“If they are successful in securing the same constitutional rights for a pregnancy as for a pregnant person, they could potentially nullify the right to abortion completely.”

The Republican-held Indiana legislature last week approved final passage of bill that would allow a anyone who causes the death of a pregnant person to be charged for the death of her fetus. Reproductive rights advocates charge this continues the trend of criminalizing pregnant people for negative pregnancy outcomes.

SB 203, sponsored by state Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), provides that the crimes of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and feticide, may be committed against a fetus in any stage of development.

Prosecutors under current state law are permitted to file charges if the fetus had attained viability.

Thirty-eight states allow a person to be charged with homicide if they are alleged to be responsible for the unlawful death of a fetus, and at least 23 states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

This year lawmakers in 15 states have introduced fetal homicide bills: Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, told Rewire.News that fetal homicide laws are intentionally drafted to curtail reproductive rights. “They are attempting to create a legal framework that could be used to support a rollback of abortion rights—by essentially giving a fetus legal standing,” Nash said. “That is incredibly important if you’re trying to protect abortion rights.”

These laws have been used to prosecute people for negative pregnancy outcomes. The GOP legislation comes in the wake the prosecution of Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who was convicted of feticide and felony neglect of a dependent for a self-induced abortion and sentenced to 41 years in prison. Patel’s conviction of feticide was later vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals, and in September 2016, Patel was released from jail after being incarcerated for more than 18 months.

Farah Diaz-Tello, senior counsel for the SIA Legal Team, told Rewire.News that legislation expanding the definition of a fetal victim to include earlier stages in pregnancy are one of the many tools abortion rights foes deploy in their coordinated effort to establish legal personhood.

“If they are successful in securing the same constitutional rights for a pregnancy as for a pregnant person, they could potentially nullify the right to abortion completely,” Diaz-Tello said.

The bill had broad bipartisan support, and was passed by the senate with a 42-6 vote and passed by the house with a 96-0 vote. The bill has been delivered to Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), who is expected to sign the bill into law.

There were some lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates who raised concerns about the bill’s unintended consequences.

During a senate committee hearing on the bill, Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) was the only lawmaker to speak out in opposition to the bill, reported the Indianapolis Star.

“If you believe in a woman’s right to choose, there is a distinction between a viable and nonviable fetus,” Lanane said.

Freeman told Indiana Public Radio that the bill is not intended to restrict access to abortion care or target pregnant people who self-induce an abortion. “This bill has nothing to do with two things. One is a woman’s legal right to an abortion,” Freeman said. “And two, it does not have anything to do with a woman who would terminate her own pregnancy.”

Meanwhile, Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, said in a statement that the bill was a “powerful step forward” in laying the legal groundwork to challenge Roe v. Wade.

“We are committed to doubling down on efforts to bring about a majority on the Supreme Court that will strictly interpret the constitution, dismantle Roe, and provide full protection for all unborn children, including those who are targeted for abortion,” Fichter said.

“If proponents’ statements about the bill not having anything to do with abortion were true, then why are abortion opponents celebrating its passage?” Diaz-Tello asked.

Jill Adams, founder and chief strategist of the SIA Legal Team, told Rewire.News that exceptions included in the legislation should protect people who have lost or ended their own pregnancies from arrest and prosecution. “However, overzealous police and prosecutors could ignore the law and criminalize people nevertheless,” Adams said.

Without clear exceptions, bills that expand criminalization of fetal harm have the potential to result in the punishment of people who suffer miscarriages or stillbirths, as well as those who self-manage abortion.

“Sometimes people who end pregnancies outside the formal health-care system rely on loved ones for support during the process,”  Adams said. “These family members and friends could potentially be arrested and prosecuted under these expanded fetal harm laws.”

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2018/03/15/fight-abortion-rights-fetuses-soon-legal-standing-indiana/

Rep. Jeanine Notter’s description fits a pattern of anti-choice legislators describing fetuses as having the features and abilities of fully-formed people.

