Author: Charlotte Baron

The News about Primary Day 2023!

Primaries are being held
in the following Westchester County Jurisdictions:
The Westchester County Board of Legislators
2 Democratic Primary Contests
District 11 (Pelham, Pelham Manor & parts of New Rochelle)
Candidates: Terry Clements, Ximena Francella

Both candidates are rated A+/100% Pro-Choice
Incumbent Terry Clements voted for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Facilities Access Act.
Ximena Francella is a Planned Parenthood Action Fund Board Member.

District 16 (parts of Yonkers)
Candidates: Christopher (“Chris”) Johnson, Shanae Williams

Incumbent Chris Johnson voted for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Facilities Access Act and to Ban Conversion Therapy.
His Opponent Shanae Williams has no legislative record on these issues. (more…)

Positive Change! Introducing CATCH!

There is a lot of news in the world of abortion rights, and much of it is not good.

But last Thursday was GREAT!

Choice Matters stood with NYS Attorney General James to announce a lawsuit against Red Rose Rescue clinic invaders in NYS. We were at the Planned Parenthood in Hempstead, NY.

And Choice Matters introduced the world to CATCH (Center for Analysis and Tracking of Clinic Harassers). CATCH does the research behind lawsuits like this one.

CATCH is making a real difference in real time to protect providers and patients! 

CATCH is a new, unique, national resource center which tracks anti-abortion terrorists. It compiles strategic resources for clinics and is showcasing legal strategies to successfully halt harassers from violent attacks. CATCH will provide a road map for law enforcement and prosecutors to effectively hold these violent offenders responsible to the fullest extent of the law. It will also provide information useful in the defense of legislative challenges by attorneys working to reverse reproductive justice laws.

Please watch these two links:
AG James announcing the lawsuit.
Catherine Lederer-Plaskett explaining the impact of the lawsuit and CATCH’s key work.

CATCH is making a seismic difference at a critical time.

Last week was a bad week for women

Staying alert makes you a better voter, a better advocate.

Last Week’s Bad News

Last Wednesday, the case to ban mifepristone nationwide was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Considered to be one of the most conservative in the country, the court has consistently ruled against the Biden Justice Department.

The outcome before the 5th Circuit looks bleak. The three-court panel was exceedingly “unfriendly”, verging on snarky, to attorneys representing the Justice Department and mifepristone distributor Danco Laboratories. In contrast, they were welcoming to attorneys for the plaintiffs, a coalition of anti-abortion national medical associations under the umbrella of the “Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine” plus several doctors.

This case started in Texas and was heard by a Trump-appointed U.S. district court judge, who decided to outlaw mifepristone—one of the two pills in medication abortion. It made its way through the 5th Circuit to the US Supreme Court, which sent it back to the 5th Circuit.

Before sending it back, the Supreme Court did preserve access to mifepristone, and thus to medication abortion, by freezing both lower-court rulings while the appeals are being heard. (Justices Thomas and Alito dissented.)

Mifepristone has been used safely in combination with misoprostol to terminate pregnancies since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 23 years ago. It has been approved in 90 other countries. More than half of U.S. abortions are medication abortions.

As reported in The New York Times: “The case is the most important abortion-related dispute to reach the high court since the justices overturned Roe v. Wade, triggering conservative states across the country to either ban or severely restrict the procedure. How the dispute over medication abortion is ultimately resolved could make it more difficult for women to obtain abortion, even in the states that still allow it.”

The plaintiffs’ goal is to end access to medication abortion nationwide.

It is expected that this case will ultimately return to the US Supreme Court for a decision.

Anti-choice extremists are seeking to use the 1873 Comstock Law to block the distribution of medication abortion through the mail.  Passed at a time that America was obsessed with a puritanical morality, the long-dormant Comstock Law forbade the mailing of pornography, obscene literature, contraceptives and abortifacients. Women’s advocacy organizations have been seeking the repeal of this law for years.

In Texas, on April 7, 2023, US District Judge Kacsmaryk resurrected the 150-year-old Comstock Law when deciding to outlaw mifepristone. If it is allowed to stay on the books, the impact could be devastating. Imagine if the Comstock Law is used to prohibit the mailing of medication abortion pills. Hundreds of thousands of women in states where abortion access is extremely limited and/or who live in rural areas will not have access to abortion care.

It won’t matter what governor is stockpiling pills. We won’t be able to distribute them. These decisions directly impact New York State.

Abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy will be banned in North Carolina as of July 1, 2023.

On May 4th, the legislation sped through Republican-controlled legislature, along a party-line vote. The Democratic Governor vetoed it, and, on May 16th, the GOP legislature overrode his veto.

South Carolina is, the last safe haven in the southeast, moving closer to a near total abortion ban.

Every year you vote for candidates for Family, County, and Supreme Court, along with candidates for other offices. It is important to remember that just because a candidate adds a “D” after their name does not mean they are “pro-choice”.

