Abortion and the Law: The Fate of Roe v. Wade (part 2)

Dec 14, 2021

What is the fate of Roe v Wade and what are the implications for women across the United States? Susan and Tracy are joined by Andi Curry Grubb, the state executive director of Nebraska Planned Parenthood, North Central States, to talk about what is at stake, what the Supreme Court decision could mean for women, and what we can do about it in our own state.

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Tracy Hightower-Henne: Hey Everyone. We are here on our second part of our series about abortion and Andi Curry Grubbb is back with us again, so we are super excited. And in this series, we’re going to talk about where are we now in abortion legalities? Right after this week, we heard the Supreme Court’s oral argument and all of that. So welcome back, Andi.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Thank you. Thanks for having me back.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So tell our listeners who haven’t heard our first episode but need to go back and listen to it. Tell us who you are.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Sure, I’m Andi Curry Grubb. I’m the state executive director for Planned Parenthood here in Nebraska, focusing a lot on our public affairs, the advocacy work working with the Legislature and the community of amazing supporters that we have to keep all of the rights of.

Susan Reff: People, people, all people, all

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Reproductive justice rights, yeah, all of that all encompassing umbrella.

Susan Reff: Exactly, yes. Repro, I’ve heard that term repro rights,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Reproductive rights, which is short for reproductive right?

Susan Reff: Right? Sounds cool. It sounds cool. Repro rights? Right.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Repro sounds so positive.

Susan Reff: It does. And it should be. Yeah, I

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Think it is. The term that I heard this week was all the fuckery that’s happening in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s really interesting

Susan Reff: Who was saying that,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, you know, Lisa Schultz, I was going to sounds like something, Lisa. She would say, Yeah, all the fuckery. So I will give you a T-shirt. All the credit. Yeah. I think they’re going to put it on a T-shirt. So we’ll get it. Yeah, not from Ray Ban, but Ray Gun or Women’s Fund Store.

Susan Reff: So I just Googled fuckery. There was

Tracy Hightower-Henne: A word. Yes. Is it just dry?

Susan Reff: Yeah. So there’s this website called Dictionary the like Wikipedia, but it’s Wiki Dictionary Dictionary, the dictionary. And then it says Which injury?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Quick. Oh, OK.

Susan Reff: Sonari, it says that fuckery is a vulgar slang word that means nonsense or bullshit or messing around.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I love that they’re slang in the slang definition of the slang word.

Susan Reff: You mean that they’re using the word slang to define a slang word.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Know that they’re using a slang word in the definition of a slang word.

Andi Curry-Grubb: What was the slang word bullshit? Is that a slang word?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, it’s a cuss word, isn’t it? Well, it’s like, I don’t know.

Susan Reff: Let’s look it up a dictionary.

Andi Curry-Grubb: You should have a linguist.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So all the fuckery that’s happening and that happened this week. And I think though we can’t forget Texas.

Andi Curry-Grubb: No, we cannot.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Because the United States Supreme Court’s oral argument in the Mississippi case was pretty big. But this Texas thing also just happened, and there was also oral arguments there that, yeah, sort of got swept under the rug.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah, a little bit.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So tell us about Texas first.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Ok, so let’s start with Texas. So Texas passed a law earlier this year banning abortion at six weeks, which is before most people know that they are pregnant. That’s fuckery. Uh huh.. They.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s bullshit, too. Yeah.

Andi Curry-Grubb: So they passed the law and. They weren’t the first ones to pass the six week ban. It had been done already in a couple of other states

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And we know this is problematic because our precedent in the United States Supreme Court says viability viability, which is somewhere around twenty four weeks, which is very different than six

Andi Curry-Grubb: Weeks. Right. And that’s what we’ve been seeing for, you know, I would say, the last five years or so, maybe not even quite that long last four years or so is states starting to introduce these extreme bans that they know are unconstitutional? But they want to get them in front of the Supreme Court in hopes of overturning Roe vs. Wade?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is there a pride thing with different states like Texas wants to be the case, right? And like or Mississippi wants to be the case? Yes. So like right now between Texas and Mississippi, they’re like, Oh, I want you to. I want my case to be the precedent case, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yes, absolutely. And that’s where, like, Iowa was actually the first state to introduce a six week ban, but it was challenged in state court instead of federal court, and it was found unconstitutional at the state court level. So it never got quite the play as some of the others, because

