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THE WEEKLY REVEAL

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Hello! In this issue:

  • A first-of-its-kind analysis of police call records for every abortion clinic in Florida.

  • Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls heads to Capitol Hill, challenges Sen. Lindsey Graham on protections for workers.

  • We’ve revived our Apple News and Flipboard pages. Follow us!

NEW

Abortion’s Last Stand in the South: A Post-Roe Future Is Already Happening in Florida
By Laura C. Morel and Mohamed Al Elew

Credit: Feature photo collage by Sarah Mirk

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade – an eventuality that a leaked draft opinion all but confirmed this week – Florida is providing a glimpse of the future for states that keep abortion legal.

It has 55 abortion clinics, more than seven other Southeastern states combined. It’s also a “receiving state.” In the past five years, more than 16,000 people traveled there from other parts of the U.S. for abortion care.

It’s made the state an abortion oasis in the South. That reality has been deeply frustrating to the national anti-abortion movement, and it’s motivated an intense protest effort. But its on-the-ground impact has been almost impossible to measure – until now.

  • In a first-of-its-kind analysis, we examined 4,000 police call records for every clinic in Florida from 2016 through 2021 and found that calls related to clinic harassment, disturbance and violence doubled over the past six years.

  • Hundreds of calls were for relatively minor infractions such as trespassing and what police refer to as “suspicious” activity. But the majority in our analysis were more serious, like a man who tossed two Molotov cocktails into a Fort Myers clinic. Or a woman whose daughter had an appointment at a Gainesville clinic and called and threatened, “I will kill that doctor if they kill my grandbaby.”

As abortion is curtailed or banned across the country, the last remaining open clinics will offer protesters fewer and clearer targets. Abortion rights groups are predicting that acts of intimidation, harassment and violence will skyrocket. And they say providers and patients have precious few protections.

“At what point did we forget about the women, the pregnant people?” one Jacksonville clinic owner asked. “What about their lives? What about our lives? The rest of their lives? Does that not mean anything?”

Read the full story

THIS WEEK’S EPISODE

Crossing the Line: The Fight Over Roe

Our monthslong investigation into increased reports of harassment, disturbance and violence at abortion clinics in Florida is also the topic of this week’s Reveal.

Hear directly from Reveal’s Laura C. Morel, who reported on the ground in Jacksonville; get some background on the state’s history of anti-abortion extremism; and learn why one of the country’s top anti-abortion law firms is on speed dial for a local anti-abortion group.

Listen to the episode
🎧 Other places to listen: Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google PodcastsStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.
🎨 Illustration by Molly Mendoza for Reveal

In the News

What’s happening in the news – with a Reveal context

Credit: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

🔹 Amazon’s labor practices were front and center for the Senate Budget Committee this week. Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls testified Thursday at a hearing on whether federal taxpayer dollars should be withheld from U.S. corporations that violate labor laws, including those that “illegally prevent workers from exercising their constitutional rights to join a union,” as described by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

In his opening statement, Smalls addressed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said the topic of the hearing was “radical.” Smalls said: “It sounds like you were talking about more of the companies and the businesses in your speech, but you forgot that the people are the ones who make these companies operate and that we’re not protected.”

We’ve been investigating Amazon’s workplace safety for years, based on the company’s own internal records. There is truth in Smalls’ statement: The company has often failed to protect workers.

We’ve found that Amazon’s obsession with speed has turned its warehouses into injury mills. Workers said they had to break safety rules to keep up. They had to or they would lose their jobs, they told us. So they took the risk. But if they got hurt, they would lose their jobs anyway. Company officials have also profoundly misled the public and lawmakers about Amazon’s record on worker safety.

📦 Read more about the true toll of Amazon’s relentless drive for domination.

🔹 Michigan Republicans select an election denier as their candidate for secretary of state. On Election Day 2020, Kristina Karamo served as a poll challenger in Detroit, where she says she witnessed evidence of widespread fraud. Now, Michigan Republicans have picked Karamo as their candidate to serve as the state’s next top elections officer. The Detroit Free Press has found that “she appears to mistake standard processes for something nefarious.”

We went to Michigan earlier this year to investigate how Republicans nationwide are campaigning on the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. As we reported, the state has become a test lab for the anti-democratic movement. As a former GOP party chair told us, proponents of former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie have “been able to infiltrate the Republican Party right down to the precinct level in a way that I’ve been astounded by.” Karamo – a Trump ally who spoke at a QAnon conference – was one of the candidates we focused on. There were once questions about how viable she was as a candidate, but now she will face off against incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson for election in November.

📄 Read our investigation: Inside the GOP’s Purge of Local Election Officials in Michigan

🎧 Listen to the episode: Campaigning on the Big Lie

In Case You Missed It

How a 7-Year Prison Sentence Turns into Over 100
Mastermind of the Texas ‘Heartbeat’ Statute Has a Radical Mission to Reshape American Law
The Weekly Reveal is written by Kassie Navarro, edited by Sarah Mirk and Andrew Donohue and copy edited by Nikki Frick. If you enjoyed this issue, forward it to a friend. Have some thoughts? Drop us a line with feedback or ideas!
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