Emergency Podcast: What's Going On With All These Abortion Bans?


Over the past couple of weeks, state legislatures around the U.S. have been passing six week bans, otherwise known as “heartbeat bans”. These extreme and unconstitutional abortion laws seek to ban the legal procedure once a fetal heart tone in an embryo is detected, which can be as early as six weeks in pregnancy. Jessica Pieklo, Vice President of Law and Courts at Rewire.news and co-host of the Boom! Lawyered podcast, and Imani Gandy, Senior Legal Analyst with Rewire.news, co-host of the Boom! Lawyered podcast, and founder of Angry Black Lady Chronicles, talk to us about this emergency situation and why these “heartbeat bans” are so severe and dangerous.

The language that we use when talking about this recent bans is very important. The term “heartbeat ban” is a marketing tool used by anti-choice legislators to appeal to voter’s emotion rather than science and logic. At six weeks, an embryo has a fetal heart tone, or electric activity in the fetal pole.

Georgia recently passed a “fetal heartbeat ban,” which bans abortion at six weeks. This is before many people even know that they are pregnant. While the bill is not written to criminalize abortion, there are aggressive prosecutors that are willing to use laws that are not intended to ensnare pregnant people to prosecute people for obtaining abortion care. What is important to remember right now is that abortion is still legal in Georgia, and the law will likely be blocked in court.

Alabama passed a near-total ban and candidly stated that the purpose was to challenge Roe v. Wade. The law is not in effect, and the ACLU of Alabama is currently preparing a legal challenge to it. Louisiana and Missouri have also mirrored these “heartbeat bans,” hoping to prevent people from accessing comprehensive care.


Jennie Wetter: Welcome to rePROs Fight Back a podcast on all things repro. I'm your host Jenny Wetter. In each episode, I'll be taking you to the front lines of the escalating fight over our sexual and reproductive health and rights at home and abroad. Each episode, I will be speaking with leaders who are fighting to protect our reproductive health and rights to ensure that no one's reproductive health depends on where they live. It's time for repros to fight back.

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Jennie Wetter: Welcome to rePROs Fight Back. I'm your host, Jennie Wetter. And today I am so excited for today's episode. We have two people that I am so excited to talk to that you just don't know. Um, so you may know them from their wonderful podcast, "Boom, Lawyered," or you may know them from rewire.news or you may know them from Twitter where you really see them as Jessica Pieklo tweets as @hegemommy and Imani Gandy tweets as @angryblacklady. Both amazing follows and you should definitely make sure to check them out arewire.news and also their podcast Boom Lawyered. I'm so excited to talk to them today because there has been a lot of shit happening around the country of with abortion bans. And so we're going to do an emergency episode to talk about everything that's happening and I couldn't think of better people to talk to than Imani and Jess. So stay tuned for a great interview. Hi Jess and Imani, thank you so much for being here.

Jessica Pieklo: Thank you so much for having us.

Imani Gandy: Yes, thank you for having us.

Jennie Wetter: All right. I will let you both introduce yourselves so that way people can know who's talking what.

Jessica Pieklo: Um, hi, I'm Jess Pieklo. I am vice president of law andcourts at rewire.news. Um, and I am the cohost of Boom Lawyer podcast with Amani and have been doing legal journalism on abortion rights and access for oh a long time over 10 years now. So this is a thing that I like to talk about.

Imani Gandy: This is Imani Gandy. I also have been doing legal journalism for a while, not as long as Jessica, about eight or nine years. Um, I'm senior legal analysts and also cohosts of Boom Lawyered. And also the founder of Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Jennie Wetter: So that's definitely why it feels like I've been reading you guys since I started working at Population Institute because I started about 11 years ago. So I have been reading you basically the whole time I've been here. So we decided we need to do an emergency podcast because there has been some crazy shit going on in the last week.

Imani Gandy: You don't say.

Jennie Wetter: So I figured we'd start, you know, the other side keeps talking about these heartbeat bans so maybe you want to talk about what are heartbeat bans?