Tracy Hightower-Henne: This is what I say to that. Right? Yeah. They wanted it to go there, but they

Andi Curry-Grubb: They really did want it to go there. But and that’s the challenge in state court instead of federal

Susan Reff: And yeah, worked. I mean, that’s just such an interesting thing when you talk about like legal maneuvering, you know? Yes. You know, a case that obviously didn’t work in Iowa, but then Texas, so you know. Why did it? Why did it? What’s different, you know, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: So usually it has to do with the state courts. You know, the Iowa Supreme Court was fairly. He was not super conservative, so it was and it also is based on how the law is written, of course, and what it’s, you know, the approach to challenging it because in in Iowa, we could challenge it in state court because the Iowa Constitution and the case actually reaffirmed the Iowa Constitution. Has gives the right to abortion, so we were able it was easier to to challenge it in state court, whereas a state like Texas, their constitution definitely does not support the right to abortion, right? So you can’t really challenge it at that level.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I like I want to take 10 seconds, maybe 12 seconds to talk about like the the way a law becomes a law because I think, you know, sometimes listeners don’t know that in Texas, the six week ban was passed and was happening. And then it goes to the Supreme Court all the way through the court system and takes a while to get there. Typically, although Texas,

Andi Curry-Grubb: Mississippi, is that exactly that’s what happened with Mississippi, it went through multiple other courts. I think the law was passed. I don’t know that might need to be Googled, Susan. She’s on it. When the Mississippi, maybe four years ago, was when it was actually passed and it’s worked its way through the court system. Every other court has has struck down the law because of all the precedent that says, you know, we have a right to abortion in the United States.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we go back to our like third grade government class. A bill becomes a law and then it goes through the court system to decide whether it’s constitutional. And so these these laws about abortion aren’t just going to the Supreme Court to say, Hey, Supreme Court, is this an OK law the way it’s written? Goes three twenty. Okay, twenty eighteen. So that’s three years.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so Texas comes out with a six week

Andi Curry-Grubb: Ban, right? And this was just passed in twenty twenty one. This was just this year and it was challenged in court. But so what happened with the Texas law is they got all super creative and used this very bizarro enforcement mechanism that had never been the vigilantes, the vigilante, the the report, your neighbor report, your neighbor, which is like

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The movie purge.

Susan Reff: Oh, haven’t seen it?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I know we talked about it on another episode. It sounds

Andi Curry-Grubb: Scary.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, you haven’t seen it either. It may or may not be like the movie purge, but OK.

Susan Reff: But yeah, in Texas, you can like snitch on anyone.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right, exactly. And the Texas law is so the way that they wrote it is banning abortion after six weeks. It went through all the state government process to make it a law. But what the state says is, but we’re not enforcing it. We, the gov, we the government aren’t enforcing it. We’re going to let individuals enforce it. We’re going to make the law that says individuals get to enforce it, but we don’t have anything to do with this law.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And so and that was very unique and different than any other laws very

Andi Curry-Grubb: Unique, different and very, very purposeful.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So to know like that conversation around the table, when they’re doing like brainstorming, they’re like, How about this? We call it the vigilante and someone’s like, Yes, and then they took it and ran

Andi Curry-Grubb: With it, right? And and you know, we can get into this more. But so many people are saying, OK, we can use that for

Susan Reff: Other laws too, like the

Andi Curry-Grubb: Slippery slope gun. Yeah. And you know, what do you what do you what do you like that we can take away from you and you know, so. So yeah, it’s it’s really strange. It basically the law says that anyone who aids and abets an abortion can be sued by any individual. They don’t actually even have to be in the state of Texas, as we found with the first lawsuit that that happened. The provider was sued by two people and one was like in Indiana and one was in Chicago or something I don’t even remember, but neither of them were actually in the state of Texas,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And they were helping a Texas resident.

