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What It Means To Need A Third-Trimester Abortion
Posted by LizardBreath on 06.24.22

The Sacramento Bee reporting on Megan's experiences needing two abortions late in pregnancy. Even before today's horrible opinion, and even in the bluest of blue states, right-wing terrorism has been effective in immiserating women. I've selected a couple of paragraphs below, but it's worth reading the whole thing:

Megan Fidell went into her third trimester convinced she was pregnant with a healthy baby. One morning in her 31st week, she woke up excited to go to the doctor and see her baby on an ultrasound; by 11 a.m., she and her partner, David Lemon, were pacing through the park in tears, resolved to terminate the pregnancy.

Severe hydrocephalus, Fidell's doctor had told the couple that spring day in 2012. Pointing to the black-and-white ultrasound images, the obstetrician showed them where the baby's brain should be. There was a huge dark space. The doctor explained the baby's head was so large that Fidell would need a risky C-section. She said that the baby's ventricles were full of fluid; Fidell saw that the brain was a film on the edge of the skull. There was no cure. The baby might never speak words. He would have to endure surgery before he turned 1, if he even lived that long....

...California has a relatively narrow definition of viability, which occurs when "there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus's sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures" -- extraordinary measures may very well be necessary to ensure the survival of, for example, a baby born nearly four months premature.

Nonetheless, the viability restriction doesn't just serve to make certain abortions illegal; it also creates a climate where doctors are afraid to provide legal care to pregnant Californians. It's almost impossible to find a clinic in the state that will even consider taking on patients who are past 24 weeks, even though some fetuses wouldn't be considered viable until several weeks later. The actual gestational age of viability is determined by doctors on a case-by-case basis; there's no set age, even without the "extraordinary medical measures" caveat.

The Bee spoke with the director of a California clinic that performs abortions after 24 weeks; he pointed out that the law clearly gives doctors flexibility in determining when the restriction applies. And yet, among the small number of providers in-state who will perform abortions later in the second trimester, the director said, "Almost every other provider other than us has an internal policy limit of 24 weeks. ... There is a perception, even among a lot of abortion providers, that there is a 24-week limit in California for abortion care, which is not the case."

The director -- whose name is being withheld by The Bee because anti-abortion rights extremists have harassed, attacked and assassinated health care providers in the past -- said he wished he could "shout it from the rooftops," but the clinic does not advertise the services they offer out of fear that the workers and patients at the office would become the targets of violence.

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Supreme Court
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 06.24.22

Probably time for a Supreme Court thread, eh?

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A gripe
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 06.24.22

Three superficially similar things, ordered from best to worst efficiency of travel time and moral valence:

1. HOV lanes. Maybe in implementation things go wrong, but the general premise is to incentivize ride-sharing. It benefits people who do not then carpool because there are fewer total cars on the road (and it also is good for the environment).

2. Toll lanes. People with money can skip traffic jams. (Public money subsidizes wealthier people's reduced travel time, which is crap.) Mildly reduces the traffic on the main highway, but probably not significantly. If the money collected went to subsidize public transportation, it would be better. Probably airport pre-check lanes are in this category.

3. FastPass type passes at amusement parks. Wealthier people can skip the line, but importantly, their use of FastPass makes the experience worse for everyone else.

Like at the water park yesterday, there is a gatekeeper stationed about 5 minutes wait from the front of the line. The gatekeeper alternates between people who have been waiting in the sun for 45 minutes and people who have purchased the FastPass. This makes the park so much worse for everyone else!

The one that pissed me off the most was one particular gatekeeper. There were not enough FastPast purchasers to keep the every-other-entry thing going. However, they would not fill the mini-5-minute wait line with people from the main line. In other words, there was an opportunity to shorten the big line by letting the plebes use an un-used slot, and the gatekeeper preferred to just wait and keep it available so that a FastPast user might only have to wait 1 minute instead of 5 minutes. I loathe class signifiers so much.

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