Author Archives: Pamela Merritt

#ShowMeRJ Activists to Sen. Onder – We’re Allergic to Your Regressive Prolife Politics

By Zoe Krause
Organizer 

Sen. Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County) serves as Assistant Majority Floor Leader and often touts his credentials as a doctor. His campaign website boasts an “RX for Missouri.” What Missourians have seen of this “prescription” is a lot of noise on persecuting abortion providers, making life harder for union workers and discriminating against LGBTQ+ people. Meanwhile real issues impacting Missourians’ lives go unaddressed by hypocritical state senators, things like: structural racism, lack of access to health care, and gun violence.

Sen. Onder is an allergist.

Missourians are highly allergic to his regressive prolife politics.

That’s why #ShowMeRJ activists took to Facebook and Twitter on September 7 to ask Onder some questions.

Missourians have been hurt by the misplaced and costly priorities of Bob Onder and his friends on the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life. At Reproaction, we’re starting to feel an itch coming on every time we hear somebody recite pro-life talking points about the so-called sanctity of life, while ignoring the crises Missourians face every day.

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When activists called Dr. Onder’s practice, they were told the office isn’t involved in his politics.

Sounds nice.

I wish Missourians could opt-out of Dr. Onder’s politics too!

Alas, there aren’t any allergy drugs that cover this; as a queer Missourian with a uterus, that option doesn’t seem to be on the table for me.

Still no word on whether Dr. Onder plans to pursue credentials in obstetrics or gynecology, but I’m not holding my breath. It seems he’s too busy working to restrict and shame Missourians who need abortion care.

Reproaction Launches #ShowMeRJ Digital Ad Campaign

Are you ready to see some accountability in Missouri?

Reproaction’s latest digital ad campaign demands accountability from members of Missouri’s Senate Interim Committee on the “Sanctity of Life.” The ads are targeting constituents in each Senator’s district, and will display on local and national news sites, Facebook, and Twitter. The campaign is scheduled to run through December 2016. Check out the first round of digital ads for this campaign below.

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Missouri’s Senate Interim Committee on the “Sanctity of Life” wasted time and taxpayer money on ridiculous hearings designed to persecute abortion providers. Meanwhile, the committee did nothing to address countless issues threatening the lives of Missourians everyday. Black women in Missouri are three times more likely to have a baby die before their first birthday than their white counterparts, Missourians who work full time can’t afford to provide for their families because the minimum wage is ridiculously low, far too many of us face sky-high rates of gun violence, and there continue to be racial disparities in policing practices.

It’s time that Missouri lawmakers claiming to value the “sanctity of life” be held accountable for wasting time and money persecuting abortion providers while doing nothing to address the real life and death issues Missourians face.

Join us and demand members of the MO Senate Interim Committee on the “Sanctity of Life” take the pledge to STOP wasting time and money and START doing real work!

#ShowMeRJ!

Where Is the Pro-Life Movement on Purvi Patel?

 

By Maria Peeples
Communications Associate

On July 22, the Indiana Court of appeals issued a decision in the case of Purvi Patel, who has been serving time in prison after suffering a miscarriage in July of 2013. Purvi was originally convicted of both feticide and neglect of a child after ending her pregnancy outside of a medical setting. This set a dangerous precedent for the treatment of pregnant people nationwide. In May 2016, she appealed her sentence, and her feticide charge was vacated last month. The decision stated, “The legislature did not intend for the feticide statute to apply to illegal abortions or to be used to prosecute women for their own abortions.” This is important. She is still sitting in prison facing a new sentence for class D felony neglect of a dependent, however, and Indiana is still one of 38 states with feticide laws on the books that are being interpreted to punish women, particularly poor women and women of color, for their pregnancy outcomes. How did we get here?

Many people remember when Donald Trump told reporter Chris Matthews “there has to be some form of punishment” in March. He was referring to women who have abortions. Pro-life organizations and leaders were quick to distance themselves from his remarks, claiming that punishment for women is not what they are advocating for as they work to restrict abortion access. Trump’s comments may seem extreme, but they are not that far off from the impact the pro-life movement is having on women across the country.

What have March for Life, Students for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and Concerned Women for America had to say on the conviction of Purvi Patel? Absolutely nothing. Despite claims that they do not condone the punishment of women for terminating their pregnancies, pro-life organizations do not seem to be coming to the defense of Purvi, nor explaining how their continued assaults on abortion rights will ensure women do not go to prison for their reproductive choices.

