Feb 05, 2019
Noting the cruel irony of a president who condemned the pro-choice movement for advocating for abortion rights months after he tore thousands of children away from their parents at the southern U.S. border, women's rights groups on Tuesday denounced President Donald Trump's demand that Congress move to ban abortions that take place late in pregnancy.
In his State of the Union address, Trump first congratulated himself for including a paid family leave plan in his budget, casting himself as a defender of families--and then ominously suggested that the pro-choice movement had attacked families and children in recent weeks by defending reproductive rights.
"There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days," the president said, alluding to New York's newly passed Reproductive Health Act and a proposal in Virginia to expand abortion rights for women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
\u201cI literally cannot. This shit is so dangerous. Watch out ladies. Trump is coming for us \u2014 carrot, meet stick. Paid family leave but you can\u2019t choose when and if to have families?! Fuck you, on my mama #SOTU2019\u201d— Alicia Garza (@Alicia Garza) 1549422353
Both the Reproductive Health Act and Virginia's H.B. 2491 aim to ensure that women can obtain abortions late in pregnancy if carrying the pregnancy to term would put their health at risk or if their fetus is not viable. New York's law allows abortions after 24 weeks in such cases. H.B. 2491, which has now been tabled, would have amended the current Virginia law that already allows third-trimester abortions, permitting a woman to obtain the procedure if carrying the pregnancy would damage her health in any way.
As experts including former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards explained in response, few abortions are performed late in pregnancy--but protecting abortion rights in the third trimester is vital for women's health.
\u201cReminder: The vast majority of abortions - about 90% - occur very early in pregnancy. When they do occur later, it is almost always because a woman\u2019s health or life are at risk, or because her pregnancy is no longer viable.\u201d— Cecile Richards (@Cecile Richards) 1549422388
"Throughout her pregnancy, a woman must be able to make the health decisions that are best for her circumstances--without interference from politicians," said Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, interim president of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "This includes decisions about whether to end a pregnancy. Health care providers must have all options available to them to provide the best care based on their patient's specific needs."
"Tonight's medically-inaccurate, inflammatory rhetoric is a reminder of why discussions about abortion care belong among women, their health care providers, and those they trust, not as the topic of a politically-charged State of the Union Address," added Ragsdale.
Attacks on certain abortions, Richards said, are really attacks on all safe, legal abortions.
\u201cInflammatory claims like the one America just heard are not only false, they are offensive to people who face pregnancy complications. The people spreading this misinformation have one motive in mind: to ban safe, legal abortion altogether.\u201d— Cecile Richards (@Cecile Richards) 1549422388
The president's suggestion that he aims to protect children and families while the pro-choice movement attacks them was especially galling to immigrant rights groups who fought the administration's family separation policy last year.
NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue echoed the sentiment.
\u201cIt's rich to hear a man who ripped children from the loving arms of their parents talk about protecting children. #SOTU\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1549422291
Trump concluded his comments on reproductive rights by calling on Congress to pass legislation that would ban abortions late in pregnancy--an extreme move that would take away a necessary, often life-saving medical procedure for women whose pregnancies have gone "very wrong," warned Hogue.
\u201cLater abortion is not a political ploy for Trump to throw red meat to his base. It's a necessary procedure that must be available to doctors and families when pregnancies go very wrong. What @realDonaldTrump is saying is loathsome. #SOTU\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1549422243
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