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Abortion is a low-risk procedure, despite right-wing disinformation. Can activists change the public’s perception?

Even though abortion is both an extremely common and an incredibly safe procedure, public perception is pretty much the opposite. Likely because still-widespread stigma against female sexuality, polling shows that Americans drastically underestimate how common abortion is and drastically overestimate how dangerous it is. Popular media contributes to these misconceptions, with TV and movies portraying abortion as so dangerous that even thinking about it can hurt you.

Anti-choice activists and legislators have long abused these misconceptions about abortion safety, exploiting misinformation and fear to pass restrictions that only serve to make the procedure more difficult and expensive for women to legally obtain. Since 2011, states have adopted 401 abortion restrictions, and most — such as waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds and age restrictions — are based on the false notion that abortion is a serious and dangerous procedure.

But after the 2016 Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which overturned a series of Texas regulations on abortion providers that had no basis in medical necessity, pro-choice activists have a new mission: Get the word out about how safe abortion actually is, and overturn the multitude of laws based on the false notion that it’s not. They have a growing body of research to point to, which makes clear that abortion tops the list of safe medical procedures, especially when compared to the alternative of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

On Thursday, the women behind the Whole Woman’s Health case — lawyer Stephanie Toti and clinic owner Amy Hagstrom-Miller — announced, with a team of reproductive rights activists, an ambitious new litigation strategy aimed at rooting out years worth of abortion restrictions in Texas, most of which predate those struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016. The suit challenges an array of restrictions, including limits on medication abortion, age restrictions and a mandatory waiting period that comes with a state-required script that deliberately exaggerates the medical risks of abortion.

“Justice Breyer’s majority decision [in Whole Woman’s Health] clearly stated that politicians can’t just claim their anti-abortion restrictions improve women’s health and safety,” Hagstrom-Miller said in a press call about the lawsuit. “With this lawsuit today, we hope to leverage the Whole Woman’s Health standard even more, to bring a comprehensive challenge that rolls back dozens of bad laws that have harmed Texans for decades.”

In the same call, Toti noted that “many states have a vast infrastructure of unreasonable and medically unnecessary abortion regulations on the books that cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny,” hinting that activists hope this approach can help reverse the nationwide tide of bad abortion laws.

Aiding this effort is continued research showing exactly how safe abortion actually is. On Thursday evening, the research group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) added another study to the growing body of medical literature that demonstrates that patient risks in abortion are startlingly low. Using data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, researchers found that out of 190 million emergency department visits by women of reproductive age between 2009 and 2013, fewer than 30,000 of those visits were for abortion-related reasons.

In statistical terms, that means that 0.01 percent of women between 15 and 49 who went to the emergency room — one out of every 10,000 women — were there because they had an abortion and are worried that something is going wrong. The emphasis on “worried” is not just spin, because even among the small number of women who did go to the hospital after having abortions, most were just fine.

In more than half of such visits, “women were being observed and then released,” Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, the lead researcher, told Salon. “So they never actually received any treatment.”

In many cases, she added, such women may decide to go to the hospital because they have absorbed the myth that abortion is dangerous and therefore react negatively to symptoms that might not be alarming.

Of women who went to the emergency room after an abortion, about 5,600 women had serious complications. That number is out of more than 5 million abortions provided nationwide during that time, which means that 0.1 percent of abortions result in serious complications. Not only is this rate tiny compared to the rate of serious complications related to pregnancy — which is about 1.4 percent — but it’s also dwarfed by the risks of other procedures most people understand as safe.

That rate of serious complications for abortion “is lower than colonoscopy, wisdom tooth removal and tonsillectomy,” Upadhyay said.

The real risk to women, she added, lies in the medically unsound restrictions that led to the closure of so many abortion clinics: “It’s really detrimental to women’s health to lose another abortion clinic.”

Texas activists are hoping that the solid science behind their case can finally begin to reverse the pileup of regulations that do nothing to improve medical care but have been effective at limiting women’s access to abortion and other reproductive care.