Jennie Wetter: First of all, heartbeat bans are nothing of the sort. Uh, the term heartbeat ban is a effectively a marketing term. And this is something that the anti abortion and anti choice movement is very good at. And that is market testing, uh, phrases that appeal to emotion over science and reasoning. So, um, we all know, or maybe we don't, and if you don't, then I'm going to about to teach you something that at six weeks there is no heartbeat presence, right? And so with, these are our bans that purport to, uh, ban legal abortion as soon as a fetal heart tone can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks in pregnancy. And we've seen them pop up in states, uh, in places like Ohio and Kentucky, in Georgia. Um, but we've had these for around a little bit. You know, Ohio tried to, um, as early as 2011, I think. Um, Iowa has one that's been blocked, Arkansas, um, and North Dakota, all these had been floating around for awhile, but folks in states got really excited about them this year in part, I think because of the shift in the federal courts, which I think we'll talk about, but what they are, are unconstitutional abortion bans.

Imani Gandy: At six weeks, there is no fetus. It's an embryo. And so at six weeks there is no heartbeat. There's like a fetal tone, right? It's electric activity, um, in the fetal pole. So as Jessica said, you know, just like with partial birth abortion this terminology, quote unquote partial birth abortion. Heartbeat ban is just a marketing tool and it appeals to emotion. And what's really interesting about it is that a recent study has shown that people are opposed to heartbeat bans when they hear, when they actually understand what quote unquote heartbeat bans will do. And that is effectively end abortion care. So the language that we use is very, very important when talking about these sorts of restrictions. Jennie Wetter: Yeah, no, I think that's absolutely true because it does play on people's emotion. You hear a heartbeat and you think you know more much more fully developed than it actually is.

Jessica Pieklo: And I just, and not only does it play on on emotion, what we're seeing in the courts too is that it's really playing on what conservatives see are legal openings to challenge some of the very tenants of abortion rights jurisprudence. So if the court is willing to determine that viability can be rolled back to something like the detection of a fetal heartbeat, for example, then that creates a whole host of different problems for abortion rights in the courts. And so it's absolutely a play to emotions, but it is, I, you know, I do think that there are specific attempts to try and test the waters to see, you know, what, which of these arguments that the federal courts are willing to bite on and you know, maybe all of them.

Jennie Wetter: Okay. So things got really crazy in the last week or so. So let's start with Georgia. What happened in Georgia?

Imani Gandy: Well, Georgia passed, uh, a quote unquote fetal heartbeat ban bans abortion essentially at six weeks with, um, you know, before most people even know that they're pregnant and the, the way that the law is written, I think there has been some confusion about whether or not pregnant people will be criminalized. The way the law as is written right now, that is not the case. But as we've seen in states like Georgia states like Alabama, there are aggressive prosecutors that are willing to use laws that were not intended to ensnare pregnant people to ensnare pregnant people. So I think it's important to recognize that... Well, several things are important to recognize. One is that abortion is legal in Georgia. Two is that that law will most likely be blocked and never go into effect. Three is that um, it's just really important to make sure that we are talking about these things in the right way and that we are making sure that people understand that, you know, the anti choicers' definition of pregnancy isn't actually pregnancy. I actually had someone on Twitter yesterday, they told me that by the time the fetus is accepted into the body, pregnancy has occurred. So we are talking about people who, I don't know apparently think that fetus is applied to bodies like they do college. [laughter]

Jennie Wetter: Yes.

Imani Gandy: Body that they like they're putting the, you know, they're on a waiting list for another body. I mean it's just these people don't have a basic grasp of biology and so you know, legislators can say things like, oh, you know, a heartbeat could be, can be detected at six weeks or a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks and we're throwing science completely out the window primarily because these folks refuse to believe in science. And I think I went off on a tangent that was far from what my original point was. I'm going to stick with it.

Jennie Wetter: Um, no, that was something near and dear to my heart. I had definitely have a science background. So the assault on science we've seen in the last several years is like one of the things that really gets me angry.

Imani Gandy: Yeah. And it, and it should really, because you know the ways in the way in which courts rule on these sorts of issues is that they will defer to legislators. Right. And so now have like glaciers that are crafting these bills that contain these very long preamble that talk about all of the science that they've studied and all the signs that they are marshaling in order to come up with these restrictions. And that science is junk science that has been formulated or created by you know, quote unquote pro-life ob Gyn or people like, you know, Vincent Rue or these others sort of titans of anti-choice activism, don't have any science backgrounds who aren't doctors but who have yet created these institutes that develop and propagate junk science. So you have, you know, the Elliot Institute, which is one such organization. And then you have the Charlotte Losier institute, which is the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List. And so these organizations are all junk science, but they're just peer reviewing each other in order to make that science more legitimate. So by the time it make its way into the bills, courts to look at it and say, well, you know, clearly these legislators have examined this science and they've decided that, you know, we really can't tell if there's a fetal heartbeat at six weeks. So the tie goes to the junk science. And so then we have courtsthat are basically rubber stamping junk science without actually examining it. And you know, that just doesn't make any sense in my view.

