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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