Andi Curry-Grubb: They were suing a Texas. Oh, right under the Texas law. Because guess what? If you’re successful, you get a minimum of ten thousand dollars,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So you find some deep pockets and

Susan Reff: You sell. But and didn’t the law not specify where that ten thousand dollars was going to come from?

Andi Curry-Grubb: So that was a question for a long time where the money would come from. There was initially there was a lot of thinking that the state would be paying that money, which was weird, but it’s not true.

Susan Reff: It’s actually whoever is sued.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Ok, so, so like if they sued Planned Parenthood for aiding and abetting an abortion and they won, we would have to pay them ten thousand. Gotcha. At least minimum.

Susan Reff: It could be. So it’s like ten thousand is the floor. Yes. There’s no ceiling, I guess.

Andi Curry-Grubb: I think there is. It’s like a million dollars.

Susan Reff: Oh yeah. Ok.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Totally, I don’t know that for sure.

Susan Reff: And this could be they can even like Sue, the person who drives someone to a

Andi Curry-Grubb: Clinic may not even know. Yes, the only person involved that cannot be sued is the person that gets an abortion.

Susan Reff: Hmm.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Anyone else involved? Yeah. Can be sued.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I remember shortly after the Texas law came out, Uber came out with a statement and said, F you all, we’re going to drive people wherever the fuck they want to go, and we don’t know what’s happening where they go.

Andi Curry-Grubb: So sue us motherfuckers the case. The case for an Uber driver is pretty low. It’s pretty hard to come up with because how would they know what they’re driving someone to? But that has been used as an example in a lot of cases, yes. But yeah, again, the the point is essentially again, they’re just trying to prevent people from having abortions who want and need them, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So why was Texas different than in like the quickness that it got to the Supreme Court?

Andi Curry-Grubb: So the Texas law was different because of that mechanism, that enforcement mechanism sitting with individuals instead of the state state. So what they were saying is you can’t sue the state because we’re not the ones enforcing it, even though they’re the ones who put the law into effect to begin with, which is baffling to me from a legal perspective. But I’m not a lawyer, so. So that was their way of getting out of lawsuits was by putting it on individuals. And so and essentially it worked because what the courts did you know, it was challenged right away. And what the courts did essentially was just throw up their hands and be like, We don’t know what to do with this because the lower court so weird. Yes, the Supreme Court basically did, too. And now they heard it again because the Supreme Court had an opportunity to intervene the day before the law went into effect, right? And at that time, they basically said, We don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to deal with this. And so we’re not.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So they were silent. Yes. So then the law went into effect.

Andi Curry-Grubb: So the law went into effect.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think the day before the law went into effect, where the Supreme Court had the ability to ban the law and say, No, no, no, you can’t do that right. Everyone sort of thought like, Well, of course, the Supreme Court’s going to say, you can’t do that, which

Andi Curry-Grubb: I don’t know why anyone, any of us thought that. I mean, look this on the Supreme Court right now, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So then the law goes into effect and there’s immediately a six week ban in Texas, and that was when September 1st? Yeah. So then it gets to the Supreme Court recently in an oral argument. Yeah, so

Andi Curry-Grubb: They so they the original emergency request to the Supreme Court, that was the one they they basically just didn’t make a ruling on. They tried a different approach to the emergency request that one was accepted. That’s when they heard the oral arguments on November 1st around around that law. Also at the same time, the the U.S. Department of Justice also sued the state of Texas for the law. So there was kind of different approaches that were tried, essentially.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So Texas happens and the ban is still in place now. Yes, in

Andi Curry-Grubb: Texas, it’s gone back and forth. There’s been, I think there was a one or two injunctions that were granted, but they were pretty quickly overturned. So there have been little pockets where it has not been in effect. But one of the challenging parts of the law is that it can be retroactive. So if someone during that time of an injunction, are you kidding? No, no. So during the injunction, when officially the law is not in effect, if someone provides an abortion to a patient and then the law does end up ultimately going into effect, someone can retroactively sue that provider for the abortion they performed when the law was not in. If I hadn’t

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Heard that, wow.