Jessica Pieklo: Right. And to bring it full circle, um, to the original question here, that is a lot, that was an opportunity created by the supreme court in the decision, Gonzales v Carhart, which upheld the federal so-called partial birth abortion ban, right. That was a should be, should have been under a, you know, a traditional constitutional framework considered an unconstitutional pre viability abortion ban. Um, it should have, it was nearly, I mean it's the model bill before it that that gave us Carhart, um, was declared unconstitutional or the difference was it changed in the court. And so repo or conservatives and Republicans saw that and have gone with it since then. Building on each win. So in Gonzales we had an assault on science also, and as the, the conservative Supreme Court said, that's okay, lawmakers can flip a coin and they have made it to ad absurdium, at this point

Imani Gandy: You might want to explain, what Stenberg and Gonzalez are in case people don't really know.

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah. Oh, sure. So, um, Gonzales v Carhart is the, um, supreme court decision, like I said, that upheld those so called federal partial birth abortion ban and the, and the that bill was a effectively a DNX ban. Um, I'll never, I won't get the medical terminology correct on all of this, so I'm, I'm going to defer on, on some of that because I'll, I'll totally bungle it. But it was a ban on a form of, um, second trimester later abortion and the, um, state of Nebraska had passed one originally. Um, and that had been challenged and struck down by the Supreme Court along the lines of, while it did not provide any exceptions of for the health of the pregnant person, um, or the life of the pregnant person. And also though that it was a ban on a procedure before viability. And that was an area that the, that the court had ruled could not happen. And so in between the time of the Nebraska challengeand what would eventually become the supreme court case, we had a Republican, uh, win, in the White House and a shift in momentum and Republicans passed a federal version of what was effectively the Nebraska law that got challenged and run all the way up to the supreme court. Uh, um, you know, Roberts, uh, was involved in some of the strategic defensive that, um, for a while, like there's all sorts of, of really interesting deep legal weeds stuff that that goes on with Gonzalez. But it effectively said that when there's matters of the scientific dispute, and in this case it was, uh, questions around, um, the, the procedure at issue that lawmakers could hold hearings and, um, decide which science they want to believe and from their birth institutions like the Losier Institute, which Amani mentioned that created that have created quote unquote science for the fact that for the purpose of justifying a otherwise and constitutional abortion bans because it gave state lawmakers the power to say, we choose to believe this particular set of information over this, and courts, you know, for a while didn't do much about it. Now Justice Breyer push back against that in the Whole Women's Health v Hellerstedt decision. That was the supreme court decision just a few years ago that struck down the Texas, uh, TRAP laws, the admitting privileges requirements and, and ambulatory surgical center, uh, requirements. Justice Breyer in the majority of that decision said while legislators are free to choose their facts, so to speak, courts are required to rubber stamp them and have an independent duty to um, look at that. And naturally the anti choice world did not like that. And so they have proceeded to really vigorously attack Whole Women's Health. There is so much there.

Imani Gandy: Yeah, that's just like me. You're going to have to go back and listen to you again, but I promise you it's worth it because she explained it all perfectly and nailed it. And that's really, I mean that's really what it is, right? Just about, you know, whether or not the court is a legitimate institution or whether or not it's just part of the nonsense. And I think we have come to the point where, again, it's part of the nonsense where the makeup of the court will determine what civil and human rights will be stripped from marginalized people. And we saw that just last week, we saw last week with this Hyatt case with this franchise tax board case that we did an episode on where the court tossed out 40 years of precedent. And so this idea that, you know, Brett Kavanaugh is gonna get up and you know, in his confirmation hearing and say, oh, I just call balls and strikes. You know, I, you know, Roe was settled law. Well now we know you don't really give that much of a shit about settled law, but can we just, you know, stop this nonsense and just really focus on what we're dealing with here. And that is an extremely partisan court that is committed to undermining abortion rights in whatever way it can. And the only thing that we have saving us is whether or not Chief Justice John Roberts is more concerned about banning abortion or more concerned about the court further devolving into partisan shenanigans.

