by Megan Burbank
In the days after the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back national protections for abortion access in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health last year, I heard panicky speculation about what would come next: criminalizing people for their pregnancy outcomes. I have bad news, I thought grimly. That was already happening. It’s not going to be new. It’s going to be worse.
Continue reading Emerging Data Shows Pregnant People Face a Greater Risk of Prosecution Without Roe — And Not Just For Abortion
by Megan Burbank
Last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the right to an abortion through Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, speculation swirled as to how the decision would impact abortion access. But it was difficult to capture meaningful data in the immediate aftermath: Abortion rates shift seasonally, and they were already on the rise in states like Washington in the years before Dobbs, largely because of restrictive abortion laws that have propagated throughout conservative-controlled state legislatures since Roe v. Wade was first decided.
Now, emerging data on the fallout from Dobbs is getting clearer: What was already a national crisis in maternal health among Americans has been catalyzed by the loss of Roe, according to physicians responsible for providing pregnancy care across the country, both in states with abortion bans and broader access to care. From March 17 to May 18, health policy organization KFF surveyed 569 obstetrician-gynecologists about their experiences after Dobbs and released the results of its national survey on June 21. Here are the major takeaways from the report — and what they could mean for the Pacific Northwest.
Continue reading OB-GYNs Say Dobbs Has Harmed Their Capacity to Provide Care and Deepened Health Disparities
by Megan Burbank
On a sunny Saturday a year after Roe v. Wade was overturned, representatives from service providers and community organizations — everyone from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to the Girl Scouts — stood behind tables lining a path at Tacoma’s Wright Park, steps from an array of picnic-table birthday parties, a congested playground and adjacent splash pad, and a botanical conservatory and foliage drawing yellow butterflies. Anyone who happened to stroll along could stop by to sign up for cash or food assistance, learn about accessing medical care through Medicaid, or just grab a lollipop. You wouldn’t know by the look of it that the event, the Grit City Community Resource Fair, was crafted as a response to crisis pregnancy centers, right-wing-operated groups that offer nominal resources, like free pregnancy testing, as part of a coordinated agenda to dissuade people from having abortions.
Continue reading OPINION | South Sound Reproductive Health Activists Debunk False Promises of Crisis Pregnancy Centers
by Megan Burbank
Even before the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision leaked a year ago, Washington State lawmakers established new and strengthened protections for abortion access, shielding providers and patients from prosecution and protecting private health information not covered under HIPAA. Though the impact of Dobbs will likely not be fully understood for years or even decades, recent developments nationwide show how critical Washington’s protective policies are.
Continue reading OPINION | In Recent Years, Washington Expanded Abortion Access. Now We Know How Important That Is
Creators Made the Emerald Shine in 2022
by Marti McKenna
The Emerald will be observing a team-wide wellness pause from Dec. 15 to Jan. 2, and most publishing will be on hiatus, with the exceptions of four pieces, of which this is one, wherein editors look back at 2022 and some of the work that made the Emerald shine.
As an editor here at the Emerald, it brings me such joy to work with our contributing writers, photographers, and artists to bring you stories you won’t see anywhere else. I’m proud of the work we do, and I’m grateful to the community for responding to that work with the support that makes it possible. We couldn’t do this work without you. Thank you.
As I prepare to leave 2022 in the rearview mirror, I’m thankful for the opportunity to look back over the year and highlight a few pieces, among so many, that I was privileged to work on with Emerald contributors this year. Enjoy.
Continue reading 2022 Retrospective | Marti McKenna
If you appreciate the work that the Emerald does, please become a Rainmaker — and help us hit our goal of reaching 1,100 recurring contributors who help sustain us on a regular basis throughout each year!
by Ronnie Estoque
On June 24, protestors filled the streets of Downtown Seattle in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortions at the federal level. Prior to marching, protestors gathered outside of the Federal Building for a rally that was organized by the Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice (PSMRJ) — a growing coalition of groups and individuals initiated by Radical Women nationally to step up the defense of abortion rights. The event was also coordinated alongside other protests occurring in other cities across the U.S.
Continue reading Seattle Protests the Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade
by Megan Burbank
With Gov. Jay Inslee’s signoff, birth doulas in Washington State have established their work as a profession based on voluntary competency-based state certification, paving the way for reimbursement under Medicaid. ESHB 1881 passed both chambers in Olympia earlier this month, where it drew broad support, passing with a wide margin of 85–8, backing from both parties in the House, and unanimous support in the Senate, according to a media release from Surge Reproductive Justice, an organization backing the legislation. It was among a docket of bills Inslee signed into law on Wednesday, March 30, in a ceremony at the State Capitol streamed live on TVW.
Continue reading Washington Birth Doulas Advocated for a Pathway to Certification — and Won
by Heather Rosewarne
When I heard the news on September 21 that immigrant women at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia had their reproductive organs removed without consent, I was horrified then angry. I had spent the previous day in a conference about systemic racism in healthcare with a specific focus on violence against enslaved women in U.S. history. Currently, immigrants in detention are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect, but the reports of the reproductive violence in Georgia are particularly chilling.
I have lived and worked on the Texas-Mexico border in shelters with immigrant and refugee families. There I heard first-hand stories about people’s migration journeys such as leaving home because there was no work to support their families or because of gang violence in which their lives are threatened. People leave when situations are dire, traveling by foot, on buses or trains, with the hope of better opportunities elsewhere. In general, people flee their countries of origin because of extreme political and social instability, where many endure violence and persecution. Many migrants experience sexual violence along the journey and then suffer abuses while held prisoner in U.S. immigration facilities. Most of these people will be deported without fair legal access.
Over the last 15 years as a labor and delivery nurse in Seattle, I have cared for people giving birth as well as during emergencies and tragedies. Fundamental healthcare rights include making sure people understand what’s happening during their care, holding space for questions, using medical interpreters, getting consent, and giving access to pain medicine when needed. The fact that none of these basic healthcare rights were given to incarcerated people is heartbreaking. When people are given a consent to sign in medical jargon in a language they don’t understand or are coerced to make a decision by a medical authority, that is not proper informed consent.
Continue reading My Solidarity Vigil for the Immigrant Women Sterilized in Georgia