Unsatisfied With Oppressing Just American Women, Trump Officials Fight for Anti-Choice UN Policies
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!
The past week was a bit of a mixed bag for reproductive rights. A court ruling prohibited Ohio from defunding Planned Parenthood, but around the same time, a report alleged that a “closed-door” meeting saw Trump officials imploring the UN to promote “abstinence-only” women’s health programs.
In some pleasant news to get the ball rolling, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who has become a household name for telling the story of her alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump, has reportedly promised to give the $130,000 she received in her NDA regarding the affair to Planned Parenthood, if she wins her ongoing lawsuit.
Daniels has made a concerted effort to distance herself from #MeToo because, while the affair was largely one-sided and a display of male entitlement and disproportionate power dynamics, it was also consensual. But nonetheless, Daniels’ story has had crucial implications for feminism through her allegations suggesting the president’s support for violence against women, if Daniels truly was threatened in a parking lot years ago. If she donates to Planned Parenthood, a women’s health organization time and again threatened by this administration, this is not only the perfect attack on a presidential administration entrenched in misogyny, but also a gift to women everywhere.
The generations are divided over abortion rights
According to a new survey published by the Public Religion Research Institute, different generations have become increasingly divided over abortion rights:
“Just 44 percent of young Americans say abortion goes against their personal beliefs, compared to 60 percent of Americans over 65. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of young people, compared to 51 percent of seniors, agree that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) young people, compared to 46 percent of seniors, agree that at least some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions,” the survey said.
Additionally, “one-third of young Americans today say their views on abortion have changed in recent years. Nearly three times as many young Americans say they have become more supportive of abortion rights rather than more opposed (25 percent vs. nine percent),” and “conversely, seniors (age 65 and up) are twice as likely to say they have become more opposed (12 percent) than more supportive (six percent).”
The survey is an important reminder that abortion may be hotly under attack right now, but as millennials and young people begin to take over politics, there may be hope for a better future—one of less stigma and wider access.
Louisiana senate committee advances 15-week abortion ban
This week, the Louisiana state Senate Judiciary Committee moved a bill banning abortion at or after 15 weeks forward to the full Senate for consideration. The bill is similar to a 15-week ban signed into law in Mississippi last month, only to be delayed from taking effect by a federal court. Louisiana’s SB 181 also comes after an 11-week abortion ban passed in Kentucky—another law challenged in court last week.
Despite the obvious unconstitutionality of these short-term abortion ban bills, they continue to roll out every week in one state legislature or another without end, only to roll into court days later. The lack of legality to these bills is obvious to anti-choice lawmakers, but the bills continue to be rolled out nonetheless with the hopes that someday, one will make it all the way to the Supreme Court, and perhaps trigger a reconsideration of Roe v. Wade altogether. After all, the president has made a point or promising to nominate only anti-choice justices.
It’s a dangerous game to be playing with women’s health, safety, and livelihood. Abortion bans are dangerous, discriminatory, and target women who may be facing extreme and heartbreaking health situations. Late-term abortion is, by and large, the minority, and the vendetta against it reflects societal tendency to focus only on the extreme cases in abortion access, generating vast polarization as a result.
SB 181 may have quite a ways to go before the Governor’s desk, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it made it—Louisiana has a long history of dangerous, repressive abortion legislation.
Federal court says Ohio can’t defund Planned Parenthood
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled against Ohio’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. The court ruled the decision to defund Planned Parenthood, signed off by so-called “moderate” Gov. John Kasich, was retaliation for the organization’s abortion services, and violated the First Amendment’s promise of the right to free speech, and the protection of abortion guaranteed by the due process clause.
Abortion is a crucial service, and one that there is no shame whatsoever in administering. And yet, for those who oppose abortion rights, it should be noted that abortion is in the minority in terms of the services Planned Parenthood provides. The organization offers birth control and education to millions of women across the country who rely on its services; defunding Planned Parenthood would only increase the rate of unwanted pregnancy, and likely the abortion rate, as a result.
Trump officials push abstinence-only women’s health programs at UN meeting
On Tuesday, Buzzfeed reported that Trump officials present at a closed-door United Nations meeting on the status of women, officials from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department reportedly pushed for abstinence-only substitutes to women’s health programs and opposed the inclusion of language of sexual health education, contraception, abortion, and other reproductive health services from a document about international gender equality. Further, the U.S. officials identified the United States as a “pro-life” country. The report said the disagreement these demands resulted in unified nearly all but two countries present at the meeting against the United States, in almost unprecedented circumstances.
This is hardly the first time the United States has imposed its dangerous anti-choice agenda on the global level. Within days of being sworn into office, Trump signed an executive order denying funding to global organizations that offer information about abortion or contraception, and earlier this year, the State Department removed language acknowledging contraception and abortion as human rights in an annual global report. American politics has long injected toxicity and dangerous lies into discussions and treatment of women’s health. And despite how we’ve had plenty of Republican and socially conservative presidential administrations, before, but as Buzzfeed’s report notes, this level of vigor in injecting the anti-choice agenda in the global community is pretty much unprecedented in recent history.
Tune in next week to see what lawmakers will try next in their never-ending mission to derail reproductive justice!
(image: Ildar vector / Shutterstock.com)
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