Donald Trump Thinks Women Who Undergo an Abortion Should Be Punished

Donald Trump

When a Wisconsin teen Tanya Niemi attended an MSNBC town hall, she had no intention of putting the brakes on Donald Trump’s momentum, but that’s exactly what she did.

The Green Bay teen asked the GOP front runner the following question:

“What is your stance on women’s rights and their right to choose and their own reproductive health?”

to which Trump replied:

“Ok well look, as you know I’m pro life, with exceptions, the three exceptions but pretty much that’s my stance.”

That’s not all he said, however. Trump continued, saying that he believes that, if abortion is outlawed, “there has to be some form of punishment” for the women who undergo an abortion.

Trump later retracted his statement after receiving a great amount of outcry from the media, the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and even anti-abortion groups. These anti-abortion groups stand firm that the doctors should be punished, not the women who receive them. “Let us be clear; punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another,” says the president of the Susan B Anthony List, an anti-abortion group.

In a tweet, Clinton referred to Trump’s statements as “horrific and telling.”

Ted Cruz, Trump’s opponent, dismissed his comments as a cry for attention. He followed up by saying “we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.”


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The Election and Reproductive Rights

women's reproductive issues

After the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, senator and 2016 Republican candidate for president, Ted Cruz, released a campaign ad implying that we were just one justice away from losing on many important issues, including abortion. The campaign ad also features an interview of Donald Trump telling the interview that he was pro-choice.

Even though Trump has since gone on record saying that he is indeed pro-life, he seems to keep from speaking about abortion or other women’s health-related issues as he makes his way along the campaign trail.

So what does the next elected president in the USA have to do with women’s reproductive issues? A lot actually.

  1. A Supreme Court with a conservative majority would put Roe vs. Wade at risk.
  2. The federal judiciary (at lower levels) could be reshaped in order to fit desired outcomes.
  3. Federal laws that affect reproductive rights will need enforcing. If, for example, a state is not upholding certain protective laws, a pro-life president may choose to turn a blind eye (unlike Obama did when a few states refused to let Planned Parenthood receive Medicaid.)
  4. The continuation of the Affordable Care Act is at stake. This would leave millions of women uninsured and without access to necessary reproductive health care.
  5. Even if the Affordable Care Act continues to exist, the next administration could remove certain regulations, such as preventing birth control and other contraceptives from being included.
  6. If a pro-choice president is elected, several current restrictions may be loosened, or removed entirely. For example, the Hyde Agreement, which prevents federal programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions, might be repealed.
  7. An anti-choice president would likely try to limit the access of an American woman has to reproductive health care.

When choosing who to vote for this election season, I urge you to do your research on ALL the candidates and find out their specific stance on women’s health issues. Currently, all the Republican candidates running for president are anti-choice. While Trump believes abortion should be allowed in extreme circumstances such as incest or rape, Ted Cruz is opposed entirely.


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2015 Google Searches Reveal an Increase in “Self-Induced Abortion”

woman's hands

When clinics are forced to shut their doors, the effects are disturbing. While some women are forced to travel further (sometimes across state lines) to get the proper care they need, others don’t have the funds, transportation, or time off to make a trip to their nearest clinic.

So what does a woman do if she is the victim of an unwanted pregnancy? Because of the sensitivity surrounding the privacy of abortion, and the breadth of women these laws affect, it can be hard to collect data that shows us exactly what happens when abortion clinics shut down.

We can, however, analyze the Google searches in states that are experiencing major closures. According to a recent article in the NY Times, Google searches in 2015 revealed an increase in “self-induced abortion”-related searches.

Here were some of the more popular searches, “how to have a miscarriage”, “how to self-abort”, “buy abortion pills online”, and “free abortion pills”. There were also searches for abortion inducing herbs or vitamins. In addition, there were some disturbing search terms such as “how to do a coat hanger abortion”, “bleaching one’s uterus”, or “punching one’s stomach.”

In 2015, in the US, there were more than 700,000 Google searches that were related to self-induced abortions. Not surprisingly, the demand for self-induced abortions were highest in areas where it is most difficult to get an abortion, such as Mississippi who has exactly one abortion clinic.

Lawmakers aren’t protecting women’s health when they shut clinics down for failing to meet hospital grade requirements, they are increasing the chances that women will have to self-induce their abortions in an unsafe manner. “Women are going to have abortions, it’s just that they’re not going to be safe and legal.” -Dawn Porter, director of Trapped, a Sundance award winning documentary that talks about the effects that recent TRAP laws have had on American women.


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TRAP Facts We Learned from the Latest “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

photo-1446104487198-e3c730dc3fee

In case you missed last night’s clip about abortion and TRAP laws on the John Oliver show, we have summarized a few key points below. What can you do to help? Educate yourself and then educate others. Oh, and don’t forget to vote in local elections. You can watch the entire clip here. 