“I saw a video of a tiny, tiny, little baby, tiny little baby, running up the uterine wall, playing.”

That’s how one New Hampshire Republican legislator described a sonogram of a fetus the size of a kidney bean.

Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) is one of the GOP sponsors of four bills that seek to block or deny access to birth control and abortion services, that reproductive health advocates have deemed “outrageous.”

By medical standards, a fetus is the size of a bean at eight weeks, long before it has recognizable features like hands and feet. Notter’s description fits a pattern of anti-choice legislators describing fetuses as having the features and abilities of fully-formed people. In 2013, for example, a Texas congressman said abortion care should be outlawed since fetuses can be seen masturbating in the womb.

Notter made her comments about the “running” fetus last month, during a hearing for a bill to establish fetal viability at eight weeks. The bill has been defeated, but Notter’s comments were captured on video and released last week by Granite State Progress, a New Hampshire-based advocacy organization.

Representative Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham), an outspoken critic of these anti-choice bills, told Rewire.News that the attacks on reproductive rights have been “relentless and never ending.”

“It’s true, if you’re an American woman, you’ve never lived a day in this country without someone trying to legislate what’s going on with your reproductive system,” Altschiller said. “And usually it’s people who don’t have a uterus, and also don’t have a medical degree.”

That was the case in recent committee hearings where health professionals presented facts to counteract the anti-choice myths perpetrated by these bills and their sponsors, from denying the practice of informed consent to labeling women as “vulnerable persons” who are not able to take care of themselves, she said.

Bill HB 1787 would allow a physician, nurse, or pharmacy employee to refuse to provide contraception or abortion care, mirroring the stance of the Trump administration’s health-care discrimination wing in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“When you read the legislation, it essentially allows this 17-year-old clerk at CVS to claim a right of conscience in not selling one of their peers condoms. It is not just for the pharmacist. It’s for anyone who works at a pharmacy in any capacity,” Altschiller said.

The Republican bill will have a full house vote Wednesday, along with HB 1707, which seeks to establish forced 24-hour waiting periods for those seeking abortion care; HB 1721, which would restrict access if a family member can label the pregnant person “vulnerable”; and HB 1680, which would prohibit abortion care after viability without any basis in medical standards.

“In a time when Vice President Mike Pence openly says access to safe, legal abortion will soon end and Governor [Christopher] Sununu is co-hosting fundraisers with him, any attack on women’s reproductive health is a slippery slope back to the days of back alley abortions and limited options for women,” Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice-Hawkins told Rewire.News in an email.

Sununu’s office did not respond to emails seeking comment. The Republican governor had been openly anti-choice despite New Hampshire being a pro-choice friendly state but has not recently discussed the issue, advocates said.

Passage of these bills would prove disastrous for reproductive health care in New Hampshire, said advocates.

“The anti-choice lobby in DC and New Hampshire have made it clear they are willing to take away not only abortion care, but also contraception coverage to prevent unintended pregnancies to begin with,” Rice-Hawkins told Rewire.News. “This is not about choice, this is about a worldview that puts women back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Governor Sununu and state lawmakers have a responsibility to publicly denounce this legislation and make it clear they will not support attacks on women’s reproductive rights.”

Jeanne Hruska, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, told Rewire.News it’s heartening that three of the four anti-choice bills come with negative recommendations in the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans. The house has already defeated two bills this session that would have threatened reproductive rights, including one that would have defined fetal viability at eight weeks.

“These bills do not reflect New Hampshire’s strong history of protecting privacy rights, including women’s reproductive rights,” she said. “We are encouraging legislators to continue to champion women’s rights and to uphold New Hampshire’s commitment to privacy.”