Andi Curry-Grubb: So really. So basically, it’s just there’s not been

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Abortion because abortion providers probably aren’t willing to take that risk during those injunctions,

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right? So far, there’s one provider that has broken the law and just done them. Yep, and I mean, I think he only did one

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And decided I’ll just pay the 10 percent if I need.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Well, I think in part, it was because a lot of what had happened with the courts previously was that. Because the law had not actually been. Used yet

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Legitimised

Andi Curry-Grubb: By someone actually breaking it and being sued. They said they couldn’t rule on it because there was no one there, it hadn’t been enforced, yes, so they needed it to be enforced before they could actually rule on it. So there was one physician who kind of took the bait and good for him. I know, I agree. And so that is a separate case now that’s actually working its way.

Susan Reff: Oh, perfect through the courts.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So then we have so there’s we have no ruling on Texas correct that

Andi Curry-Grubb: You’ve heard the arguments on November 1st. My understanding and you lawyers can help me out with this. But my understanding is that with an emergency request like that, they there’s no time frame for when they have to rule on it. That’s right. So they can rule on it right away.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, or

Andi Curry-Grubb: Not. And usually they do. That’s the whole point of an emergency request, but the Supreme Court chose not to.

Susan Reff: The other interesting thing about the U.S. Supreme Court is people petition cases to the Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, and they can say, we’re not hearing your case. So there have been other cases that potentially could come out with an abortion ban that have potentially been in front of the Supreme Court before. But it’s like these people who want abortions banned all abortions. They cherry pick and work the best case up so that because they don’t want the Supreme Court to say no, right? So because then you know, that’s a big loss for them.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s like two percent of cases that are petitioned to the Supreme Court get accepted. So when the Supreme Court accepted DOBs Mississippi case, everyone was like, Oh,

Andi Curry-Grubb: Fuck yeah, exactly. Because prior to that, a lot of abortion related cases had been petitioned to the Supreme Court and had not been accepted because.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We assume the Supreme Court was like, why right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: We because generally, so what has happened with the Mississippi case is it has been blocked by all of the lower courts. So all of the lower courts have followed the 50 years of precedent set by Roe versus Wade, 30 years with Casey. They struck down the Mississippi law because it was it banned abortion, pre viability, which is not allowed under Roe versus Wade. And so normally with a case like that, if it’s petition to the Supreme Court, they will say no because they agree with the lower court that their ruling based on precedent is correct. And so they wouldn’t accept it. So that’s what a lot of legal scholars think with this particular case is. The reason they accepted it was specifically because they don’t agree with the lower court’s ruling.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The Mississippi case correct. And the Mississippi case comes in and we hear that it’s a 15 week ban. Yeah, which is seemingly quite different than the six week ban, right? But really, when we look at Roe, they’re both the same, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Exactly. So. So 15 week ban is, you know, essentially nine weeks pre viability. So over two months, pre viability

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Fetuses cannot survive outside the womb. 15 at 15 weeks.

Andi Curry-Grubb: No, not at all. Yeah, not at all. And so so essentially what this is doing is allowing for a pre viability ban. And if you allow for a 15 week pre viability ban, what’s you know, the thinking is then you would allow for a six week pre viability ban or an all out ban

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Across the board, and there’s absolutely no nexus between 15 weeks, six weeks and viability. And those those amounts of time are completely arbitrary, completely arbitrary. 15 weeks is three weeks after the first trimester. Six weeks is who knows where they come up with this, right? And so when I think about it and I am no expert on the Supreme Court, I’m a member of the Supreme Court. I have heard this story well.

Susan Reff: Get out there and argue for abortion access.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Just show up at the podium. I’d like you all to listen to me. I only became a member so I could see RBG in the flesh before she died. And it happened. It happened. Well, you know, I mean, I have like pictures of yeah, in person. What’s wrong with in the flesh?