Jennie Wetter: You know, a lot of these bans are fairly similar, but maybe we want to talk real quick about what happened in Alabama.

Jessica Pieklo: Sure. Where Georgia, um, pass the so called heartbeat six week bans, Alabama just went for it and passed an all out abortion ban except in a very, um, minimal, uh, exception and um, said very specifically that the idea of this, um, a near total ban is to pose a direct challenge to Roe versus Wade. The state of Alabama believes that, um, the time is right to do so. And um, the, again, you know, the law is not in effect, um, is so patently unconstitutional, um, that there's no reason why a federal court should ever let it take effect. And, uh, the ACLU of Alabama I know is hard at work, um, preparing a challenge to it, but it doesn't change the fact that this is the conversation that's happening in state houses.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. I think my favorite, it's like favorite terrible thing that came out of that was hearing them argue, well, yeah, you could get an abortion until you knew you were pregnant.

Jessica Pieklo: I mean, but that exactly sums it up, right? I mean, you know, and I, one of the things, I mean Imani touched on it, but it's, I, it's true, so true in Alabama too is, is that these bills are part of the long campaign. In Alabama, we saw folks like failed Senate candidate Roy Moore, when he was on the Alabama Supreme Court, do everything he could to try and extend state laws that were already in effect to marginalized people, um, with uh, pregnancy outcomes that he did not like. Um, and so he has made it no surprise, um, for that this is part of the conservative agenda there. And in terms of impact, you know, they go, these bills are going hand in hand in states that have worked significantly to disenfranchise populations. And so that, that has to be part of that conversation. Alabama's disenfranchising folks at a rapid pace, Georgia is disenfranchising folks at a rapid pace. Um, they're, you know, these are folks from marginalized communities and also going to be the most impacted by these criminal abortion bans.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. I think that's a really important point is those are already really marginalized, are going to be the most impacted. You know, rich women are always going to be able to leave the state and go somewhere else to access safe care. But a lot of um, minorities and people without economic means are already being impacted by the restrictions that are already being enforced. And this would just make it further... Impossible for them to access the care they need.

Imani Gandy: Absolutely. And I think that's also, you know, it brings up the important issue, which is that so many people are focused on whether or not the court is going to overturn Roe vs Wade. But it's important to recognize that the court doesn't actually have to do that in order to decimate abortion access. Right. I mean they just decide that some of these, you know, these TRAP laws, these admitting privileges would be the ambulatory surgical center laws, which require, you know, abortion clinics to retrofit themselves to be hospitals, including, you know, having enough hallway space so that two gurneys can pass by in a hallway. Well that's not what goes on. Abortion clinics don't have a bunch of gernies being wheeled around in clinics, but it costs millions of dollars for these clinics to follow these regulations. Which in essence puts them out of business. And so again, you're going back to Planned Parenthood versus Casey, which would be the court, the case that the court established the case in which the court established the undue burden standard. The question becomes on a case by case basis of this particular restriction pose an undue burden for this population of reproductive age in this state. And the answer to that question may be yes in Texas and no in Louisiana. Right. And so that's what we're dealing with , in, uh, one of the cases pending before the Supreme Court, June Medical Services versus Gee, you know, it's the same law. It's practically the same fact pattern, but the court is now going to have to wrestle with whether or not these laws affect Louisianians differently than may affect Texans and what that means. And so, you know, then we're just in a situation where the court can decide whatever it wants, depending on the case that's before it and still not be really overturning Roe or, or violating Roe in some way.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah, it seems a little bit like they, the conversation and like the media has really focused on the overturning Roe. Anything short of that is not a huge loss.

Imani Gandy: Yeah, that's, and that's just absolutely shortsighted, right? I mean, you know, Roe could remain on the books for a long time. They could very well be that all of the pre viability abortion bans, at least the six week and eight week bands, there'll be struck down because they are preposterous. But people in those states or in Georgia for example, Georgia could pass a trap law admitting privileges law or some other sort of, you know, ambulatory surgical center law and decimate access in that way. And a court could look at that and say, it's not really an undue burden under Casey because what does undue burden mean anyway? And so I think that's kind of where we are.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. Between that and then you had in states with 72 hour waiting periods like it, it's just a huge quagmire of trying to access care.

