nothing discussed in this episode is to be construed as medical advice. None of the hosts nor the guest are medical professionals.

Mini discusses how Plan B is a pill taken immediately after a sex act with insufficient contraception methods (broken condom, etc) which may result in a pregnancy. It prevents implantation of a fertilized egg, if there is one. Plan B is a type of contraception.

In contrast, abortion pills are two-part series of pills that creates situation in the body that evacuates a pregnancy that is in process. It is a medically induced non-surgical option for terminating a pregnancy.

However, there has been a lot of confusion about these two different pills, which is due in large part to the coordinated effort by the anti-abortion movement. This well-funded deliberate campaign of disinformation has conflated normal birth prevention methods, morning-after emergency contraception such as Plan B, and medication-induced abortions. This has led to an under-informed populace about what contraceptive and abortion options are available and how to access them.

How NARAL Can Help Voters Plan for the November 8th Midterm Elections

NARAL is an advocacy organization, not a health care provider. They provide endorsements in elections to ensure that voters can elect pro-choice candidates and then hold them accountable after they’re in office. NARAL also lobbies to them to ensure that the policies and procedures in place are helpful to those seeking abortions. NARAL is also active in judicial nominations, which is very important in today’s climate.

Achieving a supermajority in Congress is critical, and the midterm elections are crucial in ensuring that Democrats can have 52 senators on the floor who could stop the filibuster, which is a tool that is used to block a lot of action that has already passed in the House of Representation.

Congressional Republicans have committed to consider a nationwide six-week abortion ban, which would impact everyone, regardless of the state. It’s crucial that Americans don’t allow the country to that point, and so the midterms in November will help prevent a Republican supermajority in the Senate.

Reproductive access consistently polls as one of the top three issues for Democratic voters, and it also polls nationwide as a top concern for all voters, not just Democrats. Abortion can be a winning issue in the midterm elections.

See Gallup’s in-depth breakdown of their polls on abortion.

Turning Outrage to Action

One of the main goals of this podcast is to mobilize voters in the midterm elections in support of voting rights, equal rights, and reproductive rights. According to this Perry Undem poll:

“A SCOTUS ruling is likely to be more mobilizing than deflating to voters. More than one-third of respondents (37%) say they’d feel more likely to participate in the midterms as a result of a ruling that allows bans on abortion, compared to four percent saying they’d feel less likely to vote. Thirty-seven percent say that a restrictive SCOTUS decision would affect who they’d vote for in the upcoming elections. Among them, 75% say they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights and access (22% say they’d be more likely to vote for an anti-abortion candidate). Voters across every demographic group, including white men and those in rural areas, are more likely to say they’d move toward a candidate in favor of, rather than against, abortion rights.” (pg. 8)

We have to take advantage of the bad news to get some wins.

– Mini Timmaraju (28:50)

Sherrye asks Mini to discuss the podcast’s partnership with NARAL and how to sign up and what they can expect when they sign up to volunteer.

NARAL is also running the Fight Back for our Freedom campaign on their website.

Listeners should know that eight of 10 Americans support abortion access. Those who support reproductive self-determination are the majority, and it is time for everyone to start acting like it.

More than Elected Officials – Key Ballot Initiatives Impact Abortion Access

Statewide races are critical from the governors, attorneys general, and even district attorneys are all critical to protecting access at each level of government. But more than that, five states will have ballot initiatives where citizens can vote directly on issues relating to reproductive rights.

NARAL is also working on grassroots activation around ballot initiatives where voters can secure abortion access at the ballot box. For example, Kansas currently has constitutional protection for abortion access, and in the Republican primary in August, there is a ballot initiative to revoke that constitutional protection. Kansans should vote NO to preserve abortion access.

*Update: On Aug. 2, 2022, Kansans voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion rights in their state constitution.

In Michigan, a ballot initiative may codify reproductive rights into their state constitution, which would be a protective measure.

NARAL volunteers will be plugged into grassroots efforts to educate voters and get them ready for the 2022 midterm elections. The primaries for these elections are happening soon!

Betty breaks down exactly what is at stake for women in this country: (34:06)

“Half of our population is going to have restrictions placed on their bodies. Access to your own body is going to be dependent on the state you live in and your financial ability to travel. Women are going to lose the control over their own lives. This could be a one-issue election for voters across the country, and it should be given what’s at stake.”

Gloria adds on that while it’s important to be pissed and to rise up, but there is have hope and belief that pro-choice Americans will prevail.

*Mini is not a physician, and any discussion of medication and procedures is not to be construed as medical advice.

Mini Timmaraju

Mini Timmaraju (she/her) is a seasoned campaigner, skilled coalition-builder, high-impact organizer, and talented organizational leader with over 20 years of experience leading federal, state and local campaigns, as well as advocacy efforts around reproductive rights, gender justice, and racial justice.

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