Donald Trump is in the news (no surprise there) for his recent super creepy, very sexual comments about women. Since then, multiple women have stepped forward with allegations of facing exactly the kinds of behaviors he boasts of in the video — groping, forcibly kissing and other unwanted sexual contact.
But his gross misogyny and disregard for women extends beyond his personal behavior and into important policy realms. Late last month, Trump announced his anti-abortion agenda, including defunding Planned Parenthood and making the Hyde Amendment a permanent part of the law.
Never heard of the Hyde Amendment? Now in it’s 40th year, this little-known law — renewed annually — prevents federal funds from covering abortion procedures. As a result, women getting their insurance through Medicaid or through the military do not have access to this important form of healthcare.
In Georgia, nearly half a million women are impacted just because of the limits on abortion coverage in Medicaid plans alone. Georgia also has an additional 78,000 women veterans, who are unable to receive abortion care through any federally provided insurance coverage they have. All of these Georgia women are impacted by the Hyde Amendment, and will continue to face barriers if Trump’s anti-abortion platform ever gets implemented.
In 2014, Georgia even passed a law to prevent insurance companies from covering abortion in any health insurance policy offered through the exchange (also called the marketplace) — which is where people go to get subsidized, private health insurance policies through the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare. This impacts another roughly 220,000 women, unable to get abortion coverage through their privately purchased insurance plan. Although this does not stem from restrictions based on the Hyde Amendment, it is an effect of the rampantly anti-abortion stance that pervades the state capitol.
One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. I’ll leave you to do the back-of-the-envelope calculation on how many folks that impacts, given that approximately 800,000 women in Georgia are prevented from having insurance plans that cover this one particular medical procedure, the vast majority of them due to the limitations codified by the Hyde Amendment.
Accessing abortion care is absolutely critical for the mental and physical health of pregnant people. It’s about more than just having autonomy over your own body.
Accessing timely, safe, affordable abortions are important. It’s important for young girls whose bodies may not be able to handle carrying a pregnancy to term; it’s important for pregnant people diagnosed with cancer and needing to undergo chemotherapy; it’s important for students working to complete their education; it’s important for parents uncertain if they can support another child in their family; it’s important for people trying to leave an abusive partner. Accessing abortion care is unequivocally important to the health and wellness of women.
Part of Trump’s platform would seek to permanently enshrine in law the Hyde Amendment — making it impossible for low-income women and women serving in the military to receive abortion care through their insurance. Realistically, this would force many women to carry pregnancies to term — despite the consequences it would have on their physical, mental, emotional and financial health — because of how expensive they can be when paying out-of-pocket.
In a letter asking anti-abortion leaders to join his “Pro-Life Coalition,” Trump lays out his anti-abortion policy agenda:
- Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.
- Making the Hyde Amendment a permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.
In this letter, he also outrageously accuses his opponent Hillary Clinton of “support[ing] abortion until an hour before birth.”
I’d also like to take a moment to appreciate that Trump’s campaign is apparently seeking to redefine “comprehensive health care for women” as excluding abortion. Comprehensive health care is usually understood to be inclusive of all forms of medical care people can access and use to be healthy, including abortion care.
Unfortunately, Trump’s stances are echoed by other Georgia leaders in D.C., namely Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson. Perdue and Isakson have previously co-sponsored legislation to similarly give the Hyde Amendment permanent status, and generally “to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion.”
Not surprisingly, all of these men — Donald Trump, David Perdue, Johnny Isakson — have been endorsed by the National Right to Life PAC (although Perdue is not currently up for re-election), meaning that they all support pretty extreme anti-abortion policies.
Meanwhile, one in three women in this country will still seek abortions in their lifetime, and Georgia is no exception to that. Anti-abortion stances do nothing to promote the policies women in this state, and this country, actually need, like a higher minimum wage, improved access to healthcare (including Medicaid Expansion), better family leave policies and, yes, improved access to abortion care.