Ivanka Trump’s Reproductive Rights Record Perpetuates Sexism
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!
This week, pop culture has been the site of ferocious political strife. We’ve watched the fallout of ABC’s Roseanne due to jarringly racist comments from Roseanne Barr herself, and your regular dose of selective conservative outrage directed at Samantha Bee for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c-nt” after the president’s daughter shared a photo of herself and her child amid outrage over the president’s family-destroying immigration policy. (As a reminder to anyone who would suggest Ivanka can’t be blamed for her father’s policies, recall that she is also a senior adviser in her father’s administration.)
You don’t have to be a proponent of the c-word to recognize how ridiculous that is to be upset about for a White House serving a president who has boasted about sexual assault, said too many awful things about women to count, and welcomed to the White House people who have called Hillary Clinton worse. And in either case, this is hardly the first time Ivanka Trump has demonstrated blatant hypocrisy fully deserving of criticism. The self-proclaimed champion of working women, in addition to standing behind a widely accused serial sexual abuser, also once pressured Planned Parenthood to stop offering abortion services, and there’s no evidence she’s doing anything whatsoever to fight back against her father’s plans to strip the organization of Title X funding. It seems worth reminding the people who are now regarding Ivanka as a martyr of sexism that she, herself, unapologetically perpetuates misogyny through actions, rather than words.
Arkansas down to one abortion clinic, effectively bans medication abortion
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided it would not hear a legal challenge to an Arkansas law that effectively bans medication abortion. In addition to allowing the law to go into effect, the Supreme Court’s decision also leaves the state with just one clinic offering abortion services.
The law in question requires medication abortion providers to have contract with a doctor with hospital admitting privileges, and Planned Parenthood has said that it has been unable to find a physician to contract with. The law is medically unnecessary due to the proven safety of medication abortion, which is why its opponents argue that it places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion, violating the conditions of Roe v. Wade.
Medication abortion access is also pivotal in states like Arkansas, which are otherwise vast abortion deserts. “For a good portion of women in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this means that abortion is banned for them,” Dr. Stephanie Ho, a physician at Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Fayetteville, Arkansas, told NBC.
Louisiana Governor signs 15-week ban
This week, Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that bans abortion at or after 15 weeks. The bill would be among the most restrictive in the country, and its success comes at the same time that states like Iowa have passed fetal heartbeat abortion bans, while Mississippi has similarly passed a 15-week ban that is currently being challenged in court.
Of course, the ban, which would also threaten to jail doctors who perform abortions and fine them $1,000, will only take effect if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds a similar law in Mississippi.
Late-term abortion bans ignore the special circumstances and experiences of women seeking the procedure, in addition to undermining the right to an abortion until fetal viability mandated by Roe. The fact that the bill was signed by a governor who claims to be a Democrat should highlight exactly why the Democratic Party should reconsider its “unity” approach of supporting and fundraising for anti-choice Democratic candidates. Their stances will have real—and detrimental—effects on policy and women’s livelihoods, and Edwards’ decision to unapologetically sign the bill should show just how dangerous compromising on this issue could be.
New state attorneys general join suit against Trump birth control policy
In the absence of the contraception mandate, employers and insurers are able to discriminate against female employees and deny them access to birth control. The bill does not require this discrimination to be justified by an employer or insurer’s religious views, but moral objection. In other words, anyone who takes issue with women having sex not for the purpose of procreation (or taking birth control for any other reason)—a.k.a. sexism—has free reign to deny women health care that is critical to their wellbeing, safety, and economic status. The mandate notably granted copay-free birth control to 55 million American women and saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013, according to some estimates.
“Women need contraception for their health because contraception is medicine, pure and simple,” Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro said in a statement. “President Trump broke the law to undermine women’s health, and I’m standing up to protect and ensure access to contraceptive care.”
Tune in next week to see what lawmakers will try next in their never-ending mission to derail reproductive justice!
(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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