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2018/03/14/new-hampshire-gop-legislator-sees-fetus-running-playing-justifying-anti-choice-bills/

I so love my kids, I can be envious of my wife for carrying them when pregnant. But I care about her right to choose just as much
Saatchi advert featuring 'pregnant' man
 A celebrated Saatchi advert for the UK’s Health Education Council from the 1980s. Photograph: PR

I have two kids. I love them. I wanted them to be born. I wanted to be a parent for years before my wife gave birth to them. I cried when I saw their first ultrasounds. My wife and I even bought a cheap fetal heart monitor so we could listen to their heartbeats some nights before we went to bed, smiling.

I fly a lot for work. Now, when there are babies or toddlers on a plane who make a racket or cry, I don’t mind. They remind me of my own children, and any noise they make (which previously would have driven me nuts) makes me miss my own kids and count the days till I can be home with them wishing they’d pipe down.

Both times my wife was pregnant, I would sometimes envy the fact that she got to carry our babies around in her all day and all night. She was getting to know them before me. It seemed like the ultimate snuggle.

Our oldest is two and the younger one is an infant. We’re already talking about having another. My wife loves being pregnant and we both love babies and kids, so signs point toward a third. We may adopt. We’ve talked a lot about that, too.

I also believe that a woman should have access to a safe, legal abortion if she wants one.

This belief of mine exists in the same mind whose general knee-jerk reaction upon hearing the word “abortion” is to conjure to mind a sad, scary surgical procedure that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near. This belief exists in the same mind that practically combusts with excitement when I hear a friend or relative (or even a stranger or fictional character) is pregnant.

I support a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion because centuries of history shows us that women are going to get abortions whether they’re safe and legal or not. And when they’re not safe and legal, these women will often die terribly or be damaged irreparably. In my fantasy utopia, there would be no abortion. There’d be contraception readily available and there’d be education geared toward preventing unwanted pregnancies. Adoption would be easier.

We don’t live in a utopia, however. We live in a country where scoundrels are certain and nuance is vilified. I opened up my own thought process above to demonstrate that it isn’t neat. But it’s all taking place unified in one man’s skull. And I’m not unique in having a complex thought relationship with abortion. I’m like a lot of people. Most people.

People like to have sex. My own research has shown that it feels really, really good. It’s OK to want to do it, and it’s OK to do it. It has its price, however, and the price for women is so very many multiples greater than it is for men. I see it in my own life. I have the incredible good fortune to be able to spend a lot of time at home with my wife and kids. I was even able to take three months off from touring as a standup for the final weeks of my wife’s most recent pregnancy and the first weeks of our new son’s life. I was, and am, present.

But even when I’m in the same room as my wife and sons, my contribution to their lives pales in comparison to my wife’s. I’m not feeding them with breastmilk my body made out of its own blood as my uterus repairs itself and as my body and mind approach even basic tasks from a formidable sleep and energy deficit. My wife, at her resting state, is heroic, and I am, in essence, just some guy.

If I wanted to, I could split and suffer limited consequences. In the worst-case scenario, I’d give up half my income, or some such paltry nonsense, which wouldn’t even nip at the heels of my wife’s gift of her body and soul to our children. Not that a father who raises his children isn’t a wonderful thing; he is. He just better enter the game with a suitcase of humility and gratitude toward the woman who birthed his child.

I don’t know how to look at those who’d restrict or deny access to abortion, contraception and abortion and not see misogyny. Not sexism; that’s a gender neutral word. Misogyny is the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. It’s an ugly word and it represents an ugly thing.

And Good God, is it lazy. And disingenuous. And it is the warm and welcoming home to the idea that a pregnant woman who doesn’t want to take her pregnancy to term should not have access to a safe and legal abortion.

If you’ve never done it, imagine a man, in this man’s world in which we live, peeing on a stick after throwing up out of the blue one morning, and discovering he was pregnant. Imagine him looking down the barrel of a 40 or so week pregnancy, with his body betraying him in new and fascinating ways, potentially including but not limited to: HPV flare-ups that can turn into cervical cancer with astounding speed, gestational diabetes, or an ectopic pregnancy that could find him bleeding to death on the floor of his office bathroom. (He’s a man, so he didn’t go to the doctor early enough to find out why he was in constant, thrumming pain from his lower back up to his shoulders.)

