Anti-LGBTQ Rep. Pretends to Care About Protecting “Unborn Gay Children” With Anti-Abortion Bill
Welcome to The Week in Reproductive Justice, a weekly recap of all news related to the hot-button issue of what lawmakers are allowing women to do with their bodies!
In some real life news that seems pulled directly off of The Onion’s homepage, this week, notably anti-LGBTQ Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin introduced anti-abortion legislation that he purports is actually very pro-LGBTQ, as it will help “unborn gay children.”
The proposed legislation, which Rewire notes is likely to fail in a Democratic, pro-choice-majority U.S. House of Representatives, would ban fetal genetic testing that can lead to later abortions in cases of severe fetal anomalies.
Duffy, who has previously sided against government protections for LGBTQ people who work for federal contractors and vocally supports the rabidly homophobic, transphobic Trump administration, has justified his bill by citing a study that suggests same-sex attraction can be genetic. His office wrote in a press release that the recently released research could “lead to the termination of pregnancies by parents who do not wish to have a same sex attraction child.” However, there is quite literally no actual scientific evidence that such testing is possible.
In either case, it seems likely that if Duffy’s concerns were actually with the wellbeing of LGBTQ children who may have abusive, homophobic parents, he would be working to dismantle the anti-LGBTQ culture that is systematically perpetuated by his party and base. If he really cared about LGBTQ children, he would care about them outside the womb, where, again, his party and base systematically, routinely fight anti-discrimination laws, or fight for other barriers to LGBTQ youths’ access to shelter, health care, education, safety, and inclusion.
As the National Women’s Law Center’s director of reproductive rights, Leila Abolfazli, told Rewire, “the premise of the bill basically acknowledges that there’s discrimination against LGBTQ people … but [Republicans] are doing nothing to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination on an everyday basis.”
“It’s offensive that this is the way he’s approaching it,” Abolfazli pointed out.
And once again, the old adage “pro-life until you’re born” couldn’t be more true.
The Trump administration revs up its global anti-choice campaign
In case the Trump administration’s recent defunding of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health groups on the domestic level wasn’t ghastly enough, this week, the administration took the opportunity to take a swing at global reproductive rights, too.
According to NPR, at a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke on behalf of the U.S., as well as more than a dozen other countries, to assert that abortion is not an international human right.
“We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions such as ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices like abortion in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies,” Azar said.
And according to other reports, a leaked letter from the United States sent to United Nation member states calls for the formation of an anti-abortion coalition to “protect the unborn and defend the family.” The letter is reportedly signed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as Azar, and criticizes key UN policies and initiatives that are supportive of sexual and reproductive health as “harmful.”
“As a key priority in global health promotion, we respectfully request that your government join the United States in ensuring that every sovereign state has the ability to determine the best way to protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unity of society vital to children thriving and leading healthy lives,” the letter states. “We remain gravely concerned that aggressive efforts to reinterpret international instruments to create a new international right to abortion and to promote international policies that weaken the family have advanced through some United Nations fora.”
The Trump administration has already taken an aggressive, highly detrimental anti-choice global stance, when President Trump reenacted the global gag rule within days of becoming President in 2017. The global gag rule, as its name suggests, effectively censors global health organizations from offering information about abortion and family planning, as well as abortion and family planning services, which are often life-saving in developing countries to reduce rates of maternal and infant mortality, child marriage, and STIs.
Global research, similar to domestic research in the U.S., has shown that restrictions and bans on abortion don’t impact the rate at which it takes place. However, they do increase rates of unsafe abortions and maternal and infant mortality, as women and pregnant people without safe access to medication abortion can be forced to resort to highly unsafe methods to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. And even in the U.S. and other industrialized nations, for women in states with declining access to surgical abortion clinics, use of safe medication abortion can come with the risk of being prosecuted.
The Trump administration’s revved up efforts to stigmatize and shutter abortion access around the world shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just look at this administration’s dangerous record in both the international and domestic spheres of recklessly putting politics and ideology before pregnant people’s health, safety and bodily autonomy. But it is, as usual, a continued international embarrassment.
Anti-abortion activists in Georgia launch 40-day demonstration outside clinic
In the wake of a recent report detailing how anti-abortion violence targeting abortion clincis and patients has surged to record highs, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported anti-abortion activists in Georgia this week launched a 40-day demonstration outside an abortion clinic in Marietta, in an effort to make Georgia an “abortion-free state.” The demonstration began Tuesday, and will stretch out until early November.
The demonstration comes months after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a horrific six-week abortion ban into law, which would effectively ban and potentially criminalize nearly all abortions, as most people don’t realize they’re pregnant at this point. As all abortion bans do, this law, which is thankfully being challenged in court as we speak, also dangerously opens the door for women and pregnant people to be surveilled by the state. There is no way to differentiate medication abortion from miscarriage, meaning all pregnancies and all people who could become pregnant could essentially be surveiled and prosecuted for the outcomes of their pregnancies.
The “40 Days For Life” project says it has 500 similar events planned to take place at abortion clinics across the country. For all the anti-abortion movement’s claims to be centered in peace, love, and cherishing life, it’s responsible for several assassinations of anti-abortion providers, regular cases of vandalism and arson, and routine, traumatizing harassment and stalking of clinic patients, staff and volunteers. As if the whole “fighting for the state’s right to force women to give birth” part of their movement didn’t make it clear enough, the anti-abortion movement is inherently rooted in violence. Their targeted harassment of clinics is a direct manifestation of this.
Tune in next week to see what lawmakers will try next in their never-ending mission to derail reproductive justice!
(image: Avivi Aharon / Shutterstock.com)
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