Nan Little Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, wrote in an emailed statement that she had spoken to people in Amarillo, Texas, who drove a woman four hours each way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for an abortion appointment, because all providers in the Texas Panhandle had been closed down. “The group of laws being challenged may seem on the surface to be a hodgepodge of random requirements,” she continued, “but together they weave a huge barrier to abortion access for thousands of people in Texas, especially low-income people, people of color, and people in our vast rural areas.”

For decades, Americans have been subject to misinformation and stereotypes that paint abortion as some kind of dangerous and gruesome medical intervention born out of desperation. The truth is that abortion is common — despite declines in the abortion rate, one in four women will still have one in her lifetime — and, as this new research shows, represents no real danger to women’s health It remains to be seen if activists can undo America’s widespread misconceptions about abortion, but this aggressive new legal strategy, coupled with research and public education, creates a possible path forward.

Source: https://www.salon.com/2018/06/15/abortion-is-extremely-safe-but-the-anti-choice-movement-has-convinced-people-otherwise/

Otherwise known as just another day in the Trump administration.

He’s white, anti-choice, and conservative, which should come as no surprise.

 

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

More in “Trump is bad news for the federal judiciary”: At age 37 and with only one year on the bench, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick is about to become the youngest federal judge confirmed under the Trump administration. He’s white and conservative, which should come as no surprise. What may come as a surprise is that before Scott Pruitt joined the Environmental Protection Agency and blew all our minds with rank corruption, he was Oklahoma’s attorney general and blew Oklahomans’ minds with rank corruption. And guess who his protégé was? If you guessed Patrick Wyrick, give yourself a high five.

Lisa Belkin of Yahoo News writes that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has become a favorite among abortion foes in the states that sit in the Eighth Circuit—Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Anti-abortion politicians and lobbyists have been introducing abortion restrictions in those states in the hopes that the Eighth Circuit will uphold them—because it is one of the most conservative courts of appeal in the country, especially when it comes to abortion rights—thus provoking a challenge to Roe v. Wade and giving the Supreme Court an opening to reverse the 45-year-old decision.

Demand Justice, a liberal nonprofit founded by Capitol Hill alums, is going on the offensive: Since Republicans have been blocking the appointments of progressive judges such as U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, this Democrat-heavy group is rolling out a digital ad campaign targeting Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist.

In the case of Robert Lewis Dear Jr., the Planned Parenthood shooter who admitted to killing three people in Colorado Springs, the Colorado Supreme Court has upheld two lower court rulings that the state mental institution where Dear is housed can forcibly medicate him in an effort to restore his mental competency so that he can stand trial.

New court documents in a pending criminal case in Kentucky have filled in some details about the September 2017 yard dispute that landed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in the hospital with broken ribs and injured lungs. Paul was reportedly dumping yard debris near a neighbor’s property and said neighbor tackled Paul. Good fences make good neighbors?

New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation alleging campaign finance violations and other problems related to the foundation’s dealings with the Trump campaign. If convicted, President Trump won’t be able to pardon his way out of it because he can only pardon federal crimes, not state crimes.

In Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law barring voters from wearing political apparel at the ballot box. John Roberts, writing for the majority, said that the definition of political apparel was too broad and that the enforcement guidance provided to poll workers was haphazard, rendering the statute unconstitutional.

Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for voter fraud, will not get a new trial.  Mason says she didn’t know that her felony conviction for tax fraud barred her from voting.

A new restriction on medication abortion in Missouri will remain in effect pending the resolution of a lawsuit that will determine whether the restriction is lawful. The regulation requires clinics to adopt a “complication plan” under which the clinic contracts with two OB-GYNs who have admitting privileges at a local hospital and agree to be on call 24/7 in case a complication arises in connection with medication abortion services. Judge Beth Phillips denied Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction, which means Planned Parenthood clinics in in Columbia and Springfield, Missouri, will not be able to offer medication abortion until the lawsuit is resolved one way or the other.