Susan Reff: It’s it just sounded interesting. Oh, OK. So what you said in the flesh?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So but I mean, my my thought is they’re going to wait, decide, use one of these cases the Texas or the Mississippi case, make their decision. And if Roe falls, they’re going to say it doesn’t matter. Six weeks, 15 weeks, it doesn’t matter. Roe is gone. Yeah, because they already sort of made this decision of some alternative when they said Casey.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right, right. And and I think one of the things, you know. Ok, so now let’s talk about Mississippi, right? So the Mississippi case was heard on December 1st and. I think everyone,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Everything is on the 1st of the month, which makes me think of the song. It’s the first of the month, is that bone thugs in harmony? Yes, it is.

Andi Curry-Grubb: I’ve never heard of this. Oh my gosh.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Nineties, it’s from the nineties, which he right, is going retro. It’ll be. Are you feeling it? No, I’m sure it’s done thugs in harmony.

Andi Curry-Grubb: But I think we were all watching for the oral arguments. I think most abortion rights advocates think that they are going to use this case to overturn Roe or to significantly weaken it. But I think we were all watching the oral arguments in hope that something might indicate otherwise. I think folks were specifically watching for Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh to see what kind of questioning they would have, which is so scary to me that we were placing any hope whatsoever in justice. Justice Brett Kavanaugh Beer Beer.

Susan Reff: Yeah, that’s what I call him after his after his confirmation hearing. I just call him justice beer. Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Some people give it. It is bone thugs in harmony, by the way.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Oh, thank you.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, it’s been confirmed. You all should listen to it. Yeah. If you listen to XM like nineties rap, it’s on there.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Oh, that sounds good.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I like it. So justice beer. Yeah. And Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Amy.

Susan Reff: Every baby should be adopted.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Barrett Yeah.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah. So I mean, the I think the oral arguments were worse than we thought they would be.

Susan Reff: Hasn’t there been cases, though, where sometimes the Supreme Court is faced with a like a thing, like a kind of one of these political cases that’s like. And they kind of punt it sometimes. I mean, maybe not on abortion, but like people are like, Oh, no one really won. I mean. And we know at least in in in our experience doing other types of cases, judges can certainly do that if they want to. They can like, well, we’re going to just change this one little tiny thing or something like that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Maybe they’ll take away all of the undue burden problems and just go straight back to Roe. Perfect, I can. That’s what I’m going to. That could happen. Decision comes out. I mean, like,

Susan Reff: Like literally that could happen, but not very likely.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right? And I think one, you know, one possibility based on on what kind of Mississippi proposed in their briefs and then the line of questioning from Chief Justice Roberts is that they they could officially uphold the Mississippi law and make 15 weeks the new time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But then they have to do something about viability being no longer the standard right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah, right?

Susan Reff: And then why 15 instead of 12 or six?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Or and how and then how does that right? Exactly, because 15

Susan Reff: Doesn’t really equate to anything.

Andi Curry-Grubb: It doesn’t. I mean, I think the logic so 15 weeks based on the Mississippi law, it’s actually 13 weeks because it’s 15 weeks since the last menstrual period, which is actually two weeks before you get pregnant. So it’s 13 weeks is roughly around the end of the first trimester. So there there’s mild logic there, but even the people that introduce the law did not use that logic. They said they didn’t know why they came

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Up with 15. I’m going to guess most of them don’t have uteruses or periods.

Andi Curry-Grubb: No, no, no, no. And most of them, based on conversations that I’ve had with state legislators, don’t even fully understand how pregnancy works

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Or periods

Andi Curry-Grubb: Or periods or any of it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, yeah, yeah, OK. So I think the one thing, though, that’s really important to remember about the Mississippi law, is that there’s no exception for rape or incest, right? And is that something that we’ve seen historically in other cases and other bills,

Andi Curry-Grubb: It’s become more common. So Texas, for example, there’s no exception.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, so really basically what in Mississippi, what that means is if you get raped and become pregnant, you need to have your abortion before the 15 week ban and after that to bad carry the fetus to term, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right. And I mean. The reality is exceptions are not helpful. I mean, not having exceptions is horrible, but having exceptions, it doesn’t make it better because the reality is like what would have to happen at that point is in order to get that exception, if there was a rape exception, you would have to go through the process of proving that that pregnancy was a result of rape

