Fighting back on the Dobbs abortion decision -- and a few more challenges

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While the nation reels at the duplicity of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees under oath ("Roe is settled law") and the pent-up, vengeful Dobbs opinion authored by Alito overturning Roe, Larry Hogan keeps playing his games.

Maryland, which put abortion rights into law via referendum years ago, has shaped a role as a sanctuary state for those who need reproductive health care but live in medieval states. West Virginia and Virginia residents may soon need the sanctuary; Pennsylvania is a maybe.

But Hogan, playing footsie with GOP orthodoxy while still trying to present the Facebook-fueled Good Guy Larry persona that got him stealth-elected twice, refuses to release properly appropriated funds intended to prepare Maryland’s health care system for the rough times to come.

 

More about the fight against Dobbs, up-n-down news on gun safety, and a big step on overdose prevention -- also in News You Can Use this week.



While the nation reels at the duplicity of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees under oath ("Roe is settled law") and the pent-up, vengeful opinion authored by Alito overturning Roe, Larry Hogan keeps playing his games.

Maryland, which put abortion rights into law via referendum years ago, has shaped a role as a sanctuary state for those who need reproductive health care but live in medieval states. West Virginia and Virginia residents may soon need the sanctuary; Pennsylvania is a maybe. But Hogan, playing footsie with GOP orthodoxy while still trying to present the Facebook-fueled Good Guy Larry persona that got him stealth-elected twice, refuses to release properly appropriated funds intended to prepare Maryland’s health care system for the rough times to come.

Fighting back against the Dobbs decision – which appears to be dividing the nation between sanctuary and Handmaids states – takes many forms. As noted above, Maryland is one of the states that has consciously positioned itself as a sanctuary for those from states placing barriers to reproductive rights. Individuals may alsoi join the many who are flocking to help abortion funds, long a provider of support in both welcoming and restrictive states. They have their limits, as we see in this roundup from The Conversation. But the more support they get, the more those limits will relax.

Medicalized pregnancy termination amounts to half of all terminations in the US now, and that is likely also to climb as states clamp down. President Joe Biden has declared on behalf of the Justice Department that states may not block USPS mail on the basis of local law, though that is likely to take up a huge amount of the judicial system’s oxygen as draconian state laws hit their human rights limits. As state trigger laws take effect, medicalized termination may be restricted in theory. But providers outside the US have furnished the medications and say they will continue to do so out of reach of state law.

Health Affairs reports that hardcore prohibition states may attempt increasingly savage – and possibly unconstitutional – measures to prevent telehealth and medicalized termination, including bounty hunter laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is suing to prevent a century-old prohibition from being revived in her state, said on a Sunday talk show: “This is a fight-like-hell moment.” In Michigan, signatures are being collected for a ballot initiative that would put reproductive rights in the state constitution – a strong possibility in Maryland, as well; the General Assembly leadership decided to put that on hold until a future session but events may overtake them..

Public opinion appeared to swing immediately against the Dobbs decision. The NYT reported “A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted immediately after the court handed down its decision shows that Americans considered it a “step backward” for the nation by more than a 20 percentage-point margin.

“Nearly 60 percent of Americans and two-thirds of women disapproved of the ruling, the poll said. Fifty-eight percent said they would approve of a federal law making abortion legal.”

Yes, there is other news requiring our attention. SCOTUS earlier last week loosened still more the few regulatory avenues for keeping guns out of killers’ hands but Congress passed, and Biden signed, a very modest gun law reform that could be a bipartisan breakthrough on the critical subject. As Megan Essaheb of People’s Action reports this (Monday) morning, 15 Senate Republicans voted for the bill while only 14 House Republicans did. From the NYTimes: ‘The gun legislation will expand the background check system for prospective gun buyers under the age of 21, giving authorities up to 10 business days to examine juvenile and mental health records. It sets aside millions of dollars so states can fund intervention programs, such as mental health and drug courts, and carry out so-called red flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from any person found by a judge to be too dangerous to possess them. 

‘It pours more federal money into mental health resources in communities and schools across the country, and it sets aside millions for school safety. The legislation also toughens laws against the trafficking of guns and straw purchasing, the practice of buying a gun on behalf of someone barred from purchasing one. And for the first time, it includes serious or recent dating partners in a ban on domestic abusers buying firearms, tightening what is known as the boyfriend loophole.’ ” 

 Essaheb has a little more good news: “The Overdose Crisis Cohort won House passage of the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, which they have been advocating for for two years! Now on to the Senate!” What can Marylanders do? “Help the Overdose Crisis Cohort get Senate cosponsors by sharing our action portal ."