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2018/06/18/another-woefully-unqualified-judge/

Supporters of legalized abortion embrace Thursday after the the vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina The Argentine Chamber of Deputies voted Thursday morning to legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill now goes to the more conservative Senate for consideration. President Mauricio Macri has said he won’t veto the bill if Congress approves it, even though he opposes abortion.
“We have been able to settle our differences with respect, tolerance and listening to each other; understanding that dialogue is the road that will strengthen our future,” Macri said. “My congratulations to everyone, knowing that this debate now continues in the Senate.”
Activists outside the Argentine Congress before the vote on Thursday.

Though it’s unclear whether the bill will become law, the issue has energized Argentine women, including thousands who filled the streets around Congress during 23 hours of tense debate.
“Legal abortion in the hospital!” they chanted upon hearing the bill was approved.
In Argentina — a Catholic country and the homeland of Pope Francis — abortion is illegal except in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is endangered. Supporters of abortion reform say even those legal abortions are difficult to obtain. Women who otherwise get abortions can be imprisoned for as long as four years.
The Chamber of Deputies’ bill also would allow women to get legal abortions after 14 weeks if the pregnancy resulted from rape, the woman’s health was at risk, or the fetus suffered severe conditions not compatible with life outside of the womb.
The vote was 129 to 125. It first was reported to have passed with 131 votes, but two congressmen claimed they pushed the wrong button and voted for the bill when they meant to vote against it.

‘It was a huge surprise’

Green has become the color of supporters of legalized abortion.

As soon as the vote was announced, thousands of pro-choice activists who had gathered to watch the vote on a giant screen outside Congress broke into cheers.
“I cried and hugged my brother,” Ariadna Mina, a 15-year-old Catholic school student, said. “I really feared it was going to be rejected. I was anxious all night.”
Hours earlier it seemed the bill was destined for failure, but shortly before the vote there was a last-minute shift and the measure passed by four votes.
“It was a huge surprise that it was approved, although we were optimistic I personally couldn’t believe it,” said Florencia Llamas, 28, a drama teacher. “Lately in this country it seems rights are always being cut, and here we have something that marks a change of era for women’s rights.”
While pro-choice activists continued celebrating hours after the vote, the area reserved for anti-abortion demonstrators was empty except for a few stragglers, including Liliana Fernández, a 39-year-old accountant who had tears in her eyes.
“I can’t believe it, I really can’t believe it,” she said. “I thought our representatives would never vote in favor of death. … Now we have to make sure senators don’t follow their lead.”
Almendra Pizarro, 26, a lawyer, said her joy at the decision was short-lived.
“I was ecstatic for a second but we have to be realistic,” she said. “It will be tough fight in the Senate.” Despite that concern, “I feel this is a great conquest, the result of a fight that has been going on for a long time.”

Global trend develops

People demonstrate against the decriminalization of abortion on June 10, in front of the Cathedral of Tucuman, in northern Argentina, after marching under the slogan "Save Both Lives."

Supporters of the Argentine bill were heartened by a recent vote in Ireland, another predominantly Catholic country. Irish voters in May approved an amendment to the country’s constitution that would allow the repeal its near-total ban on abortion.
“With the vote in Congress, Argentina can join the global trend toward expanding legal grounds to allow abortion and affirming the rights and dignity of women and girls,” José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said before Thursday’s vote.
In Argentina, the #NiUnaMenos, or “not one less,” movement thrust abortion rights fully into the public forum.
In 2016, women took to the streets in anger after a 16-year-old girl was abducted outside her school, drugged, repeatedly raped and killed. The movement then broadened to include issues such as LGBTQ rights and abortion rights.
“What was once taboo only a few years ago is now being openly and thoroughly debated across society,” Giselle Carino, the regional director for the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, said in an email interview with CNN. Carino said the trend toward legalizing abortion will continue to grow.
Argentina’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortions in cases of rape six years ago.
But physicians are often hesitant to perform an abortion, even when it’s legally sanctioned, Carino said. She said the laws are usually enforced against poor women, since women of means find ways to terminate their pregnancies with misoprostol, an abortion pill, or by going to a private clinic.
Supporters of the bill emphasize that legalization would reduce the number of poor women who try to end their pregnancies through cheap, unsafe methods.

