Trump's Pro-Life Views: How Will They Shape Women's Access to Healthcare?
One of the largest concerns voiced after Trump claimed his well-fought victory in the Presidential election was what it meant for the future of America. In the grand scheme of things this could clearly invite a wide variety of analysis and a wider spectrum of viewpoints, but I’m thinking particularly of the impact on women’s access to healthcare and reproductive rights. Make no mistake, there are plenty of other areas of concern which merit attention and other groups that are feeling vulnerable and alienated (I’d be looking at the LGBT community, immigrants, racial minorities, and Muslims primarily here), but it seems we’re best served tackling such issues one piece at a time.
Trump’s views on abortion have ‘evolved,’ a term that now seems the common political vernacular for dramatically shifting a position or policy over time. Previously, he echoed views that would fall clearly within the pro-choice camp, but over the last decade as Trump shifted increasingly into conservativism he began espousing the rhetoric of a pro-lifer. That rhetoric reached appalling heights when President-elect Trump proceeded to mischaracterize the nature, timing, and purpose of abortions during the third Presidential Debate. Trump has made no qualms about his relatively newly found hatred for abortion and dedication to the pro-life movement.
How much of this is a real, assessable risk though? Well – it’s unlikely Trump will be making any immediate changes. For better or worse our system of government isn’t the quickest to respond to anything apart from the most dire of threats. That said, Trump will be making appointments to the Supreme Court and has confirmed his intention of ensuring they share his pro-life mindset. With a sufficient majority on the Supreme Court, overturning Roe v. Wade becomes a real possibility. Still, just because there is a conservative majority in the Supreme Court doesn’t guarantee they’ll be committed to such an upheaval in the immediate future. On the terrifying other hand, we have Trump’s musings that abortion should come attached with a punishment (an idea Trump admittedly back pedaled on) – so there is still plenty to be justifiably worried about.
Lastly, we have considerations about the breakaway from Obamacare. Just how committed Trump is to repealing and replacing Obamacare seems in doubt now that President-elect Trump has praised portions of it and mused about keeping said portions intact. That said – concerns have predictably (and understandably) grown at a panicked pace that Trump’s dismantling of Obamacare will include removing the portions requiring private insurance coverage to include birth control options. Not only do many now worry that their insurance coverage will soon disappear, but women find themselves facing additional fears.
The clear takeaway is that the next four years could see drastic, negative changes to the access women have to both safe abortion and affordable birth control. While this would be a step backwards for women’s access to affordable, safe healthcare – the point that should be focused on at this moment is that Trump himself seems uncertain which campaign promises & policies will be followed through on (perhaps best evidenced by his backing off of key provisions such as repealing Obamacare entirely, building ‘the wall,’ and assigning a special prosecutor to Hillary Clinton). While public pressure is merited to push back against these clear steps backwards from feminist accomplishments and social growth, we should remain aware of Trump’s own uncertainty and the limitations on his power. If anything, though – this should be a rallying cry for liberals to stay involved in the political theater now, and not treat politics as a matter of concern on election days only.