President-elect Donald Trump has doubled down on campaign promises to appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices and to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision that enshrined women’s rights over their own bodies and the right to terminate a pregnancy if they so choose.
In an interview with CBS’s Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, Trump said that “If [Roe v. Wade] ever were overturned, it would go back to the states,” meaning that the Republicans who control some 32 state legislatures across the country will be free to ban abortion in their states and impose Christian extremism on their populations.
Stahl notes that this would mean millions of American women would no longer have access to abortion procedures.
Trump replied that “Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go — they’ll have to go to another state.” When asked if this was an acceptable result, the President-elect said. “Well, we’ll see what happens. It’s got a long way to go.”
Abortion rights are already under relentless assault from conservatives across the nation.
Over the past five years alone, Republican-dominated state legislatures throughout America have passed 288 anti-abortion laws. Last year alone, 350 pieces of anti-abortion legislation were proposed, with 47 becoming law.
Anti-abortion extremists, refusing to be cowed by the landmark Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to choose, have turned to “TRAP” laws – Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers – to slice away the rights of American women to control their own bodies, piece by piece. These malicious laws defy logic, common sense and empathy, placing overbearing restrictions on access to abortion that don’t outright ban it – but they make it so difficult to get an abortion that they might as well.
The harmful effects of these laws are already clear. In Texas, where the controversial HB 2 “TRAP” law package was recently shot down by the Supreme Court, anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 women have attempted to self-induce abortions with ineffective home remedies or potentially dangerous medications purchased in Mexico.
Far from “protecting women’s health” as the state claims, their oppressive laws have potentially put millions at risk as they inevitably seek other ways to end their unwanted pregnancies. Abortions performed in clinics are incredibly safe; the risk of dying from a properly performed abortion is about four in a million – fourteen times higher than the risk of death from childbirth.
Now that Donald Trump and the Republicans control a super-majority in both houses of Congress, the 20-week abortion ban that Republicans have been trying fruitlessly to pass might become a reality.
“You’ll go back to a position like they had, where people perhaps will go to illegal places. But we have to ban [abortion]” said Trump on the campaign trail. These latest comments confirm that our misogynist-in-chief is eager to to strip women of the right to make decisions over their own bodies and to punish them for daring to do so. One shudders to think of how many women will die or be grievously injured from illegal, unsafe abortion practices in Trump’s America – but that’s just fine with the serial sexual predator in the Oval Office.
These underhanded and shameful attacks on American women’s right to choose are typical of the self-serving hypocrites in the Republican Party who profess their devotion to “life” but then have nothing to offer the children once they are born. They claim to love children but won’t offer the parents any paid leave so they have the proper time to care for the child; they refuse to fund universal kindergarten so the children have somewhere to be while the parents are at work, and cut the budgets of public schools that would educate the child.
Restricting access to abortion perpetuates the cycle of poverty and keeps American women pregnant and barefoot – just as the religious extremists in the Republican Party like them. They work tirelessly to impose on the American people an austere brand of sexual puritanism that the Taliban would be quite at home with while flagrantly disregarding the spirit of the law laid down by the Supreme Court. The women of America have fought too long and too hard to be continuously shackled by the whims of chauvinist fanatics obsessed with and terrified by female sexuality.
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Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.