Jessica Pieklo: Right. And then, then you have states like Kentucky for example, that are, that are mired in multiple lawsuits, challenging abortion restrictions, and have one clinic and attorneys from the state are arguing that it doesn't matter because of folks in Kentucky who need an abortion can always go to Ohio after all. It's just right across the border. And thankfully that is an argument that the federal courts have rejected. We saw Mississippi tried to make that argument way back when in when the first round of TRAP laws were becoming very popular. And the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a very conservative federal court of Appeals said no states can't shirk their constitutional duties off on another state. Um, but hasn't stopped these lawmakers and, uh, their attorneys general from arguing that in federal court still. So, you know, um, though the idea that, um, that the, the threat to Roe is not just about overturning the direct precedent, but about creating a patchwork of unworkable access for most folks, I think is the reality that we live in now. Yeah.

Jennie Wetter: And really when you look at a map, I mean there are just large sections of the country where it's virtually impossible for women or people to access care.

Imani Gandy: Yep. Yeah. And that's by design, you know, that's by design and we're going to start seeing people trying to help people across state lines in order to get abortion care. And then, you know, then we're probably going to get into a big fight about, you know, extra territorial jurisdiction and whether or not if abortion is banned in Alabama, Alabama can prevent its citizens from seeking care in another state. I mean these are all issues. And the answer to that question is probably not, but there's a hole that's been opened that's been open for states to argue that. So, and we're in a brave new world where we've got just incompetent assholes at home that Trump has appointed to the judiciary and you know, there's just no, there's no telling what these folks are going to do. If they can find any thread of legal standards to hang their hat on, they're going to do that. Even if it doesn't make any sense. Even if it's law that has been superseded by other law and other case law. You know, these people don't care. They're not smart enough to care. Quite frankly,

Jennie Wetter: Georgia and Alabama weren't the only states. Do you want to touch on Missouri and Louisiana? A little bit because they feel like they kinda got lost a little bit. And the outrage of Georgia and Louisiana, I mean Georgia and Alabama...

Jessica Pieklo: I'll take Louisiana. Imani, you take Missouri because you've written what, like five open letters, state lawmakers there at this point?

Imani Gandy: And they won't listen... It's very frustrating.

Jessica Pieklo: Oh yeah. Louisiana effectively is, you know, mirroring, which is what Louisiana has done. The mirrored Texas, the news TRAP laws there. They're mirroring these other states in these heartbeat bans. But what is so frustrating, so sort of additionally frustrating about what's going on in Louisiana is that we have a Democrat who will likely sign a Louisiana six week bill into law. And so the mantra that, well, if we just elect Democrats, everything will be okay, is hot garbage. Um, and Louisiana has proven it.

Imani Gandy: Yeah. And I'm from Missouri, my God. It has been four or five years... I think I wrote my first open letters in Missouri basically asking, what the fuck are y'all doing? Like four years ago and that was at a time when literally the state had one clinic and they were enacting dozens of laws aimed at shutting down this one clinic. It's wild and so what we have is Missouri just taking spaghetti and throwing it against the wall and seeing what strands sick. I mean they've got this bill at ban abortion at eight weeks and then if the court happens to overturn that ban, it bans abortion at 14 weeks and if the court happens to overturn that it bans abortion at 18 weeks and then 20 weeks it's got five separate bans in one bill only realizing that they're all pre-viability abortion bans in assuming that the court is going to to strike down some of the more ridiculous ones, eight, eight weeks, 14 weeks, but then hopefully the court's going to uphold the later week abortion ban. I mean it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense. They are doing whatever they can to decimate abortion and they understand that these laws are unconstitutional, but not only are they willing to waste tax payer dollars to defend them, but they're willing to pass these bills in a way that sort of hedge against bad ruling, which I think is living on. I don't think it's something we've seen before. So way to be a leader Missouri.

Jennie Wetter: There's just so much, and I feel like I spent the last week just so angry and doing so much rage donating to abortion funds and all of these states.

Imani Gandy: That's really a good way to handle it. I mean, donating to abortion funds I think is a very good way to exercise your frustration.

Jennie Wetter: So we've already really kind of talked as we've been going about like why this is happening right now and it's the change in the supreme court. There's, I'm sure plenty more to say about that. Do you guys want to talk a little bit more about that?

