Abortion Debate – Which Candidate Do You Side With?
The abortion debate is one that is of huge concern this election year.
“There has to be some form of punishment.”- Donald Trump
“For the woman?”- Chris Matthews
“Yeah, there has to be some form.”-Trump
On March 30, Trump gave MSNBC’s Matthews this controversial dialogue on his stance on the pro-choice, pro-life debate in reference to whether or not women who undergo abortions should be reprimanded. Shortly after, Trump retracted his statement in exchange for another, less sexist statement against the act of abortion.
“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” This goes directly against what he voiced just hours earlier.
The hot topic of abortions has left America in a heated argument, especially with the presidential elections in full swing. Even though it is assumed that this issue was resolved in 1973 with the groundbreaking case of Roe v. Wade, 46 years later the debate is still going on.
Before anyone steps into office, many changes will be occurring based on the Supreme Court decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt this June. The decision on this case can potentially cause Mississippi to become the first state with no abortion clinic and cause numerous other states to shut down many of their women’s health facilities.
With a presidential hopeful, a male, giving his opinion on women’s issues, it makes us wonder: What does the future for women look like in matters of reproductive rights? To figure this out, it’s imperative to look at the past couple of months surrounding the issue: defunding Planned Parenthood.
The attempt at defunding Planned Parenthood, an organization that delivers reproductive health care, breast exams, and family planning to women and values individuals’ abilities to make decisions about their own health, began in August 2015, after an incident where Planned Parenthood officials spoke about the fetal tissue compensation. While the sale of fetal tissue is illegal, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act, signed in 1993, makes it legal for organizations to obtain “reasonable payments” in exchange for the keeping fetal tissue healthy and for the proper transport of the tissue. The Senate Republicans, such as Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) and Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), vowed to take down the organization, attempting to remove $500 million of public funds each year.
However, $500 million dollars of the federal funds are not allocated towards the abortion services that the organization provides. In their 2012-2013 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood showed that only 3 percent of the medical services were allocated toward abortions. The remainder of the increased free health-care provided by the Affordable Care Act went to cancer screenings (10 percent), STI/STD testing and treatment (41 percent), other women’s health services (14 percent), and contraception (34 percent). The remaining 1 percent is divided among other services including family planning and health care for men.
For the next couple of months, there was a stronghold between Planned Parenthood, who denied selling fetal tissue,the Republican Senate and Congress. Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Association of America, took the floor at the congressional hearing against the organization in September 2015 to advocate for the nonprofit, as well as show why the funds they receive from the government are vital to the organization’s success.
“In my entire time I’ve been in Congress, I’ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary — and especially a woman. I find it totally inappropriate and discriminatory,”Democratic Rep. Carol Maloney (D-N.Y.)
There she was met with strong opposition from some of the 30 conservatives who threatened to shut down the government if the federal funding was not removed. While this did not occur, Richards still faced discriminatory remarks, attacks on her character, and data from which the source was unknown or biased.
“In my entire time I’ve been in Congress, I’ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary — and especially a woman. I find it totally inappropriate and discriminatory,” said Democratic Rep. Carol Maloney (D-N.Y.), about Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) behavior towards Richards during the hearing.
Republican members of congress lessened their appeal to shut down the government after a gunman shot three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in November. The House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said, “I do not hear people shutting the government down over it right now, so that’s the bottom line.” However, this debate is not over.
Just this past February, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump acknowledged the importance of Planned Parenthood, but vows to remove their federal funding if he is put in office.
“I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood,”
“I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood,”Donald Trump, Republican Nominee
His GOP candidate rival, Ted Cruz, also wishes to defund the organization. In August, he said that he would be diligent in his fight to remove the funding, but would not take the blame for a government shutdown if it did occur. Cutting the funding of Planned Parenthood would cut the opportunities that are provided for women.
The Democratic candidates are polar opposites from their GOP rivals on the issue as they support a woman’s right to choose. While Bernie Sanders has said that Planned Parenthood is part of the establishment that he is currently fighting, he has a lifetime record of supporting pro-choice legislation, in terms of abortions, and funding for family planning. He does not believe that morals of employers should take precedent of women’s rights.
“We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it,” states Sanders’ website. “The current attempt to malign Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.”
In January, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton received Planned Parenthood’s first-ever endorsement for President. Mrs. Clinton, honored by the nonprofits backing, said that as president she would, “defend against attacks on reproductive health care, and protect access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion across the country.”
Regardless of your gender, health care facilities that provide services in all areas of women’s health, not just abortion, are vital to the nation. So, who will you stand with in this pro-choice, pro-life debate?
Ways you can REACT:
- KNOW the candidates stances on the pro-life, pro-choice debate. Visit http://www.ontheissues.org/Abortion.htm
- REGISTER to vote. Exercise your right. Visit www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.
- STAY informed. Learn about the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court case. Visit http://wholewomanshealth.com/about-us/whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt.html.
- WATCH the documentary Trapped to learn about the women’s health clinics in the states that Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt threatens to remove.
- DONATE to Planned Parenthood to continue helping women around the nation receive proper health care.