  • Despite what the media wants you to believe, most people in the US (36%) think that there are a FEW circumstances under which abortion should be legal. 29% think abortion should be legal under ANY circumstance. 13% believe abortion should be legal under MOST circumstances. While 19% believe that abortion should NEVER be legal.
  • In 2010, 70 abortion clinics in the US had to shut their doors.
  • Even though abortion is technically legal in the US only four states have 1 abortion clinic left
    • North Dakota
    • South Dakota
    • Missouri
    • Mississippi (that means Mississippi has 4 times as many S’s as it does abortion clinics)
  • HB-2,a TRAP law in Texas that passed in 2013, requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers even though 90% of abortions occur in the first trimester. At this stage of abortion, there is no cutting involved and only mild sedation (if any.) The law also requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges even though legal abortions have a mortality rate of 0.00073% (10 times less than dying from a colonoscopy). Coincidentally, you don’t need hospital admitting privileges to run a birthing center even though 12% of women were transferred to a hospital after a birthing center admission.
    • Ex. A clinic in TX had to close because their hallways were only 3 ft wide vs the required 8 ft wide. The width is set in place to accommodate 2 passing gurneys, a stipulation that is unnecessary for a clinic that mostly accommodates women who are only in the first trimester. You don’t need an operating room to take a pill.
  • More and more states are requiring doctors to actively spread misinformation such as :
    • abortion may lead to complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to organs (these are the same complications that can come from continuing your pregnancy.)
    • having an abortion can increase risk of breast cancer (there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this statement)
  • Some states require that a woman be shown an ultrasound even if she doesn’t want to see it. She must also listen to a doctor describing what is on the ultrasound. If a woman doesn’t want to see it, she may “cover her ears or eyes and refuse to listen.”
  • Mandatory waiting periods (some that last 72 hours) between the initial consultation with the doctor and the actual procedure are detrimental to women who have to travel far. Women are forced to take multiple trips or plan to spend at least three days away from home (not to mention they have to pay for the cost of travel and accommodations and miss work).

It’s not enough for abortion to just be legal, it also has to be accessible.


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Trapped, A Documentary That Explores the Detrimental Effects of TRAP Laws

TRAP lawsTrapped, a Sundance award winning documentary talks about the effects that recent TRAP laws have had on American women. While Republican lawmakers are purporting that these TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws are set in place to insure the safety of women’s health, it’s not hard to see their ulterior motive, to outlaw abortion all together.

Since the Republican takeover of Congress in 2010, clinics all across the US have been forced to shut their doors because of the preposterous standards set in place by these conservative legislatures. Since 2010, over 250 TRAP laws have been passed.

In the film, director Dawn Porter introduces audiences to a handful of independent clinics scattered throughout the South, interviewing their employees, owners, and patients. The film also touches on the fact that women in these states must now travel even greater lengths to receive the care they need. The release couldn’t have come at a better time considering that the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not these TRAP laws are an “undue burden” in June.

The Trapped trailer opens with an eye opening quote, “Women are going to have abortions, it’s just that they’re not going to be safe and legal.”

Watch the trailer for the movie here: http://www.trappeddocumentary.com/. Movie premieres March 2016 in cities across America.

*image by Unsplash


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Virginia Woman Facing 5 Years for Concealing Fetal Remains

women's rightsA 24-year-old woman, Katherine Dellis, in Virginia is facing up to five years in jail for unlawfully concealing human remains, a Class 6 felony.

Police found a stillborn fetus in a dumpster in Rocky Mount, Virginia after they were tipped off by a local hospital. Hospital officials became suspicious when Dellis arrived with severe vaginal bleeding, symptoms that suggest she may have given birth during her third trimester. Dellis denied that she had given birth.

Upon investigating Dellis’ home, and interviewing a family member who revealed that they had disposed of soiled bedsheets, police determined that Dellis had indeed given birth.

After the deceased fetus was found in a dumpster, a preliminary autopsy was performed. The results of the autopsy revealed that the fetus was a stillborn.

This case is very reminiscent of Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who was sentenced to 41 years in prison for feticide upon having a miscarriage and throwing the stillborn fetus away.

As if having a miscarriage or stillbirth weren’t tough enough, women in America must be fearful of being prosecuted or punished if it happens to them. While Dellis isn’t being charged for having a miscarriage, rather for concealing the fetal remains, it speaks volumes that she didn’t feel comfortable admitting the truth to the hospital or police. Having a still birth is an extremely tragic, shocking thing for anyone to experience. Instead of punishment or finger wagging, the correct response would be compassion and medical care.

What do you think? Do you think the charges against Dellis are fair? Why or why not?


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What Does Zika Virus Have to Do With Reproductive Rights?

mosquitoWhere did the Zika virus come from?

In 2012, biotechnology experts released genetically modified mosquitoes with the hopes of combatting the spread of dengue fever and other diseases into Brazil. Though the Zika virus has been around since the 1950s, there is speculation that these GMO mosquitoes have contributed to the rapid spread of the Zika Virus.

What is Zika virus?

The virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes a variety of birth defects and health problems including microcephaly. Microcephaly causes babies to be born with small heads and developmental delays. Carriers of the virus show little to no symptoms. Health experts predict that the Zika outbreak poses a bigger threat than Ebola did. Ebola killed more than 11,000 people in Africa.