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And get a conviction

Andi Curry-Grubb: Almost in order to legally obtain an abortion after the which is, I mean, that’s a horrible burden to put on someone who’s just gone through something traumatic. And that trauma is continuing because now there’s a pregnancy involved. So I mean, there’s shouldn’t have to be exceptions, right? If someone needs wants an abortion, they should be able to get it without having to explain to anyone why?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes, period. Perfect. Thank you for explaining that, because I think that’s really helpful. Yeah, but it also

Andi Curry-Grubb: I mean, it’s really like horrifying that they wouldn’t include an exception. But again, it doesn’t make it it

Susan Reff: It it almost makes it OK, like makes rape and incest. Ok?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right. And if you if you ever do a little bit of research like be ready to be absolutely horrified, but they have this line of logic that it will actually reduce rape. No sexual assault. I don’t I can’t even remember how they got there.

Susan Reff: If there’s an abortion ban, there will be less rape. Is that kind of what they’re trying to say?

Andi Curry-Grubb: I guess I don’t. I can’t my brain. Everyone in this room space face.

Susan Reff: Yeah, at

Andi Curry-Grubb: All. But that was actually one of the governors.

Susan Reff: Like, that’s like the Nebraska.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You know, we

Andi Curry-Grubb: Said we weren’t going to talk about the Texas governor. That was one of his talking points about why they didn’t include that.

Susan Reff: Well, don’t they say that if if there is a death penalty, they’ll be less violent crimes, which is so not true? I mean, like the statistics prove like that the states with the death penalty have just as much crime as states without it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes or so. So if we OK, the other thing about Mississippi too, and if Roe falls right and that means rose overturned, there are some states that will immediately have an abortion ban, correct? And that’s called trigger laws. Yes, and thankfully, Nebraska doesn’t have that. We do not. How did that happen?

Andi Curry-Grubb: I don’t know

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Some awesome strategic, I think.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Well, I think I will sleep at the wheel, so there’s a couple a couple of ways that trigger laws exist. One is that they were on the books pre Roe versus Wade and they never took them off.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And Trigger Law is just a generic law that says if the United States Supreme Court, I’m making this up. United States Supreme Court creates a law, then the state triggers immediate action.

Andi Curry-Grubb: And yes, that is the case. In some and others, it’s that their constitution bans abortion, and they can’t enforce that now because at the federal level, abortion is protected. But if that went away, then the constitutional component would would be enforceable.

Susan Reff: So 12 states have automatic trigger laws for abortion. Yeah, that’s a lot.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah, North Dakota and South Dakota are closest

Susan Reff: Neighbors, and then it says there’s 21 additional states that are poised to have something similar.

Andi Curry-Grubb: And that is where Nebraska usually comes in. Nebraska is pretty regularly put on that list of states that are likely to ban abortion or try to ban abortion if it becomes illegal at the federal level. But but we

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Have some good things about Nebraska and like what’s happening right now. So if Roe falls rose overturned, we don’t have a trigger law. What will happen in Nebraska?

Andi Curry-Grubb: So what would happen in Nebraska is abortion would remain legal, and it would require an act of the state legislature to change that.

Susan Reff: Let’s say that again, abortion would remain legal.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Abortion would be legal no matter what happens

Susan Reff: With the federal level, because it’s it’s ultimately a state issue. That’s why these are like Mississippi versus so and so Texas first. And so, so right.

