By Jessica Morandi

Hey hey hey, folks! I hope this week has been better for you personally than it has been for abortion rights — because ngl, it’s been worse than a Steve King Tinder hook-up for us. 

Tennessee is drowning in a shit bath right now. Republicans in the Volunteer state decided that a six-week ban wasn't hardcore enough for them — even though THAT bill failed because not all the Republicans are on board with having no exceptions for rape or incest. So what do they do? They decided to pitch an even WORSE bill: an abortion ban STARTING FROM CONCEPTION. It's exactly what it sounds like. Once you take a pregnancy test (or even like, THINK you’re pregnant), boom! You can't do anything about it! 

If you need a refresher, check out this week’s OSA (we talked about it Monday AND Tuesday because it’s just THAT messed up).

The craziest thing is that Tennessee lawmakers are defending this bill by claiming that a pregnancy is VIABLE as early as 8 DAYS after conception. This is their way of trying to effectively undercut Roe v. Wade without actually overturning it; the case guarantees a pregnant person’s right to get an abortion until the pregnancy is “viable” (ruled in that case to be *checks notes* 27 WEEKS). Reminder: medically speaking, viability means that a pregnancy can survive outside the womb.

The lawmakers pushing these kinds of bills will use literally any argument, no matter HOW ludicrous it is. This dude is justifying his failed bill’s lack of exceptions for rape and incest by saying that… because so many people have been born through rape and incest throughtout history… it’s cool for that to continue? And then THIS dude went on and on about how he REMEMBERS being in the womb to prove… I literally don’t even know LOL. I don’t think they’re making the strong case they think they are.

What’s maybe the funniest disgusting about Tennessee’s ban is how unpopular it is EVEN IN TENNESSEE ITSELF. A dope study (of all 50 states & a statistically significant sample) came out this week and confirmed what we’ve been saying: these extremist bans aren’t what the vast majority of Americans want. Only 21% of Tennessee residents support completely banning abortion (higher than the national average of 15% but still PRETTY DANG LOW), yet the state legislature is acting like they’re pushing Tennessee values. It’s never been more obvious that state REPRESENTATIVES — whose ONE JOB is to REPRESENT what their people want — are blatantly ignoring the preferences of their constituents. 

But hey, they’re just following this administration’s lead! Which brings us to the other shit shower that happened this week on a federal level. 

On August 19, clinics must swear their allegiance to a slimy gag rule that was recently imposed on the Title X program (which is intended to help low-income people afford birth control and reproductive healthcare). The new policy — which HHS is calling “the Final Rule,” melodramatic capitalization included — prohibits clinics that receive federal funding from NOT ONLY performing abortions in their facilities even using a separate funding source, BUT ALSO from referring patients to somewhere else that CAN provide abortions. I repeat: Healthcare providers can no longer provide healthcare to their patients, because the government says so.

This rule is ABHORRENT, not to mention the literal antithesis of what Title X was established to do. Groups like Planned Parenthood and Maine Family Planning who refuse to be bullied into lying to their patients are now being denied funding that could serve millions of patients in need, yet fake clinic groups like Obria who DON’T EVEN PROVIDE CONTRACEPTION have gotten hefty government grants. 

THIS IS NOT A DRILL. The federal government is actively valuing its staff’s personal ideologies over the good of the people that it’s supposed to serve. HHS has also OPENLY given up on science at this point. An example, you ask?? On their “Pregnancy Prevention” page, one of their three highlighted suggestions for effective birth control is NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING — which roughly translates to, “Either cross your legs or cross your fingers.” 

We could go on about HHS and their selfish spending for pages, but that’s enough trash for now. And it really IS awesome to have that survey out; it's a great resource to counter the jerks who think that extreme abortion bans have popular support, or even a decent amount of support. THEY DON'T. 

My parting words of wisdom to you, dear reader? If your rep isn’t fighting for what you (or your neighbors) believe in, vote ‘em out!