Trump And Right-Wing Media Are Demanding Greater State Control Over Abortion -- Even If It Causes Harm
Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN, DAYANITA RAMESH & JOHN KERR
Forty-four years ago, Roe v. Wade determined that the constitutionally protected right to privacy ensures an individual’s ability to make personal, medical decisions without interference from politicians -- including the decision to have an abortion.
But now, President-elect Donald Trump and anti-choice politicians who have made careers from promoting scientifically dubious and medically harmful anti-abortion laws want to eliminate Roe’s protections.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to appoint “pro-life justices” who would “automatically” overturn Roe. After the election, Trump told CBS’ Lesley Stahl that he would prefer control over abortion “go back to the states” even it it meant that women would “perhaps have to go … to another state” to obtain necessary reproductive health care.
This may sound like hyperbolic campaign rhetoric, but the threat is very real -- and it’s impossible to overstate how dangerous losing federally protected abortion rights would be.
Right-wing media have consistently argued that greater state control over abortion clinics and providers is necessary to “protect women’s health.” The Supreme Court rejected this allegation in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which rebuked states for attempting to baselessly regulate abortion clinics under the guise of improving public health and safety.
Legal abortion is one of the safest and most common medical procedures. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Where abortion is legal, it is extremely safe. … In contrast, historical and contemporary data show that where abortion is illegal or highly restricted, women resort to unsafe means to end an unwanted pregnancy.”
In contrast, life before Roe v. Wade -- without federally protected abortion rights -- was dangerous and difficult. Women traveled to neighboring states or even other countries to receive an abortion, often alone, in secrecy, with just enough money pooled together from friends or roommates. Some even saw their friends die from what can and should be a safe and simple procedure.
Trump and anti-choice lawmakers seem to think a return to this grim reality would constitute “protecting women.”
Even without attacks on Roe, accessing reproductive health care is already difficult -- especially for marginalized communities. Between rules like the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion, and the targeted restriction of clinics meant to increase logistical barriers to abortion access, essential reproductive care is already tenuously out of reach for many.
Conservatives are already putting people’s lives at risk with medically unnecessary laws that restrict abortion access. If they succeed in eliminating the federal and constitutional protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, people will get hurt.
Anyone trying to spin that as “protecting women’s health” is lying to you.