Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued a ruling that, for now, blocks Trump administration proposed changes that would effectively distort the health-care information women patients receive. Otherwise, new rules would have banned federally funded health-care providers from giving any referrals, advice or help to women seeking family planning alternatives that include abortion.
Rules like this should be called out for what they really are, a vicious frontal attack on equal rights for women.
All people, no matter their gender, should have the right to know the full range of available medical options. They should be free to make their own health-care decisions without a paternalistic government making decisions for them.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade was that women had the same constitutional rights to privacy as men. That right included having an abortion.
The current reality for many women is that deciding to have an abortion, for almost any reason, has disappeared as a practical matter. Restrictions on providers have left many regions, especially in rural areas, without access to the procedure or to any other reproductive health care for that matter.
The anti-abortion wing of Republicans wants to end most abortions. “Heartbeat bans,” regulations that make abortions after six weeks of pregnancy a crime, are popping up in many Republican legislatures. Georgia just reduced the maximum window for an abortion from 20 weeks to six. Gov. Brian Kemp, who opposes abortion, has until May 12 to sign the bill.
Other Republican legislatures are lining up to either pass similar laws or take action to ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Abortion and birth control are not simple matters of getting pregnant and giving birth or not. The health-care organization Save the Children reports that childbirth is the No. 1 cause of death of the world’s teenage women.
Philanthropist Melinda Gates points out in her new book that contraception, the ability to plan when and how often a woman has children, is the most critical factor in improving the lives of women, their families and their communities.
Taking away any woman’s right to all health-care options, including abortion, is no different than taking any other legal right. Men would not put up with that. Come 2020, neither should women.