Last night on Fox News’ Hannity, conservative media host Sean Hannity mocked what he wrote off as “the collective freakout from the cry-baby left,” dismissing many people’s legitimate fears in light of the looming Trump administration.
“Ladies, your uteruses will be fine,” Hannity claimed, apparently attempting to gloss over the abysmal record on reproductive rights and health espoused by the president-elect, the vice-president elect, and the motley crew of anti-choice hardliners they’ve lined up for their cabinet.
At National Review Online, another conservative media outlet, Alexandra Desanctis similarly wrote off pro-choice advocates calling out the records of Trump and those he is choosing to surround himself with.
“All of that said, pro-choicers’ general state of panic over Trump and Price will probably prove unnecessary. For one thing, it’s not evident that Trump fully agrees with the pro-life movement’s goals or tactics,” claimed Desanctis, pointing to Trump’s waffling on Planned Parenthood.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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During his time on the campaign trail, as Desanctis noted, Trump repeatedly said that the reproductive health-care provider does “very good work,” but still repeatedly called for it to be defunded as long as it continues to provide abortion care.
President Trump won’t be outlawing contraception anytime soon, nor will Price, from his perch atop [Health and Human Services], drastically impinge upon women’s ability to find birth control …. However Trump and Price govern with respect to “reproductive rights,” women will not be forced to have back-alley abortions or be imprisoned for terminating their pregnancies. To suggest otherwise is to discredit any valid arguments abortion-rights supporters might have about Trump, making it that much easier for pro-lifers to dismiss them.
Of course, women are already being imprisoned for terminating their pregnancies. Just look at the case of Purvi Patel under Vice President-elect Gov. Mike Pence’s watch in Indiana. Others around the country have also been driven to self-induce abortions in the wake of an unprecedented onslaught of restrictions impeding access to care nationwide.
Furthermore, it’s also impossible to ignore the records of Trump and his cabinet appointments signaling their support for restricting access to reproductive health care.
Prior to the election, Trump had issued a letter to anti-choice supporters urging them to join his coalition. In exchange, he vowed that both he and Pence would push opposition to reproductive rights and health “every day we are in the White House.”
Trump also promised to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe, to defund Planned Parenthood, to codify the Hyde Amendment’s annual ban on most federal funding for abortion care, and to sign the scientifically faulty “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” into law.
And just a few weeks ago, during an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the president-elect continued to signal a disregard for those who would have to suffer significant financial and emotional tolls to travel out of state for an abortion—something many are already forced to do thanks to abortion restrictions across the country—should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
Just as alarming are Trump’s cabinet picks, many of whom have seemed to espouse the same apathy for—and sometimes outright opposition to—reproductive freedoms.
Take Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump’s pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, for example. Though Desanctis claims Price won’t “drastically impinge upon women’s ability to find birth control,” he could lead the charge in rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit requiring insurance plans to cover contraceptives without cost sharing as a preventive service.
Price has already made clear that he believes “not one” person would be left behind should that rule be rescinded, though millions of people who rely on their health insurance to access contraceptives could be left scrambling to ensure they can afford care.
And that’s hardly the only threat to reproductive health care Price poses. The Georgia representative is a member of a medical organization that promotes a false link between abortion and breast cancer. Though it isn’t clear whether Price also subscribes to this and the other scientifically unsupported views of the group, he did co-sponsor the medically and scientifically dubious “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” in 2015.
He also co-sponsored the Right to Life Act, an extreme “personhood” measure, in 2007. Legislation of this nature would define life as beginning at conception and grant fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses constitutional protection. In doing so, it would ban abortion as well as some forms of contraception. If laws of this nature passed on a federal level, Trump’s administration would indeed have succeeded in “outlawing contraception,” or at least some forms of it, contrary to Desanctis’ claim.
Other Trump cabinet appointments have equally troubling stances on reproductive rights and health. Here are just a few:
- Andrew Puzder, the selection for labor secretary, authored extreme anti-choice legislation in the ’80s that opened the door for more state-level restrictions on abortion.
- Ben Carson, who was chosen to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, wants to see Roe overturned.
- Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, slated to be the U.S. ambassador to China, signed a state budget to allow him to personally decide whether those seeking Medicaid-funded abortions could have them.
- Scott Pruitt, who was picked to run the Environmental Protection Agency, pushed falsehoods about Oklahoma’s forced ultrasound laws to defend them in court during his time as the state’s attorney general.
- Betsy DeVos, who was tapped to head the Department of Education, has family charities that have given millions of dollars to fake clinics, known as “crisis pregnancy centers.”
If his cabinet picks and nonchalance when it comes to denying access to reproductive health care are any indicator of what’s to come, Trump intends to make good on the promises he made to anti-choice activists before the election.
So for those seeking critical access to reproductive health care, no, things may not “be fine” under the Trump administration.