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah, I mean definitely the retirement of Justice Kennedy and the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh to replace him, um, has put a lot of these, uh, anti abortion restrictions in the state sort of on hyperdrive. But the framework for, for build has been building up to this for a long time. I mean it's, we ha if we're going to talk about the attack, um, from the states, we have to talk about, you know, the response to the Tea Party election you know, in 2010 and sort of the initial conservative capture there and the funding of by, you know, the Koch brothers and far right groups of in state legislatures, um, and redistricting. I mean, the attack on abortion rates in the federal judiciary is definitely reaching an apex. But I think that it's a, definitely also a campaign that was started, um, a decade or so ago, um, with real intention in terms of a legislative strategy and a litigation strategy that go hand in hand. Um, in large part in response to the first, the first way that the Clinton administration and then most definitely the election of President Barack Obama.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. There was definitely that huge spike we saw in starting in 2010 and it, the, those charts are just unreal to look at how many restrictions were proposed and went into place in those couple of years after 2010.

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah. And you know, uh, some in some ways you could say that some of the anti choice movement maybe saw that as dithering around the edges, but once they had control of state lawmakers, they had a Republican in the White House and Republicans in control of the Senate, they knew that they could then really do a damage, do damage on the federal courts. And you know, um, that's in terms of the federal judiciary where we're at, we've got, you know, the obstruction campaign against Obama's nominees and then the rapid, uh, confirmation of Trump, uh, nominees.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. I really feel like that's something that has gotten lost a little bit is everybody really seems to focus on the change in the supreme court, but there has been a lot of change at the federal court level and I think that's worth digging into a little bit.

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah. I mean, President Trump now has something like one in five circuit court nominees. Um, he, it's, you know, and they're, and Imani has mentioned this already, that it's, is we have a whole swath of unqualified nominees. The one thing that unifies them is they've all pledged hostility to abortion rights and Roe vs Wade and increasingly Brown versus Board of Education. So that's great too.

Imani Gandy: Right? And it's just, you know, in Trump, you know, the Koch brothers, the Federalist Society found someone who wasn't sort of either incompetent enough or dense enough or malleable enough to allow them to do whatever they want. And I think that that in and of itself has a lot to do with why Republicans are so reluctant to even talk about removing him from office. Because, you know, the, the 180 that that went on when, you know, when he was running for president, all of these Republicans were like, oh, he's terrible. He can't allow him to run the country. And now they've just sat down and allowed this to happen. And I think that they are making real gains in the courts and whatever happens to Trump, those gains will last a generation. And so I really do think that that is what the, this is about in large part.

Jennie Wetter: Yeah. And I also feel like there's a lot of young people, young white men. I think it's really what, when we're talking about Trump's appointees, they've been younger than I feel like in general and very much white men. Yeah. Jessica Pieklo: Its by design. [inaudible] yesterday tweeted that, you know, last week or this week, the Senate considered two judicial nominees, named Dave. Yet they have considered exactly zero black nominees.

Imani Gandy: Yeah. That's depressing. But it's by design. Right. I mean you put young white dudes on the bench, young white dudes hand picked by the confederates, by the Federalist Society. [laughter]

Imani Gandy: I mean handpicked by the Federalist Society. You know, people who've gone to, you know, shining law schools like Liberty university, School of lLw. I mean these are people who are not qualified. I think my brain broke was when I realized, I can't remember the name of this woman. There's a 32 year old white woman, I think she graduated from Liberty University, who's now sitting on the Fourth Circuit Court of appeal after having worked as a, as a first and second year associate at this law firm called Williams and Connolly, which is like the white collar and white shoe law firm in Virginia. But both Jess and I were private practice attornies. We understand what goes on in your, when you are a first year or a second year at a law firm. You aren't doing anything, you're not learning anything. But the idea that someone like that is now sitting on the Supreme Court, it just hurts my brain on a molecular level.

Jennie Wetter: Well, and I also feel like another thing that we started to see, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that in a lot of the hearings when they talk about abortion, they talk about Roe being the law of the land and reaffirmed some of the things, but they've been really reticent and haven't wanted to say that Whole Women's Health is the precedent they would uphold.