Next: The Senate

Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Argentines favor the legalization of abortion and that there is a clear generational divide.
Lucas Romero, the head of Synopsis, a consultancy, said surveys have shown the Argentine Senate would probably reject the bill.
“Of course, we can’t dismiss the role of public opinion and the pressure that approval in the lower house could bring,” he said. “Those could both be factors that could change the scenario in the Senate, … but for now it remains very uncertain.”
Some members of the Chamber of Deputies said the debate was agonizing. Before the vote, lawmaker José Ignacio De Mendiguren tweeted that he was a Catholic but that “I will vote in favor of the law. My convictions are my own, they guide my life. But my convictions are not the truth.”

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/14/americas/argentina-abortion-bill-passes/index.html

Minister for Health plans to publish legislation in early July regardless of court actions

Mr Harris will brief the Opposition on Thursday on the issue but a source said the Government was mindful of the fact it could not be committal on the timeline. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The Government cannot introduce legislation to allow for abortion services until all court challenges to the result of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment are concluded, The Irish Times has learned.

The referendum, which paved the way for liberalising the State’s strict abortion laws, was passed by a near two-to-one majority last month, but there have been a number of court challenges to the result.

Government sources confirmed the petitions initiated could cause a delay in implementing the legislation to allow for access to abortion. Three separate applications will be heard in the High Court on June 26th.

Legal sources expect the court to refuse the applications, but each applicant will have an opportunity to challenge that decision to the Court of Appeal and potentially the Supreme Court.

“Legal cases have to conclude before legislation is enacted,” the Government source said.

Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/no-abortion-legislation-until-all-court-challenges-have-ended-1.3529605?mode=amp

© Getty Images

The Trump administration’s plan to impose a so-called “domestic gag rule”—a prohibition on providing, referring and counseling about abortion—on facilities receiving Title X funding for family planning services has unleashed a storm of criticism. The public comment period is now open, and the backlash promises to be fierce.

Medical groups state that withholding information about medical procedures is a violation of medical ethics. Numerous political observers note that the real intent of this measure is to deliver on Trump’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood, a major recipient of Title X funding. But largely overlooked in these responses to the domestic gag rule is that the current rules governing Title X grantees represent terrible public policy. As the public now weighs in on the proposed regulations, we should not forget that not only is the new gag rule harmful, but that the existing restrictions governing Title X and abortion care should be lifted as well because they are bad for patients and bad for public health.

Title X, the only federally funded program devoted specifically to family planning, includes not only contraceptive services, but also pregnancy testing, STD (sexually transmitted disease) treatments and cancer screenings. As a condition of accepting Title X funds, grantees are prohibited from performing abortions with these funds. Those entities, such as Planned Parenthoods, which also provide abortions, must do this with a strict separation of abortion and other reproductive health services: separate financial accounting, separate channels to make appointments, and, as typically interpreted by many Title X directors, separate physical spaces as well.

What does this policy in practice mean for patients? Consider a promising recent development in abortion care: inserting an IUD (intrauterine device) immediately after an abortion. If a woman wants this form of birth control but cannot have it inserted right after the abortion, many clinicians advise that the woman wait two weeks, in order for the uterus to heal.

As “Nancy,” a Planned Parenthood administrator we interviewed for a research study, explained to us, an immediate post-abortion IUD is very difficult to negotiate because of Title X. “In one of our Planned Parenthoods the abortion facility’s in the basement and there’s a clinic on the first floor. So imagine a woman terminating a pregnancy, feeling crampy, maybe still recovering from the anesthesia, and now, she’s got to go upstairs and do a walk-in appointment, or make another appointment to get her IUD or another contraceptive method.” Nancy also pointed out that women can ovulate as quickly as two weeks after an abortion and therefore be at risk of pregnancy before she is able to get the most reliable means of contraception.

Another problem with the current regulations is what “Susan”, who formerly worked to assess provider compliance with Title X regulations, told us about the confusion around these regulations as well as their chilling effects on clinicians. “Providers were confused about what was an actual abortion. Several thought that the morning after pill was abortion and refused to provide it to patients.” (The morning after pill, also known as Emergency Contraception, is a higher than normal dose of oral contraception, which inhibits ovulation, and therefore prevents pregnancy if taken after unprotected intercourse, and though it is often confused with mifepristone, the main drug in a medication abortion, EC cannot disrupt an established pregnancy).