Or perhaps he simply doesn’t want to bring an unwanted child into a world with dwindling resources, and orphanages loaded with children who, it is mathematically certain, will never be adopted. Or perhaps, we never even find out why he wants the abortion, because he’s a man, and no one asks.

If you’ve imagined that far, then you know the next logical thing to imagine is that very same man galloping on horseback to a hospital or abortion clinic, flanked by a police escort, where his path is impeded by not a single protester, to get the safest, most legal abortion possible, likely while watching “Man of Steel” though a state of the art 3-D headset, so he might be comforted by explosions and alien warfare as the doctor treats him.

I’ve written this as a father of two children I’m insane about, and as the husband of a woman I look forward to getting pregnant again, per her stated wish. I’ve also written it as someone who, to his knowledge, has never been responsible for a pregnancy that was aborted. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve written it as a man who thinks of abortions as a sad, scary and wholly undesirable thing.

Undesirable, that is, unless the woman in whose body the pregnancy is occurring desires to have one. In that case, I’m writing it as a man who will protect her right to have it safely and legally.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/rob-delaney-access-safe-legal-abortion

With a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority that seems at least open to the idea of allowing evangelicals to weaponize the First Amendment, a win for reproductive rights advocates here is not a given.

The state of California has more than 200 “crisis pregnancy centers” operating within its borders. These anti-choice businesses are set up to look like comprehensive reproductive health-care facilities; in reality, their purpose is generally to direct people away from abortion clinics and through their doors, where they can pressure clients to carry their pregnancies to term.

These businesses are almost always religiously affiliated and promote anti-contraception and anti-abortion viewpoints. They have a documented history of using deceptive advertising practices to target poor people and communities of color. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra that these business practices—which the centers deny are deceptive—are constitutionally protected free speech.

In 2015, California lawmakers passed the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act, or the Reproductive FACT Act, which amounts to a mandatory disclosure bill. Lawmakers passed the measure in response to allegations that businesses posing as reproductive health-care clinics were providing clients with misleading and sometimes dangerously inaccurate information about their pregnancies and their options.

During hearings on the bill, the legislature found that the ability of California patients to receive comprehensive and accurate information about their reproductive rights is hindered by the existence of these centers. According to early legislative analysis done on the bill and cited in court documents, these centers employ “intentionally deceptive advertising and counseling practices [that] often confuse, misinform, and even intimidate women from making fully-informed, time-sensitive decisions about critical health care.”

The Reproductive FACT Act disclosures are extremely straightforward. Facilities that are licensed as pregnancy centers by the state must display a brief statement disclosing that California offers access to free and low-cost birth control and abortion care, along with a number to call for more information. Unlicensed centers must disclose, in up to 13 languages, that they are not medical facilities and do not offer medical care.

That’s it.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ litigation mill representing the centers challenging the law, claim those disclosures are too much, though. They sued before the law could take effect, arguing the disclosures are state-compelled “pro-abortion” speech. Both a lower court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the law. In November, the Roberts Court agreed to step in and hear ADF’s claims.

This should be an easy case for the Court to settle—because, quite frankly, there is no compelled speech here. Licensed centers are simply required to post a notice of the existence of a state program with the number to call for more information. Unlicensed centers must disclose the fact that they are not licensed. These are disclosures of facts, not political opinions on abortion and contraception.

And unlike some state laws that mandate abortion providers read a government-sponsored script to patients when performing an ultrasound, or others that require doctors inform patients incorrectly that abortion causes breast cancer, the California Reproductive FACT Act doesn’t require employees at these centers to say a single word.