Andi Curry-Grubb: If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, it will go back to the state. Yes. So it will either be banned limited or protected right at the state level.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And so when we talk about something that you can do, the first one, really, that’s very important right now is calling your senator.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Absolutely.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Because that’s what will happen in Nebraska is the senators in our lovely unicameral, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: And that’s what I want to talk about. Like Nebraska. So Nebraska gets lumped in with all these other seemingly red states, conservative states that are hostile to abortion. And on the surface, that is true of Nebraska. We have a governor and a lieutenant governor that are incredibly hostile to abortion extremist, I would say. You know, Governor Ricketts came out the day after the Texas law went into effect, congratulating them, basically and saying he couldn’t wait to do something similar in Nebraska. So, so we have a hostile administration. We have a majority conservative legislature that is is hostile to abortion rights. However, Nebraska differs significantly because we have a unicameral. We have forty nine people that are making this decision, as opposed to one hundred and fifty plus in some other states. We only have one body that makes these decisions not to like all other states. And so and then the the big thing is we have a filibuster law, a, you know, rule here in the state legislature. So what that means, essentially, is that in order to pass a law, you have to overcome that filibuster and you need thirty three votes to do that, which means we need 17 people to not vote with them in order to prevent that law from going to the floor for a vote. And the last time, so the last abortion restriction that was introduced in the state legislature was in twenty nineteen. And it was it was to ban a method of abortion that is used commonly in the second trimester dilation and evacuation. And we lost that essentially by one vote. Sixteen people voted did not vote to to put that to the floor for a vote. Basically that compare that to 10 12 years ago when they passed the 20 week ban. There were five people that voted against that at the state legislature. Wow. And most recently, we had 16, and there’s been an election since then.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So contacting your senators and telling them that they should keep abortion legal in Nebraska is really, really important.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Really, really important. And contact all of them. If you want to I mean, you know, there are some that are with us and you said this on the last one that we should be thanking them and yeah, just letting them know that we support that decision fully and completely, give them some love and let them know that that they’re doing the right thing by supporting access to abortion. There are some that are on the fence, I think. So the more they hear from from people in the state saying they want access to abortion to remain legal, that that genuinely has an opportunity to make a difference. And even the ones we know are hostile, make sure they know that they don’t. They don’t represent the views of everyone.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So if the worst thing happens in Nebraska and Roe is overturned and Nebraska passes an abortion ban, why should we care? Well, I mean, you’re preaching to the choir, but right? Like, why is it? So why is it so important in Nebraska? Like what is the ultimate result if Nebraskans don’t have access to legal abortion?

Andi Curry-Grubb: I think I mean, there’s so many different long term ramifications of making abortion illegal again, that I it’s it’s hard to even pick one. And I think the other thing that’s that makes this challenging is that we are all of a generation and this room that have never known anything other than legal access to abortion. We don’t know what it looks like to not have that access. And so I think it’s it’s really hard for us to understand what that could actually mean. But one of the things you know, this is brought up in the oral arguments at the Supreme Court the other day. The economic impacts of of people being able to make this choice for themselves is significant, you know, allowing folks to to go to college potentially or, you know, further their career in a way that that helps them having access to abortion helps people do those things with their lives that lead to better outcomes for themselves and future families. If if that’s what they

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Choose and the economy and

Andi Curry-Grubb: The economy, exactly. That’s the other thing is they they pointed to, like the economist, submitted an amicus brief in support of in that Jackson Yeah. Jackson Women’s Health Organization like

Susan Reff: An organization solely concerned with the health of our American economy, right? You know, it’s talking about this health care decision issue.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, in Nebraska, though, we have such terrible laws that support babies after they’re born, right and families in poverty. And so we are not only saying you have to carry this pregnancy to term that you don’t want to you only. We also have no parental leave, right? So you got to go back to work. You have a very short term availability for Medicaid, for the child once it’s born and you’re probably going to lose your job because now you’re pregnant and you have no, you know, not enough parental leave and daycare subsidies are just not.

Andi Curry-Grubb: We also don’t have pregnancy discrimination laws, so you can actually be fired for being pregnant and in certain cases, so. Exactly. And the reality is, we need all of it, right. We need family paid family leave. We need access to child care. We need better economic laws that support our citizens and we need access to abortion. None of those should be mutually exclusive. All of those things together are what contribute to a vital society and community.

