How abortion access and reproductive rights are playing out this election season

Published October 3, 2022 at 12:25 PM EDT
A group of protesters hold signs in support of reproductive freedom outside the Michigan State Capitol.
Jeff Kowalsky
AFP via Getty Images
Protesters gather outside the Michigan State Capitol, Sept. 7, 2022. Michigan's elections board rejected a voter initiative for the November ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

Echoes of the Dobbs decision

Leading up to the election, the NPR Network is sharing stories from communities across the country about abortion access and reproductive rights.

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As the impact of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization continues to unfold, it’s important to know how it affects people all around the country.

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Map: Abortion access across the United States

Posted September 30, 2022 at 11:50 AM EDT
Member Station Reports
From KCUR in Kansas City

A Kansas abortion clinic opened after the Roe decision. It has more patients than it can handle

Posted October 31, 2022 at 10:03 AM EDT

While Planned Parenthood Great Plains is experiencing greater demand for abortions than ever before, most patients will never set foot in their new Kansas City, Kansas, clinic. Right now, they can only accommodate 10% to 15% of people requesting appointments.

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From WSHU in Connecticut

Connecticut attorney general announces new legal protections for abortions

Posted October 31, 2022 at 10:00 AM EDT

Abortion providers say more than 75 out-of-state women, some from as far away as Texas, have sought abortion services in Connecticut, just in the past month.

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From Michigan Radio

Michigan's Proposal 3 would protect abortion rights but leave details unsettled

Posted October 31, 2022 at 9:54 AM EDT

Proposal 3 would enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution. If adopted, it would supersede a 1931 state law that would ban most abortions and punish abortion providers.

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WBEZ in Chicago

Poll: More than half of Illinois voters want abortion to stay legal

Posted October 21, 2022 at 8:39 AM EDT

As states around the country adopt stricter restrictions on abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, more than half of Illinois voters say abortion should remain legal here, according to a new WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times Poll.

About 52% of likely voters polled said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, with 36% saying it should be illegal, and 12% unsure.

With three weeks to go before the Nov. 8 general election, abortion has been a hot-button issue in races up and down the ballot, from governor to legislators to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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From KUT in Austin

With abortions banned, these Texans turned to permanent forms of birth control

Posted October 18, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT

In 2019, abortion was legal in Texas, and Brittanei Martinez was able to get one. Fast forward three years, and the procedure is no longer an option in the state for her or millions of other Texans. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturnedRoe v. Wade this summer, Texas’ so-called “trigger law” went into effect, banning all abortions, except in cases where the pregnant person's life is at risk.

The couple decided it was time to kickstart the process of getting sterilized. Brittanei went on Reddit, where she found a page dedicated to people who are childfree. The page had a list of doctors across the country who perform sterilization procedures on people who don’t have children.

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From WLRN in Miami

A county's decision to move student athlete health information online has led to an outcry over reproductive privacy

Posted October 14, 2022 at 3:38 PM EDT

Florida student athletes must report any medical conditions to their schools before registering to play for the season. They’re required to fill out a detailed annual physical form with a physician, which is then submitted to athletic directors.

But this year, Palm Beach County Public Schools decided to move these forms online — including a section about menstrual history. Those questions are not mandatory, but the move has raised concern among parents.

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From WWNO in New Orleans

This Congressional candidate uses video of her giving birth in an ad criticizing Louisiana's near-total abortion ban

Posted October 4, 2022 at 12:51 PM EDT

In a new ad released Monday, a pregnant Katie Darling poses on her family farm with her husband and daughter. The video then follows Darling as she drives to the hospital, labors in bed, and as her newborn son is placed on her chest for the first time. The ad ends on an image of Darling in a hospital bed, nursing her new son, Ollie, who was born in September.

Darling is running against U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, an anti-abortion politician and the House Republican Whip, in Louisiana’s 1st Congressional district, located in the southeastern part of the state.

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From The Midwest Newsroom and Side Effects Public Media

Abortion bans could have far-reaching impacts on the Black community in the Midwest

Posted October 3, 2022 at 4:14 PM EDT

Maternal mortality rates nationwide for Black women are already three times higher than what they are for white women, a disparity that persists across education levels. A peer-reviewed study published last year predicted the rate of Black women who would die from pregnancy-related causes would increase 33% in the years following a total abortion ban, compared to just 21% for the general population.

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From SDPB in South Dakota

In their first debate, candidates for Governor of South Dakota weigh in on abortion rights

Posted October 3, 2022 at 3:55 PM EDT

South Dakota’s trigger law was passed in 2005. Lawmakers proposed similar bans to the trigger in 2006 and 2008. Voters rejected both proposals.

During the first gubernatorial debate for the 2022 midterm election, Republican Gov. Noem declined to say whether she would support exemptions for rape or incest.

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From WITF in Harrisburg, PA

Planned Parenthood clinics in central Pennsylvania are seeing more out-of-state patients

Posted October 3, 2022 at 3:35 PM EDT

Before the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion and abortion became illegal or more restricted in many states, York’s Planned Parenthood clinic tended to see one or two out-of-state patients a month, according to clinic manager Wendy Leonhart.

But after that ruling at the end of June, the clinic has seen 21 out-of-state patients.

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From WESA in Pittsburgh

In 2019, he said women should face murder charges for abortions obtained against state law. Now, he's the GOP candidate for governor

Posted September 30, 2022 at 3:56 PM EDT

In 2019, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano was co-sponsoring a proposal that would prohibit abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

After an interview resurfaced, during which the-now GOP candidate for governor, agreed women should be charged with murder if they were to violate the proposed ban, Mastriano campaign wouldn't say if still holds that belief.

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From WFYI in Indianapolis

The Satanic Temple is challenging Indiana abortion ban in federal court

Posted September 30, 2022 at 2:16 PM EDT

The Satanic Temple has filed a federal lawsuit arguing Indiana’s recent abortion ban violates constitutional and religious freedoms.
The lawsuit was filed against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Todd Rokita, on behalf of multiple anonymous “involuntarily pregnant women.”

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From Boise State Public Radio in Idaho

The White House has called out the University of Idaho for cautioning staff against promoting abortion

Posted September 30, 2022 at 1:53 PM EDT

Earlier this week, The White House issued a statement criticizing an email the University of Idaho sent to employees cautioning against promoting abortions, including in classroom discussions.

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From KCUR in Kansas

For Kansas' Supreme Court Justices, November's election could come down to their views on reproductive rights

Posted September 30, 2022 at 1:48 PM EDT

Six of the seven Kansas Supreme Court Justices will be on the November ballot to keep their jobs. While retention elections usually fly under the radar, the fight over abortion could raise the stakes on Nov. 8.

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From WFYI in Indianapolis

Abortion bans leave telehealth providers to navigate murky legal territory

Posted September 30, 2022 at 11:39 AM EDT

The patchwork nature of abortion laws across the country has made the procedure harder for pregnant people to get — and for health care providers to give.

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