A Return to the Era of Back-Alley Abortions

The current administration is proposing a new law that would strip federal funding from any organization that provides abortion services, shares space with an abortion provider, or refers patients to abortion providers.

The law would basically enforce a domestic version of the “Global Gag Rule” that the president reinstated last year, which denied federal support to international groups and programs that provide or even mention abortion to their patients.

Under the rule, organizations combating the spread of dangerous viruses like Zika and Ebola can lose the entirety of their federal funding to treat the diseases for so much as mentioning abortions to their patients.

Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood — a longtime target of the Republican party — will be deeply affected by the decision, which will strip the organization of Title X funding.

Title X is the only federal grant program with the express purpose of supporting individuals with family-planning resources and preventative healthcare.

In the past, funding from Title X has allowed Planned Parenthood to provide birth control, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and other health services to almost half of the federal family planning program’s 4 million low-income patients.

“I think, really, the chilling thing about what they’re proposing now is it removes the guarantee that women in particular are getting full and accurate information about their health care from their doctor. This is absolutely extraordinary that we would now be gagging doctors and health care providers from giving women their legal information and even referring them for potentially life-saving health care.” – Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood on NPR

The administration’s decision is yet another in a long string of anti-women policies that strip reproductive autonomy away from the only people to whom it is relevant.

This ongoing systematic attempt to block women from freely speaking with their healthcare providers will prove to be detrimental to the health of women and their families in America.

“Everyone has the right to information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion, and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.” – Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Dawn Laguens

Restricting women’s autonomous access to health care services and providers is a clear effort to subjugate women to an inferior position in a society in which we are not afforded the basic human right of bodily autonomy.

Say a person has an ultra-rare blood type that is desperately needed for transplants. If that person doesn’t volunteer as a blood donor, no one can access their blood, even if they were the only donor left.

When a person dies, their organs cannot be collected for transplants unless they have their permission before death. It doesn’t matter how many people are on the transplant list, and it doesn’t matter if the person is a perfect match for someone inches away from death. If the individual did not register as an organ donor, nothing can be done.

We give more bodily autonomy to blood donors than to pregnant women.

We literally give dead bodies greater bodily autonomy than pregnant women.

These policies are deliberate, strategic attempts on the part of religious conservatives to transform the United States government into a theocracy in which Christian doctrine will govern the lives of American citizens, regardless of the creed they may claim individually.

If actions such as these are permitted to move forward unchallenged, we can only anticipate a future in which Christianity is the sole law of the land and the only ideology permitted in this country.

If we aren’t careful, we will soon become the very type of state we have attempted to destroy so many times before.

If we aren’t careful, we will lose whatever freedoms we have left.

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