From the White House to statehouses across the country, anti-abortion politicians and activists are pushing inflammatory lies about abortion that shame women and their doctors. It’s all part of their agenda to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion entirely. Enough.
With their eyes on the 2020 election, President Trump and fellow anti-abortion lawmakers nationwide have been spreading lies and passing a slew of restrictions on safe, legal abortion. Why? Because they think it will win over voters they view as their base: the small minority of Americans who want to ban abortion and don’t believe women should control their bodies.
To understand where we are with abortion in America, you first need to know this: The vast majority of people in the United States support the right to access abortion without interference from politicians. In fact, 73% of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. And in the 2018 midterm elections, the American people issued a mandate: They want more access to health care, not less.
But the anti-abortion politicians in power have an agenda. Because they think it will score political points, President Trump and his allies are telling outlandish lies that downplay the complexity of abortion later in pregnancy and are using insulting language that shames women.
These lies are simply bolstering the anti-abortion agenda of the Trump-Pence administration, its cronies in state legislatures, and the new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. That trifecta poses a huge threat to Roe v. Wade and safe and legal abortion in this country. But in the face of this threat, there is hope. Pro-reproductive health lawmakers are stepping up not only to protect women's health and ensure abortion remains safe and legal in their states, but also to EXPAND access. Their landmark bills could truly change the abortion landscape for the better.
Anti-abortion state lawmakers’ inflammatory language...
If you’ve heard anti-abortion politicians talk about provocative, hypothetical scenarios related to bills like New York’s Reproductive Health Act, know that these politicians are just hiding from the fact that they don’t care about women’s health.
While anti-abortion politicians are making bogus claims and wild stories — which aren’t based in fact or medical science about the fraction of abortions that occur later in pregnancy — they are literally trying to end family planning programs. They’re also working to take away health insurance and care from women and children. The same restrictions these legislators support have meant fewer medical professionals can provide abortion, which forces women to take time, save money, travel much longer distances (even out of state), and arrange for lodging to reach a safe, legal abortion provider.
...mirrors Trump’s inflammatory language on abortion.
Let’s not forget: It was Trump himself who said “there must be some form of punishment” for a woman who has an abortion three years ago as a candidate.
Anti-abortion politicians in the states are in lockstep with Trump’s behavior. In Trump’s State of the Union address, he lied about how abortions work — using outrageous rhetoric from the anti-abortion movement that vilifies women who make the personal medical decision with their doctors to terminate their pregnancies in the second or third trimester.
This rhetoric is the same old smokescreen that anti-abortion politicians always pull out to distract from their true agenda: to push abortion out of reach, shut down clinics, and throw women and providers in jail.
The good news: New York and other states are shoring up abortion rights.
With Trump’s Justices on the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade and the right to safe, legal abortion is at risk like never before — more than any time since the case affirmed women’s constitutional right to abortion in 1973.
So here’s the silver lining: These threats have spurred reproductive health advocates to introduce bills that protect and expand access to safe, legal abortion. In several legislatures, lawmakers are building momentum and taking abortion out of the criminal code and treating it as health care.
Why New York’s Reproductive Health Act is one of the strongest protections for abortion access in the U.S.
- Affirms abortion is a “fundamental right” in the state of New York.
- Ensures that, if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, abortion would remain a legal health procedure — and patients and doctors would not go to jail.
- Moves abortion regulations off the state’s criminal code (where it had been for almost 50 years) and onto its health code.
- Expands access to abortion later in pregnancy if the pregnancy cannot survive.
New York’s Reproductive Health Act is one of the strongest protections for abortion access in any state in the country. It’s about making sure that at every point in a pregnancy, a woman's health (not politicians’ ideology) drives medical decisions.
Illinois, New Mexico and Rhode Island are protecting and expanding abortion access.
Similar bills introduced in Illinois, New Mexico and Rhode Island would ensure access to safe, legal abortion, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
In Illinois, pro-women’s health lawmakers introduced a Reproductive Health Act and are calling for the repeal of the state’s Parental Notification of Abortion Act. These bills would codify into law what we already know: that abortion is not a crime. The Illinois Reproductive Health Act fixes the state’s outdated abortion law with regulations that reflect current medical standards. And repealing Illinois’ parental notification mandate would help young people access health care without putting their confidentiality and safety at risk.
Although 20 states have laws on the books that would ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, bills like these Reproductive Health Acts build on existing laws in 17 states that do the opposite and protect access to abortion if the Supreme Court reverses its ruling. These new, protective bills are a direct response to a Supreme Court that is poised to do just that. Remember, Trump delivered on his promise to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the case: Trump’s appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have a track record of opposing abortion access, most recently with a Louisiana law that could eliminate abortion access at all but one health center in the state.
Here's the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade.
We are dangerously close to a world that looks much like the one before Roe v. Wade was decided 46 years ago. Experts fully expect the case to be challenged in the Supreme Court before the 2020 election.
The consequences: If Roe v. Wade is overturned or further eroded, more than 25 million women could lose the ability to access abortion in their state. That’s one-third of all women of childbearing age in America. That is unacceptable.
Here's how the Supreme Court could ban abortion in all but name.
Aside from overturning Roe v. Wade itself, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is poised to give states more leeway to heap restrictions on abortion and its providers. Trump has reshaped federal courts across the country with judges who are hostile to reproductive health and rights. All that gives the signal to anti-abortion lawmakers that their abortion restrictions won’t face resistance in court at home or in Washington.
Right now, 16 abortion-related cases are moving through federal courts — just one step away from the Supreme Court. The wrong ruling on these cases could erode the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion to the point where millions of women across the country do not have access.
State attacks are making your zip code and your paycheck determine your right to abortion.
More than 420 state restrictions have gone into law since 2011, and they are taking their toll on women’s ability to access abortion.
In 2017, 19 states passed 63 laws restricting abortion access — the largest number of anti-abortion laws enacted since 2013. So far in 2019, a whopping 10 states introduced six-week abortion bans, which push abortion out of reach before many women even know they’re pregnant. Just this week, Ohio and Mississippi are moving six-week bans through their legislative process.
The consequences of such efforts are dire:
- Louisiana is still facing the very real threat of losing all but one abortion clinic — that’s after years of attacks from anti-abortion politicians, and a temporary Supreme Court ruling that shows abortion access hangs in the balance.
- Only one abortion clinic remains in Kentucky, and the governor is pushing a total ban that would shut that clinic down.
- Idaho politicians are pushing a bill that would not only make abortion illegal but jail women and providers.
The kicker: These restrictions burden poor women the most. Women who can’t access abortion are already three times more likely to end up below the federal poverty line. When safe, legal abortion providers are far away, women with low incomes struggle to reach the care they need — if they can get it at all.
The fact is, abortion is very common.
Every day, women across our country face the deeply personal decision of whether or not to continue their pregnancy. One in four women in America will have an abortion during her lifetime. Every person deserves to access the best medical care available.
Any doctor can tell you — every pregnancy is different, and people have abortions for many different reasons. Politicians cannot make a one-size-fits-all determination about abortion that is safe for every woman's situation and medical condition. It's time for all politicians to start showing respect to the women who are facing personal decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood will continue to fight alongside reproductive health advocates to protect and expand access to health care — including access to safe, legal abortion — no matter what.
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