Watch John Oliver powerfully take on absurd abortion restriction laws.

You probably know somebody who's had an abortion.

According to 2008 data, 1 in 3 women will have one, meaning that odds are that even if you don't think you know anybody who's had an abortion, you probably do. And for the sake of those 1 in 3 women, it's worth paying attention to what John Oliver had to say on last night's episode of "Last Week Tonight" about the recent attacks on abortion rights.


GIFs from "Last Week Tonight"/YouTube.

These attacks are called TRAP laws, and they're forcing abortion clinics around the country to close at a rapid rate.

Since 2010, individual states have enacted more than 280 new restrictions on abortion. That startling number is what's led to the closing of somewhere around 70 abortion clinics across the country, and in many cases, leaving just one or two clinics open statewide.

These laws, often referred to as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), are usually presented as though they're being passed for the sake of women's health. They're not.

Let's make something really clear: Abortion is a very safe procedure. In fact, there's more risk in carrying a pregnancy to term than in having an abortion.

And even though this (often nonsurgical) procedure is considered safe by medical standards, TRAP laws target clinics with strict regulations that go beyond what's medically necessary to carry out an abortion procedure.


There are two types of regulations: restrictions that directly affect the clinic and restrictions that directly affect the person seeking the procedure.

In the end, they all affect the person seeking the abortion, but it's a two-pronged attack. In some states, laws specify things like the size of procedure rooms, the width of corridors, or the distance a clinic must be to a hospital.

Some states require that doctors who provide abortions have admitting privileges at hospitals, which are both unnecessary and hard to come by.

The other type of regulations, the ones that affect patients directly, include things like mandatory waiting periods between consultation and the abortion procedure, being forced to undergo unnecessary procedures like ultrasounds, being forced to watch that ultrasound, and being read a script by the doctor with medically dubious information.

These are all meant to deter and shame the person seeking the abortion from getting one.

But luckily, there's something you can do about this.

You can vote.

With one Supreme Court vacancy (and more likely coming in the next few years), whoever winds up sitting in the Oval Office come January 2017 will have a huge impact on whether TRAP laws become a way to effectively outlaw abortion or if they'll be thrown out for placing an undue burden on the person seeking an abortion (which they do).

One case is set to be heard next month — Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. With more challenges to Roe v. Wade certainly to come in the following years, it's important to know where the presidential candidates stand on abortion, even if not for yourself, but for the 1 in 3 women who will need those services.

Watch John Oliver's fantastic segment from last night's show below:

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less