Susan Reff: You know what’s really funny? All of those things support women. Hey, imagine that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. And and equality. Yeah, and general equality.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Exactly. Yeah, that’s you know, again, we just are so much more aware even now than we were years ago of how this impacts. People who aren’t women, you know, transgender men and non-binary folks. This impacts a lot of people who who need access to abortion and who need those same protections that allow them to be, you know, a full and complete part of our society the way they want to. And the thing I think we have to also mention is that when laws like this, you know, banning abortion are put into effect. It doesn’t necessarily impact people with privilege and means right. Rich people are going to be able to access abortions no matter what they can travel. They can, you know, take time off work or whatever is is necessary to get the abortion that they want, right? The real impact lies on those in rural communities, people with lower incomes. It disproportionately impacts people of color. The impacts there are so significant that it it just to me, it will drastically change the face of our society if if these laws are

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Put into place. And I think that’s really important. So I just want to paint an example. So we have Texas’s six week ban and I’m not going to geography. We learned on that on the last episode, but I do know that Galveston is like way down in the southern part of Texas. So let’s say a poor person in Galveston and a rich person in Galveston, they both need an abortion and they can’t get one in Texas. Well, the poor person in Galveston doesn’t have the ability to travel anywhere and probably do some sort of 24 hour or seventy two hour waiting period to get to wherever right? Omaha to get their abortion, the rich person is going to take some time off work, take some PTO, fly there, get their abortion, come back, still have a job.

Andi Curry-Grubb: There was pre pre ROE. There were these like travel packages to the UK that were available to people seeking abortions. And it included like your airfare and your hotel and all of your meals. And you know, it was like a like spa package to go get an abortion. And if you’re rich, that’s amazing, right? But that’s not the reality for most people seeking abortions. So yeah,

Susan Reff: You have to have a passport even, right?

Andi Curry-Grubb: Right.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So when we talk about what are the things we can do, contacting your senators is really, really important because if Roe falls, Nebraska is not shut out of luck yet. Nope, not right. So we have work to do.

Andi Curry-Grubb: We have a lot of work.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We can keep abortion safe and legal in Nebraska. We can’t because we also know, like on that point, abortion. Just if it’s going to be banned in a state anywhere, it’s still going to happen. It’s just not going to be safe and legal anymore.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Exactly. And and I think with that too, we should also point out that like every organization in the country that supports or provides access to abortions is figuring out right now how to continue making abortions as accessible as possible to anyone, no matter where they live. So, you know, Texas right now there there are some amazing abortion funds that folks can donate to that will help patients in in Texas access abortion outside of the state, the transportation, the child care, the hotel, et cetera. It’s still such a significant burden because of of all the other things involved, but there are ways to support those folks as best we can given these circumstances.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And speaking of support, the other thing that we can do at this point is donate money. Yes, and tell us about the best places to donate that to Planned Parenthood.

Andi Curry-Grubb: Yeah, so Planned Parenthood North Central States is the organization here in Nebraska that provides access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and education, including abortion. We have clinics in Omaha and Lincoln. We also have Council Bluffs right over the border and donating to Planned Parenthood. North central states helps make those services possible and accessible to people in our state. The other organization that we have that’s a subsidiary of Planned Parenthood North Central States is Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. This is a 501 C four organization. So these donations are not tax deductible. I do want to make sure I point that out, but these are the donations that can very directly support putting into office folks who support access to abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care rights and and really can help us work at the Legislature to keep abortion legal in Nebraska.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Awesome. Well, we will provide. All the information and links to all of that, again, we’ll put a list of how to find your senator where you live. All the list of other senators if you want to contact forty now forty nine. Forty nine, yeah. And then also some direct links to donate to both the Planned Parenthood North Central states and Planned Parenthood advocates of Nebraska.

Andi Curry-Grubb: The other thing that we can post on there, too, is we have like a social media toolkit that folks can use to share information and and just really raise their voice through social media to help spread the word about the impacts that this could have in Nebraska and what they can do to help. So we can put that one in there, too.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Awesome. Great. Thank you so much for joining us again on our podcast. It was really helpful to have all of your insight and we will be in close contact as we like, watch the developments of the Supreme Court and then all the work we have to do in Nebraska.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Lady Lawyer League Podcast. Please be sure to like and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts. If you would like to learn more about our firm, Hightower-Reff Law, please visit us At H R Law Omaha.com. We’ll see you next week.

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