But with a conservative Court majority that seems at least open to the idea of allowing evangelicals to weaponize the First Amendment, a win for reproductive rights advocates here is not a given. As we saw in McCullen v. Coakley, the case challenging the constitutionality of a Massachusetts buffer zone, the justices were susceptible to the anti-choice framing of “plump grandmas” looking to “counsel” patients out of having an abortion in the context of whether the state could enforce certain protest restrictions.  And as Justice Anthony Kennedy showed in his majority opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart when he helped create “abortion regret syndrome,” they are also susceptible to the anti-choice narrative that it is abortion providers, not fake clinics, preying on vulnerable people. In many ways, NIFLA v. Becerra brings these two narratives together in its challenge to the California law.

That doesn’t mean the Court will buy it, though. As with Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the case that struck down Texas anti-abortion requirements that doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics meet the same architectural standards as stand-alone surgical centers, evidence in these cases still matters. California had plenty of evidence of the harm these centers were causing when it first passed the Reproductive FACT Act and responded with a narrowly tailored law that doesn’t prevent anti-abortion centers from operating. It just requires they operate in a transparent fashion.

The Court hears oral arguments on March 20 and a decision is expected later this summer.

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2018/03/13/anti-choice-clinics-claim-deceptive-business-practices-free-speech-will-justice-kennedy-agree/

Democratic state legislatures across the country are joining forces to push back on a creeping anti-abortion agenda

Just weeks into 2018, too many legislators across the country are already pushing their anti-woman, anti-abortion agenda. From Tennessee to Ohio, Idaho to Mississippi, we see state legislators who, mistakenly, think that their role is to limit and restrict the rights and dignity of the people we serve.

In fact, over the past seven years, more than 400 bills have been signed into state lawcurtailing access to reproductive health care.

But there is more to the story, and the three of us are committed to flipping the script.

This year, we are joining with over 250 state legislators from 42 states in launching the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council, a first-of-its-kind network of state legislators committed to advancing reproductive freedom.

For too long, the debate on reproductive justice has been ruled by those seeking to limit freedom, rather than advance it. By joining this coalition of likeminded legislators, we are seeking to shift that frame and instead envision a nation in which each of us can make our own decisions about our reproductive health, pregnancy, and parenting, free from political interference. We view this as intrinsically woven into the broader progressive fabric of gender equity, economic justice, and racial equity.

We realize we must envision that nation in order to get there. We must set bold goals, and join together to accomplish them. That means we must advance policies in each and every state that can help us achieve our vision.

And the momentum has begun.

In Maryland, a new law went into effect this year that allows women and men expanded access to contraception at little or no cost and providing for six months’ worth of birth control at a time. Now we’re working to strengthen and expand this reproductive health care coverage even further.

In Washington State, we believe that access to reproductive health care options is necessary for women to have equal economic opportunities. Last year, we passed legislation to allow 12 months of contraception available at one time. This year, we’re advancing the Reproductive Parity Act, to make sure that health plans that cover maternity care also include coverage for abortion care.

And in Pennsylvania, we’re aiming to make sure that Pennsylvania’s women have access to a full range of preventive and reproductive health services, including well-woman care, contraception, and screenings, as well as appropriate counseling for sexually transmitted infections, breast cancer, domestic violence, and breastfeeding.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Reproductive health and self-determination are essential elements of human freedom and necessary to a life of dignity and opportunity. Control over one’s body is essential to controlling one’s future. Our hope is that by joining our voices and power together through this Council and working toward a common goal that we can achieve real change and advance policies that demonstrate our profound and well-deserved respect for reproductive freedom — and for women.

We stand with and work for all people seeking health, dignity, and freedom, for themselves, their families, and their communities — including undocumented Americans who are too often the targets of xenophobic laws and deserve the same access to reproductive care. We also recognize that not everyone who needs contraception, abortion, and maternity care identifies as a cisgender woman, and that truly comprehensive and culturally appropriate reproductive and sexual health care must meet the needs of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.

