My last post was cautiously optimistic about the state of women’s reproductive rights in the U.S., since the Supreme Court had just struck down Texas’ most extreme TRAP laws. Unfortunately, because of the blatantly undemocratic system of indirect voting in the U.S. (that is, the Electoral College), Donald Trump, who received 2.84 million fewer votes than the “losing” presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is destined to enter the White House in January 2017. Trump is an unrepentant misogynist who has boasted about forcing himself on women and groping their genitals.
Trump was supported by sexist, racist, homophobic fundamentalists who have taken his supposed victory as a signal to rush into law a barrage of measures limiting women’s rights over their own bodies. Take the example of Ohio, whose state legislature just passed a bill banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected (this generally occurs between six and eight weeks’ gestation — before many women even know they’re pregnant). Numerous other state legislatures are contemplating similar bans, and at least four states have “trigger bans” in place. These bills automatically criminalize abortion as soon as a Trump-skewed Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (and thus leaves decisions about the legality of abortion to the individual states).
Trump has committed himself in writing to putting anti-abortion judges on the Supreme Court, passing a national ban on abortion after 20 weeks, eliminating federal money for Planned Parenthood, and making the Hyde Amendment (passed annually by Congress to ban taxpayer-funded abortions) permanent. The potential results of this wave of fanaticism are appalling, and as always, the effects will disproportionately fall on women of limited economic resources and women of color.
Polls continue to show that the majority of the U.S. population supports the legalization of abortion affirmed in Roe v. Wade. Moreover, if we add the popular votes cast in November for Hillary Clinton to those for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein (the two leading third-party candidates, who, like Clinton, strongly oppose increased restrictions on abortion), we find that they received a total of 71.5 million votes as opposed to Trump’s 62.9 million. A sizable majority of voters are opposed to the Trumpist misogyny being promulgated by legislators on the state level.
Some pundits are predicting that Trump’s disregard for anti-corruption laws will get him impeached sooner rather than later. But his removal would in no sense help women because the Vice President-elect Mike Pence is even more rabidly anti-reproductive justice than Trump is.
In many ways the U.S. is a pariah of human rights on the international stage. Domestically as well, the country seems destined to enter a dark age of human rights abuses of women — unless a resistance movement can gain force.