For those women whose pregnancies were the result of rape, incest or posed a serious threat to their lives, situations in which Medicaid can pay for an abortion, Susan said Title X doctors—often the only doctors in small rural communities—sometimes refused to sign the form authorizing these abortions, out of a misguided fear that doing so would jeopardize Title X funding.

She also told us of patients who withhold information about their abortions out of fear of not being able to get post-abortion care in a Title X clinic. As Susan put it, “their medical histories were missing a chunk of their medical data due to misunderstanding, stigma and Title X regulations.”

There is no medical logic whatsoever to separate abortion from other reproductive health services. Indeed, it is the recommended practice for clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation to initiate a discussion with abortion patients about whether they wish to obtain a contraceptive method, if they do not already have one.

The current Title X rules make this sensible policy unnecessarily complicated for many women and risk their health as a result. The domestic gag rule will only make an already compromised situation worse.

David S. Cohen is a professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University (dsc39@drexel.edu). They are co-authoring a book on barriers to abortion care; Carole Joffe is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (carole.joffe@ucsf.edu)

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/391712-title-x-facilities-are-already-over-regulated

Ni Una Menos, an anti-femicide group in Argentina. Photo: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

 

Less than a month after Ireland’s major abortion referendum, another country is considering legalizing the procedure: Argentina. On Wednesday, the lower house of Argentina’s congress will vote whether or not to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy — a move that would be a major advancement in a region where abortion is typically criminalized.

Below, here’s what you need to know.

What are Argentina’s current abortion laws?
Short answer: It’s illegal. Women who undergo abortions can be jailed for up to four years, or even longer if the procedure was performed at a point when the fetus could have been deemed as viable outside the womb.

It’s not even legal in cases of rape or lethal threat to the mother’s body?
That’s when it’s technically legal. Women who have been raped or would suffer a potentially lethal pregnancy can get an abortion. However, Salil Shetty, the secretary general of Amnesty International, says that even women who could undergo the procedure legally often do not, because it’s difficult to find doctors willing to perform abortions.

“In practice, those exceptions are not actually honored, and what we see is a near total ban on abortions,” Shetty told the New York Times. Each year, according to Argentina’s National Ministry of Health, approximately 500,000 illegal abortions are performed in Argentina.

How did abortion rights end up on the ballot?
Argentina has seen a revitalized feminist movement that dates back to 2015, when 19-year-old Daiana García was killed and found on the side of the road in a burlap sack. Upset over the incident and the country’s high rate of femicide, 40,000 women marched onto Buenos Aires’ Congress, and a collective of women founded the anti-femicide Ni Una Menos movement. Many consider the fight to legalize abortion an outgrowth of a broader women’s rights movement that has grown since 2015.

According to annual polls conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, public support for abortion rights has surged in the past year. In 2017, 27 percent of those polled said they support a woman’s right to abortion at any point during pregnancy, which jumped up to 39 percent in 2018.

More logistically speaking, President Mauricio Macri, who opposes legalizing abortion, told lawmakers in March that they could take up debate on the issue. He simply told them to “vote their conscience.” And, even though Macri is anti-abortion, he has said that he would not veto the bill if it passed.

Aside from obvious reasons, why would the enactment of this legislation be a big deal?
First of all, Argentina is Pope Francis’s homeland, and the Catholic Church opposes all abortions. Furthermore, very few countries in Latin America allow women to terminate their pregnancy without restrictions. Were Argentina to legalize the procedure, it would join Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana, and some parts of Mexico, according to the Times.

Is it expected to pass?
According to the Economist, the lower house vote is expected to be pretty close. However, even if the measure does pass, it will move on to the senate, where it is expected to be defeated. According to Argentinian gender-equality organization Economía Feminista, only 16 senators have spoken in favor of legalization, while 27 have stated that they are against the measure. Twenty-nine senators have not explicitly stated their stance.

