Today millions across the country will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that allowed legal abortion in all 50 states. Even before Roe was decided, however, anti-choice activists were already organized to push back against any softening or reform of abortion laws in the country. Now, 40 years in, they’ve made it even more clear that the final goal is no abortions, ever, for anyone, under any circumstances.
Despite the extreme anger that anti-choice politicians faced in the last election, once the dust settled the Republican party was divided into two camps: the “let’s stop talking about rape” camp and the “let’s train our candidate to better address rape as no reason for allowing an abortion” camp.
Leading the charge for the latter camp is the Susan B. Anthony List, which has stated publicly that they will ensure future candidates are more astute when it comes to explaining why rape exceptions should not be available.
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Why is the group so invested in such an argument? Now, we see the true motive. Anti-choice activists have prepared a new campaign to eliminate the rape exception in abortion bans and they are going to enact it one step at a time.
As always, they will first target those with the least ability to fight back: the poor. In a press release dated January 21st extremist anti-choice group Personhood USA announced a new entity that will begin chipping away at exceptions, particularly rape exceptions. They plan to start with the Hyde Amendment, which outlaws Medicaid from covering abortion services except in the cases of in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment:
Following the widely publicized misstatements of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, Save the 1 has been created to equip politicians who hold to the 100% prolife position, educating them on the statistics and facts that support 100% abortion bans. Save the 1 will include the personal stories of rape victims and people conceived in rape who seek legal protection for all unborn babies, no matter the circumstances of their conception.
Founder of Save the 1 and spokesperson for Personhood USA, attorney Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and has become an outspoken advocate for others like her and for women, such as her mother, who have been raped.
Save the 1 intends to remove and prevent ‘rape exceptions’, starting with the Hyde Amendment. Save the 1 is a reference to the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-14, in which the shepherd leaves his 99 sheep behind to find the 1 sheep who was lost.
The Hyde Amendment has long been a tool of oppression used by anti-choice politicians to limit women’s constitutional right to an abortion to only those women who have financial means. It was put into effect in the late 1977. In 1979, the physical health exception was excluded, and in 1981 rape and incest exceptions were also excluded. The exceptions were restored in 1993 and the Hyde Amendment has required coverage of abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment since then. However, these small exceptions are clearly under threat once again by anti-choice extremism.
The press release makes obvious that once again anti-choice zealots are going to stop at nothing until safe, legal abortion is unavailable to anyone for any reason at any time, and that, once again, they are starting with the poorest of women.