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah. And I'd say that's also by design, you know, um, uh, it's, there's a couple legal principles in terms of like, whether, you know, you consider Roe super precedent and that it's one of those cases that's been, you know, cited so many times that it's sort of, um, unmovable. I will, you know, I hear conservatives say that, and even Kavanaugh all said that in his confirmation hearing, but conservatives don't actually believe in the idea of super precedent, so that like when they, when they say that don't believe them because they have no problem overturning it all the time. Um, and you know, not just, even most recently, like this goes back. I mean, you know, um, uh, Citizens United is a very stark example of that. Like if we see the ability of the Conservatives on the Supreme Court to craft doctrine, um, as they see fit. Um, so, you know, there's, there's that partof it. Um, and then I got on a tangent and I forgot the other thing. [laughter] Imani Gandy: The problem of interviewing Jess and Imani.

Jessica Pieklo: I got a, I got all fired up and then lossed my second point.

Jennie Wetter: I mean that sounds about right for right now. Is there anything else that you guys want to talk about in this area before we close out?

Imani Gandy: Um, I just think that it's important to know for people who are just now sort of getting involved in abortion rights movement and the fight, it's important to be careful the language that you use, right? I think it's important to you terms like later abortion and not late term abortion. You know, I think it's good to start practicing saying pregnant people and pregnant person rather than pregnant women. Um, and also I think that it's important to not, you know, sort of like Jess, Jess and I are lawyers and we're kind of TV readers that we are automatically going to sort of look at the parade of horrible but just and, and basically as a group of people who believe in abortion rights, I think it's a really good idea to continue to reaffirm that abortion is legal and that you can obtain abortion in all of the states.

Imani Gandy: There are certain weeks the abortion providers stop providing them at. But you know, a lot of these laws I think are freaking people out to such an extent that you hear people saying stuff. Like, if I'm on a plane on my way to Georgia and I have a miscarriage, as soon as I landed at Hartfield Atlanta airport, I'm going to get arrested. That's not true. And I think you're just sort of fomenting, um, stress and unnecessary anxiety, unnecessary anxiety by saying things like that. And then additionally, I think it's important to support abortion funds. You know, if you are getting involved in this fight now, there are a lot of people who have been doing it for a long time and would love the help. So call your local abortion fund, see what you can do to help you if you know, if you want to donate money, if you want to offer, you know, your time and services in terms of clinic escorting or something of that nature. I think that there's a lot of work to be done and I'm glad that there are people that are getting fired up, but I'm concerned that some people are sort of reinventing the wheel. Yeah. And that's not necessary.

Jennie Wetter: No, definitely I've heard about that happening. Well this is perfect cause my last question is always people are seeing all this stuff. What can they do to fight back? So that's a great start to that...

Jessica Pieklo: You know, donate your time and funds if you can. Um, and also, uh, don't be afraid to talk about abortion, um, with whoever will listen to you. And we all have relatives zones of safety that we can do that. And so I recognize that that's not the same for everyone. But, um, when we talk about the way that people's minds are, um, changed, it is about learning, right? You're not gonna you in, in a large part of that is just because the anti choice movement has really dominated the conversation and, um, has been allowed to dominate the conversation despite the fact that public opinion has not been on their side and isn't on their side. And so the only way we don't allow them to dominate the conversation is by quite frankly, talking over them.

Imani Gandy: And, and I have it on. And I can tell you personally, personally, firsthand that Jess will talk to literally anyone about abortion including bartenders at like two in the morning.

Jennie Wetter: I mean, that's the perfect time.

Jessica Pieklo: Yeah. I mean I have, I have some privilege in my, in my position to be able to do that. And so that's one, one thing that I can do, um, you know, but, and you know, I mean Amani, it's, it is, it is something that it is that we, that we do. I love your stories of, you know, talking to your dentist and things like thatI I mean, people are actually, this is the moment, this is a good moment to do that because folks are interested and engaged, um, and want to know. And so if you have the ability to preach the gospel of abortion, then I encourage you to do so.

Jennie Wetter: Great. Well, thank you both for being here. I really appreciate it. Make sure to check out Jess and Imani on Boom Lawyered. It's an amazing podcast. You will learn all the things you need to know about reproductive justice and from a legal perspective. And check them out on rewire.news and also follow them on Twitter, um, Jess is at @hegemommy and Imani is at @angryblacklady.

Jennie Wetter: For more information, including show notes from this episode and previous episodes, please visit our website at reprosfightback.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter at rePROs Fight Back. If you'd like our show, please help others find it by sharing it with your friends and subscribing, rating and reviewing us on iTunes. Thanks for listening.