Yet another ‘shaking my head’ moment watching Donald Trump twist and turn in the media wind with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, unable to determine the correct punishment for women who have abortions. Trump has been a pro-choice liberal democrat all his political life, but in an effort to run as a Republican, he became a (RHINO), a ‘republican in name only’ to exploit the anguish of the Republican electorate, the problem is, he has not mastered the subtle differences of the Republican agenda of saying one thing and meaning another. The Republican establishment were quick to denounce the Donald for his erratic remarks, but their policies restricting the availability of abortions in the United States, place undue burdens on the poor and the most vulnerable, are tantamount to punishing women for their legal right to have an abortion.
History of Legal Abortion
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe V. Wade decision provided Federal Law protection to a woman’s right to choose an abortion. The ruling was arrived at on the premise of the 9th Amendment of the Constitution, ‘The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people’, and the 14th Amendment,……’No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ Before 1973, States were allowed to decide whether abortion would be legal within their borders.’
Norma McCorvey, was an unmarried pregnant Texas woman who was denied an abortion, filed a federal law suit under the pseudonym “Jane Roe”, arguing that the Texas law violated her constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court, in 7-2 vote, agreed with Roe, but the Court held that states do have an interest in ensuring the safety and well-being of pregnant women, as well as the potential of human life. The Court defined the rights of each party by dividing a pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters:
• During a pregnant woman’s first trimester, the Court held, a state cannot regulate abortion beyond requiring that the procedure be performed by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions
• During the second trimester, the Court held, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the health of the pregnant woman
• During the third trimester of pregnancy, the state’s interest in protecting human life outweighs the woman’s right to privacy, and the state may prohibit abortions unless abortion to save the life or health of the mother.
The court further held that a fetus is not a person protected by the constitution. Since 1973, however, the abortion debate has become more contentious among the conservative religious right, who contends that life begins at inception, and is a victimization of the unborn, and that is time for the law to be changed.
The Moral Issue
Is it fair for a woman to be denied an abortion who is a victim of rape and incest? Or women who are carrying fetuses with fatal abnormalities? A pregnant woman and her child are bound during the nine-month maturation period until the fetus leaves the womb. When does the State have a right to intervene in the woman’s right to terminated a pregnancy? Denying a woman an abortion makes a woman bear all the hardship and blame for an unwanted pregnancy. Even though, the father shares the same responsibilities. Hard questions, even more difficult answers.
Poverty and Unwanted Pregnancies
The conservative war on women waged by pro-life advocates, fight to protect the unborn fetus, but lacking any support for the child after birth. Family planning clinics have become under attack in states across the country, slashing their family planning budgets and trying desperately to defund Planned Parenthood – while simultaneously cutting off low-income women’s abortion access by driving up the cost of the procedure and preventing public insurance programs from paying for it. It is also a matter of lacking access to or information about effective birth control. Most recent data suggested that the unintended pregnancy rate for women living below the poverty level is more than five times as high than the rate for women in the highest income level. Higher rates of unintended pregnancies also correlate with lower levels of education.
Rich white conservative women will always be guaranteed legal abortion. The poor and the disadvantage will be denied.