When responding to Donald Trump’s comments, Students for Life went so far as to say that, “No one in the pro-life movement wants to punish women who have abortions,” a pretty bold statement to make when women are indeed currently being punished for the outcomes of their pregnancies, and the same leading pro-life organization is nowhere to be found:

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Similarly, Susan B Anthony List, despite having stated that they’ve “Never advocated for the punishment of women who undergo abortion,” has failed to explain what they are doing to keep women like Purvi out of prison. On April 21 of this year, Reproaction held a vigil outside of Susan B Anthony List’s annual gala, asking supporters to explain their silence on the criminalization of women like Purvi, only to be met with more silence. It seems as though their initial quickness to condemn Trump’s comments was rooted more in a fear of the true pro-life agenda being exposed, because their actions are not living up to their claims.  This became especially clear when the group switched positions, rallying behind the Republican nominee believing he will “join them on the offense,” in the fight to eliminate access to abortion. The message is clear: the pro-life movement is not interested in protecting women from prison or even death. Rather, it is scrambling to save face as the consequences of their efforts, real human beings suffering greatly under restrictive barriers to abortion access, attempt to tell their stories and seek justice.

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Purvi Patel should be immediately released, and no woman should fear arrest for choosing abortion, suffering a miscarriage, or accessing medical care. The pro-life movement’s insistence on shutting down abortion clinics, restricting access to medication abortion, and stigmatizing an extremely safe and common medical procedure will only result in more women jailed and prosecuted for the outcomes of their pregnancies. If this is not the goal of the pro-life movement, they are having a hard time proving it.

 

 

 

Reproaction Act and Learn Webinar 8/2: Demystifying Abortion

Wondering what to expect when ending a pregnancy? Earlier this year, a Media Matters study found that in 15 months, Fox News aired 705 statements containing inaccurate abortion-related information, and CNN had three times the number of anti-choice as pro-choice guest appearances. Amidst a storm of skewed reporting, inaccurate media representations, and deliberate misinformation, where can we find trustworthy information that helps us make informed decisions about abortion and our reproductive wellbeing?

We’ll provide medically accurate and affirming information about abortion. We’ll also describe how pregnancy works, and what to expect when ending a pregnancy. This webinar is intended for anyone interested in learning about reproductive healthcare, including people who may be seeking abortion care.

Confirmed guest panelist:

Statement: Reproaction stands with Purvi Patel and applauds the court for dropping the feticide conviction

Today, the state of Indiana vacated Purvi Patel’s feticide charge. She has been serving 20 years in prison after ending her pregnancy outside a medical setting in July 2013. After an appeal hearing this May, the state has at long last concluded that, “The legislature did not intend for the feticide statute to apply to women who have abortions.”

Reproaction stands with Purvi Patel and applauds the court for dropping the feticide conviction. However, the court downgraded but did not drop the felony neglect of a dependent conviction, meaning that this case will continue in another court and that she continues to serve time in prison because she did not continue a pregnancy.

From the doctor who reported her when she presented at a hospital bleeding and asking for help to the prison cell she has been forced to call home for more than a year, Purvi Patel has endured gross violations of her civil and human rights.

This case is a clear and revolting example of the way that women, particularly poor women and women of color, are unjustly criminalized on the basis of pregnancy outcomes, including but not limited to self-induced abortion. Indiana is one of 38 states that currently has a feticide law on the books, and while Purvi’s prison time is shocking, the truth is that women who do not wish to be pregnant have been put into handcuffs and faced charges in state after state after taking matters into their own hands.

The pro-life movement has remained silent in the face of the criminalization of self-induced abortion because locking women up is the logical outcome of laws it has pushed for decades. Reproaction has methodically documented and taken direct action targeting pro-life leaders who had all the time in the world to issue denials to the press after Donald Trump suggested that women who have abortions should be punished, and yet have failed to walk the walk and denounce Purvi’s unjust imprisonment.

Reproaction demands Purvi Patel’s immediate release from prison and an end to all laws that criminalize abortion and pregnancy. We call upon Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) to be pro-life for real and release her immediately. The state of Indiana owes Purvi Patel a profound apology.