But abortion-rights campaigners are hopeful, even if this measure sees defeat. Sabrina Cartabia, a pro-choice activist, told the Times that the legalization of abortion is “inevitable. The country has moved on.”

Source: https://www.thecut.com/2018/06/argentina-abortion-vote-all-the-details-you-need-to-know.html

© Getty Images

Last month, American Bridge discovered that when EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was a state senator in Oklahoma, he introduced a bill to grant property rights over unborn fetuses — this would make them a man’s property.

Pruitt has a long anti-choice record as a legislator, including calling for fetuses to have legal rights from the moment of fertilization and sponsoring a bill to require women seeking abortion to hear about false links between the procedure and breast cancer and infertility.

His bills (proposed in 1999 and 2005, respectively) would have essentially required a woman to have a permission slip from the would-be father before obtaining an abortion. Pruitt said that women who had an abortion without complying would be “held accountable.”

 

Pruitt isn’t alone in what appears to be hostility and policing of women. It seems that this administration has taken a stance against  women’s health, and the ongoing efforts to politicize women’s bodies represent a serious threat to reproductive freedom.

This disturbing pattern is clear when you consider this isn’t the only time a member of the administration has mentioned punishing women. In 2016, Trump said that women should be punished for having an abortion. And this is a broader reality; this isn’t reserved to fringe elements.

State legislatures and courts have made moves across the country to criminalize abortion for women. The laws have already been used to prosecute women for attempting suicide while pregnant, for self-inducing abortion (even FDA-approved medication abortion) — even for stillbirths.

recent bill in Ohio went so far as to allow any abortion — even one to save a woman’s life — to be punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. A statewide candidate in Idaho recently voiced support for the death penalty for a woman seeking an abortion.

In a campaign manifesto, a congressional candidate in Virginia wrote that “we need to switch to a system that classifies women as property, initially of their fathers and later of their husbands.” He openly endorses rape, the “incel” movement, and killing women.

Now, the Trump administration is seemingly putting their ideology into action with a new domestic gag rule that’s tantamount to a death sentence for women.

This rule, which has had devastating consequences for women on the global scale under the Mexico City policy, has never been fully implemented in the United States before. Now Trump has brought it home.

The domestic gag rule will drastically restrict women’s access to contraception, abortion care, even cancer screenings, and it will deal the heaviest blow to poor women reliant on the Title X program it dismantles. Poor women’s lives, and disproportionately women of color, have been the target of policy after policy by the Trump administration, from attacks on nutrition assistance programs, to WIC, to Medicaid, to Planned Parenthood.

Ironically, many of the policies that Trump’s administration are advancing do not actually reduce abortions. The global gag rule, for instance, is associated with increases in the number of abortions that take place in other countries.

So it is not preventing abortions, it is simply making them more dangerous and costing an untold number of women’s lives. Likewise, Trump took aim at the successful Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in a move courts are now calling illegal.

Teen birth rates had dropped in half over the last decade, progress which is now at risk. So this policy approach hardly seems to be about preserving life or reducing unwanted pregnancies. Instead, it seems fixated on controlling women.

There is a dangerous strain to policy and dialogue lately. Even mainstream academics are freely discussing ideas around “enforced monogamy” and “sexual redistribution,” which are extremist and violent theories of controlling women’s sexuality.

The writer Kevin Williamson, while later fired, was given a legitimate mainstream platform as someone who has publicly affirmed his belief that women who have abortions should be hanged.

There is a utilitarian, even frightening, focus on birth rates and fertility at the same time that the administration is making abortion and contraception increasingly difficult to access.

And now, the revelation that senior administration officials believe women and their bodies are in fact men’s property. Pruitt, and the rest of the administration, for all their fears of federal “overreach,” have shown a great comfort with the government controlling women — and are now playing politics with women’s lives.

Dawn Huckelbridge is director of the Women’s Rights Initiative at American Bridge, which is a Super PAC that supports Democratic candidates. 

Source: http://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/391119-despite-trumps-anti-abortion-polices-the-number-of-abortions-arent