What does Zika virus have to do with women’s reproductive health?

A lot actually. Because abortion is illegal in Brazil (and many other affected countries), and the virus poses the largest threat to pregnant and women of child-bearing age, the recent outbreak is forcing lawmakers in these countries to reevaluate their stringent laws surrounding the matter. While these countries are advising women to avoid getting pregnant until the virus is eradicated, it leaves little options for women who are already pregnant or those that will become pregnant by accident. When a country bans abortion, women are forced to seek dangerous back-alley abortions. The Center for Reproductive Rights has been urgently petitioning for El Salvador, a country with a zero tolerance stance on abortion, to change its abortion policy in response to the recent virus outbreak.

What can be done?

Reproductive right activists believe that if the pope would relax the catholic church’s stringent views on abortion and family planing, that heavily Catholic Latin American countries would follow suit. Hopefully the desperate situation will cause these countries to reconsider alternative solutions.


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Right Wing Videographers Indicted After Planned Parenthood Investigation

Planned Parenthood

A grand jury in Texas, who was in charge of investigating whether or not Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue, has done something rather shocking. After a months-long investigation, the jury chose to indict the people who initially filmed the videos, instead of Planned Parenthood.

The jury, summoned by Harris Country District Attorney Devon Anderson (a Rick Perry appointee), investigated all of the evidence alleging that Planned Parenthood participated in criminal conduct. The right wing videographers, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were indicted for filming and then inappropriately editing a video that shows an executive of Planned Parenthood talking about the medical uses for fetal tissue.

After the videos were released, right wing lawmakers began accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally trafficking aborted baby parts. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, was even required to testify before Congress.

Along with Texas, 11 other states have launched similar investigations despite being both expensive and time consuming. Not surprisingly, none of the investigations thus far have produced any evidence of misconduct. Eight states have come forth saying that there isn’t even enough evidence to justify an investigation in the first place.

The two videographers are facing up to twenty years in prison for a second degree felony; tampering with a governmental record. David Daleiden is also facing an additional year in prison for attempting to purchase and sell human organs. In the last eight years, Daleiden secretly recorded Planned Parenthood staff and patients, used fake aliases and government IDs, and even went as far as creating a fake tissue procurement company in order to gain access to private information and conversations.

It’s time we stop wasting taxpayer dollars to investigate an organization that aims to improve not only the health of women but also the health of families. Representative Carolyn Mahoney (D-NY) appropriately deemed the investigations against Planned Parenthood a “witch hunt.”


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Not One Mention of Women’s Health in Most Recent Dem Debate

photo-1432164245265-ab19a48c3d09Did anyone watch the last Democratic Debate. If you didn’t you can catch it here.

Though it shouldn’t surprise anyone, I was personally offended that there was no mention of the future of women’s healthcare during the entire debate.

Not. One. Mention.

Even Hillary Clinton, a candidate who has made women’s healthcare a major part of her platform and the only presidential primary candidate to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood, didn’t take this time to address specific subtopics such as repealing the Hyde Amendment, insurance coverage of abortion, and violence at women’s health clinics.

If women’s health can’t be considered a priority during the Democratic campaigns, then where is the appropriate place to shine light on this dire subject?

Women’s healthcare rights are currently under attack across the US (even more so if you happen to reside in Texas.) Though women make up half the population, our reproductive health and fundamental human rights continue to be ignored. Discussing women’s healthcare on the political stage is a great opportunity for candidates to convey the importance of this matter. We should be setting an example to the rest of the world that women’s health and reproductive rights are a serious matter, not just brushing it under the rug.


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In 2015, 46 of 50 states considered passing a total of 396 anti-abortion laws

photo-1433588616917-dcbcc63429f42015 was not a good year for abortion-rights and it doesn’t look like 2016 will be much better. Last year, 46 of 50 states considered passing a total of 396 anti-abortion laws. Of those 46 states, 17  actually passed 57 of those suggested. Of the restrictions passed, there are four main topics that lawmakers are targeting: counseling and mandatory delays, medication abortion, abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy, and targeted regulation of abortion providers.

Here are some of the anti-abortion laws that passed last year alone:

  1. Florida and Tennessee passed mandatory delay measures
  2. Arkansas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma lengthened mandatory delays
  3. Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, and Montana attempted to prevent women from obtaining abortion care via telemedicine
  4. Arizona and Arkansas adopted legislation that requires doctors to give women seeking abortion false information about the procedure.
  5. Kansas and Oklahoma enacted legislation that prevents women from obtaining a safe method of abortion after 14 weeks.
  6. West Virginia and Wisconsin passed legislation that bans abortion beyond 20 weeks.
  7. Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma and Tennessee have enacted TRAP laws (Target Regulation Abortion Provider) which targets clinic closures and have nothing to do with protecting the health of women.

If are a woman who happens to live in Oregon or Maine, consider yourself lucky. In Oregon, women will now be able to obtain birth control pills without visiting a doctor first. And Maine plans on expanding the Medicaid coverage of family planning individuals who earn up to 209% of the federal poverty level.


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