Learn as much as you can. All candidates, including judges, try to move up the ladder to higher office. Every candidate and every office matters.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: SCOTUS & Medication Abortion

Yesterday the US Supreme Court decided to stay a ruling to restrict mifepristone, leaving access and legal standing UNCHANGED for now.
This is a “stay,” not a “decision.” Medication abortion is still in jeopardy. This case is certain to come back to the Supreme Court.
And there are already new lawsuits heading toward the Supreme Court challenging abortion protections, even in states—including New York—where abortion is currently legal.
Anti-choice extremists didn’t stop with Roe, and they won’t stop here. Will you help Choice Matters fight back—for medication abortion rights and all the other reproductive rights that are now under threat?
They will keep going until they have secured a national abortion ban, and the threat to abortion goes far beyond this case alone. We cannot wait until 2024 to take action.
This is the same Supreme Court that struck down Roe in 2022. Two justices, Thomas and Alito, have already shown how they would rule in their dissenting opinion yesterday.
That’s why we’re moving forward, fighting back at every level of government.
Will you help with an emergency donation to help combat anti-abortion disinformation and save access to the abortion pill mifepristone?
This week, Choice Matters had a huge win in Albany. While we were all focused on the Supreme Court, we were also keeping our eye on SUNY and CUNY students.Several years ago, Choice Matters pledged to make medication abortion available on college campuses throughout the state—and this week that promise got a lot closer to being a reality. A bill passed in both the NYS Senate and Assembly requiring medication abortion to be accessible to all students on SUNY and CUNY campuses. We now look to the Governor to sign this into law!

Starting Friday – Medication Abortion Banned in New York


Last Friday, one single federal court judge in Texas blocked access to medication abortion for all women. He decided in favor of an extremist anti-choice group and against the FDA and millions of women across the country. This Trump appointee outlawed the use of medication abortion’s key drug, mifepristone. This ban is scheduled to go into effect on April 14th. He made his decision on trumped up claims that have no foundation in medicine. Mifepristone was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. It is safe.

Within hours, another ruling came out – this time from a federal judge in Washington State. This ruling basically stated that mifepristone is safe and that the FDA should continue its distribution as is – BUT it only applies to the 17 states that joined the case. New York is NOT one of those states. 

Regardless of these warring decisions, on Friday, April 14th, medication abortion – which makes up 53% of all abortions in the United States – will be illegal in New York. Only a stay from the ultra conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could stop this. This may find its way to the US Supreme Court.

This means that, starting Friday, everyone seeking abortion care in New York (and New Jersey) will need to have a medical procedure, rather than the process known as medication abortion facilitated by taking 2 pills up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The only real recourse is to elect a prochoice trifecta in 2024 – which means taking the majority in the House of Representatives and Senate, and keeping a prochoice president in the White House.
We need to stop relying on a broken court system, and instead pass abortion rights into law nationally. Help us elect prochoice leaders to Congress.

Invest in our future with a donation to Choice Matters NOW.

Help us take control away from extremist judges by electing prochoice candidates to Congress who will pass the laws we need.

Abortion: An Essential Service?

By Charlotte Baron

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, officials have issued a rule that all “elective” surgeries, as well as non-essential medical, surgical and dental procedures should be delayed to preserve personal protective equipment, beds, and ventilators. Now, around the country, women wait as individual states debate whether abortion is an “essential” service or not. Instead of addressing abortion as time sensitive and a part of healthcare, too many state governments and anti-choice activists are using the pandemic as a means of advancing an anti-abortion agenda.

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care. It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible.”

There is radical opposition to that medical view from anti-abortion advocates. For example, in Ohio and Texas abortion clinics are being directed to be shut down during the pandemic. Ohio Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson sent letters to three abortion clinics ordering them to “immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient.” (This definition fails to address the reason for the abortion.) Officials at Women’s Med Center in Dayton and Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio said they would continue to provide abortion care despite State Republicans trying to stop surgical abortion procedures. The clinics responded publicly by stating that abortion is essential and they are complying with state orders to stop nonessential surgeries.

Texas is another state that is labeling abortion as nonessential. Texas Governor and anti-abortion zealot Greg Abbott declared that most abortions will be put “on hold” until at least April 21.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “that anyone failing to comply with the Governor’s executive order faces fines up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.”

As of now, there are still several states that have labeled abortion as an essential service and will continue providing them. New York State is one of the states that recognizes abortion is an essential procedure. All Women’s Health and Medical Services and Planned Parenthood are both on the front lines keeping patients and medical staff safe while serving a vital medical need. Meera Shah, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood in Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland – three of the hardest hit areas by the coronavirus – stated that Planned Parenthood’s doors remain open. They are following the protocol recommended by the CDC and the Department of Health. As described in The New York Clinics, All Women’s Health and Planned Parenthood are screening patients before treating them, limiting the number of people allowed in the waiting room and making sure they are six feet apart. All family, friends or clinic escorts must wait outside until the appointment is over.

It is clear that as more anti-choice state governments use the pandemic as an excuse to limit access to abortion, women’s health will suffer.