It seems like common sense: When states pass policies that limit access to reproductive health care, women’s health suffers. When states pass laws that are supportive of the full spectrum of women’s reproductive health, women’s health improves. There are also healthier outcomes for children, and our communities are more prosperous so all families can thrive.

As our platform clearly states, we proudly champion our progressive values and assert that reproductive justice is a central and necessary component of an inclusive progressive agenda. The ability to control our fertility and the ability to form families as we choose is intrinsically tied to achieving the goals of gender equity, economic justice, and racial equity.

The hundreds of state legislators from across the nation — from blue states to deep red states — have joined the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council so that we can make our voices stronger together and use the power of state lawmaking for good.

Source: https://www.salon.com/2018/03/03/democrats-want-to-flip-the-script-on-reproductive-freedom/

March 10 is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. It’s a day to say thank you to the many healthcare providers around the country who work tirelessly to give pregnant people access to abortions or abortion-related treatment, like consultations or post-procedure care. It was started in memory of Dr. David Gunn, an OB/GYN physician who was murdered in 1993 by anti-abortion activists.
Today, we give thanks to the myriad of healthcare providers who perform this crucial healthcare procedure. This also includes their clinical staff, front desk workers, insurance billers, counselors, and researchers in the OB/GYN field. Their work ensures the health and safety of people seeking this constitutionally-protected service.
In the video below, Planned Parenthood spoke to anonymous patients who expressed their gratitude to their providers. One word kept coming up: compassion. Abortion providers allow pregnant people to make a decision about their own lives, relying on kindness and facts. One patient spoke of a provider who noticed them wavering on their decision, and encouraged them to forgo the abortion. Another is a trans man who expressed gratitude that their healthcare wasn’t marginalized because of their gender identity.
We celebrate the providers because there are so few of them. In the United States, abortion providers are relatively scarce outside of reproductive health clinics. Abortion is generally not taught to students in medical school, with that responsibility falling to OB/GYN faculty in the physician’s post-medical school specialty training. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests medical schools offer elective abortion training, but it is only a recommendation — a national industry survey showed that only a third of medical students reported formal lectures on the subject.
The scarcity of providers belies how often women access the service. The Guttmacher Institute (using data from the CDC) found that 19% of pregnancies were terminated through elective abortion in 2014, and that was a historic low. That is a lot of people seeking the service — almost 1 in 5 pregnant people has an abortion.
The fact is abortion is common, and the people who provide it face stiff opposition. Today, we give our thanks for those doing this work on behalf of fair, safe reproductive healthcare.
Source: https://www.refinery29.com/2018/03/193167/national-day-of-appreciation-for-abortion-providers-2018-planned-parenthood

So-called silent raids, which involve ICE detaining people during their regularly scheduled immigration check-ins, have become increasingly common in the last year.

Reproductive justice activist Alejandra Pablos has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in what immigrant rights advocates are calling an act of “retaliation” for protesting in Virginia earlier this year. She is currently in custody for an indefinite period of time at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona.

Pablos works as the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network field coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and is a member of We Testify, an abortion storytelling leadership program of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and Mijente, a social justice organizing network. She was put in deportation proceedings, losing her legal permanent resident status, more than two years ago following a drug-related arrest and a Driving Under the Influence charge.

Elsewhere, other activists have called attention to apparent retaliation against protesters, most notably in Washington state. “Alejandra isn’t the only one. Detainment is also evidence of ICE’s pattern of singling out immigrant leaders for being outspoken and fearless community mobilizers. In recent months, ICE detained prominent immigrant activist Maru Mora-Villalpando for her ‘extensive involvement with anti-ICE protests and Latino advocacy programs.’ Among other immigration activists, ICE has also detained Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, and Eliseo Jurado, husband of a Peruvian woman taking sanctuary at a Colorado church,” NLIRH said in a statement to Rewire.News after publication.

Mijente noted in a petition on Wednesday, the same day that Pablos was taken into custody, that she had led “chants [in early January] at a peaceful protest in Virginia [against deportations] outside of the Department of Homeland Security,” where local agents took her into custody. “It appears that after the protest in Virginia, one of the ICE agents called her deportation officer in Tucson, Arizona, and sought to get her detained in retaliation for her protest.” She is actively fighting the charges of suspicion of trespassing and obstruction of justice from this arrest; her court date was scheduled for April.

“It appears that after the protest in Virginia, one of the ICE agents called her deportation officer in Tucson, Arizona, and sought to get her detained in retaliation for her protest,” Mijente explained in its petition.

She was taken into custody Wednesday morning at what seems to have been a regularly scheduled check-in with ICE in Tucson, Arizona. After already spending two years at Eloy and being placed in deportation proceedings, Pablos is now seeking asylum status “based on dangers she would face as a political organizer in Mexico,” noted Mijente.

The organization’s petition continued, “She will not have a chance to be released or to pay a bond until she sees an immigration judge at an indeterminate time.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that immigrants held in detention are not entitled to bond hearings under the law—meaning they can be held, as Rewire.News’ Senior Legal Analyst Imani Gandy explained, “often in prison-like conditions and for years on end—while waiting for a decision about whether they will be permitted to remain in the United States or whether they will be deported.”

In a Facebook video, recorded by another organizer shortly before her check-in to be used in the event that she was taken into custody, Pablos explained, “I went in today thinking that they were going to readjust my bond. I was recently detained in Virginia at a DHS protest and now I’m being detained illegally and I’m going to Eloy Detention Center where I was already there for two years. ICE lied to me. I went in there in good faith. I’m doing everything that I can. It’s been a long time that I’ve been going through this case and they’re trying to really separate me and tear our movement apart and tear our community apart, and I’m not letting that happen.”

Pablos reportedly moved from Arizona to Washington, D.C., in 2016.

“Our hermana en la lucha and poderosa Alejandra was detained in Arizona earlier this morning by ICE. Alejandra is a powerful immigrant and reproductive justice organizer who has done incredible work for the Latinx community in Arizona and Virginia. Right now, we are asking you to join us in supporting Alejandra so that we can bring her home, said Margie Del Castillo, director of field and advocacy at the NLIRH, in the statement. “NLIRH will continue to fight for so that our community can live with dignity and without fear of deportation.”

As Rewire.News Immigration Reporter Tina Vasquez has reported, so-called silent raids, which involve ICE detaining people during their regularly scheduled immigration check-ins, have become increasingly common in the last year. The immigration reform group America’s Voice noted in a 2017 press statement, “A key way the Trump Administration is running up its deportation numbers involves going after the undocumented immigrants who are easiest to find—those who have been checking in with ICE regularly for years under an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.” The group’s executive director Frank Sharry added, “With few exceptions, ICE ‘check-ins’ are becoming ‘turn yourself in for deportation’ events. The Trump Administration doesn’t need to rely on raids when these ‘silent raids’ advance their goals of sowing fear among immigrants and deporting whoever they can get their hands on.”

In response to questions about Pablos’ case and the apparent pattern of retaliation against activists, an ICE spokesperson said in a general statement after publication that the agency does not target undocumented people “for arrest based on advocacy positions they hold or in retaliation for critical comments they make.” Matthew Albence, executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations, added that, “as ICE leadership has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of [unauthorized migrants] from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and—if found removable by final order—removal from the United States.”

In Pablos’ case, activists have launched a petition on her behalf to support her release from ICE custody, heeding her call in the Facebook video: “I need you to stand up for me. I need you to fight for me,” she said. “Call ICE, write letters of support, do whatever we can.”

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2018/03/07/reproductive-justice-activist-detained-retaliation-protesting/